The gym is an intimidating place for non-regulars. Especially in January. Almost everyone and their friends and their friends’ friends are at the gym. As the wait for equipment is now longer, gym regulars don’t take too kindly to the newbies either.

Newbies, therefore, feel pressured to figure out what they are doing fast or move out of the way. It is no wonder then that about 80% of Americans who have a gym membership do not use the gym or quit within a month of signing up.

The following tips will help you increase your chances of staying motivated while at the gym and achieving your health and fitness goals.

Start Small

When you walk into most gyms, you will likely observe someone running like a bat out of hell on the treadmill or lifting weights in a category that would make a superhero proud. You must fight the temptation to do the same as you’ll just be setting yourself up to fail.

Regardless of your goal, always start small. If your overall goal is to run for an hour a day, start with running for just 2 minutes. Then, begin to increase the time in small consistent steps.

Doing this allows you to you to avoid injury and prepares your body to handle more difficult challenges. It also allows you to create and celebrate small wins. Those mini celebrations are crucial for maintaining ones’ motivation.

Don’t make it about the number on the scale

Weight has a lot more to do with your health than just numbers on a scale. It is easy to get discouraged and demotivated when you make your gym visits only about the numbers on the scale. Especially since those numbers tend to plateau after an initial decrease.

Instead of focusing on the dreaded scale, focus instead on how you feel, how you fit in your clothes and your level of energy and endurance. Not only are these better measures of your progress, they allow for more room for improvement than a scale ever will.

Get a fitness accountability partner

Goals take time to achieve. In that time you will undoubtedly get frustrated and be tempted to quit. Find strength motivation and inspiration in a partner. A fitness accountability partner helps you keep your eye on the prize and motivates you to keep going when all you want to do is storm out of the gym and quit.

To find a good fitness accountability partner, look for someone who you can be completely honest with. Someone who challenges you and who will not accept any lame excuses you offer when you fail to show up.

Join group classes

Group classes are a great source of motivation and inspiration. Especially for those just starting out on their health and fitness journey. For the most part, those who tend to not be a fan of group classes have chosen a class that is for the time being, out of their league. They struggle to keep up and opt to drop out of the class.

To make group classes work for you keep the first point that was listed in mind. Start small. For group classes, this means signing up for beginner classes only. Pay no attention to intermediate or advanced classes. Beginner classes will allow you to learn the routines, build your endurance at a comfortable pace and boost your confidence.

Mix it Up

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults perform a combination of the following exercises.

  • Moderate intensity cardiovascular exercises
  • Strength training exercises
  • Flexibility training exercises
  • Functional fitness training exercises

Cardiovascular exercises build endurance. Strength training exercises build muscle. Flexibility training exercises enhance ones’ range of motion. Functional fitness training exercises improve ones’ balance, coordination, agility, speed and power.

Not only does this combination ensure a total body workout, it also keeps boredom at bay. Sticking to one form of exercise is the quickest way to get bored. Boredom is the shortest route to demotivation.

In addition, you’ll also stop seeing results. Without results, you’ll start questioning whether it’s important to keep going to the gym.

Don’t compare your progress to the progress of others

Everybody’s health and fitness journey is unique and should, therefore, be an individual one. Even if you have a fitness accountability partner. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your journey to theirs or anyone else’s. It will blind you to your own progress and success.

Learn to trust the process and believe that the results you want are attainable through your efforts. Set your goals and compare your current results only to your past results. If you see no progress, then and only then should you make adjustments.

If you follow these tips, you will get your monies worth from your gym membership and then some.