The 5 Habits of Highly Effective Gym Members
I’m sure over the course of January you have either heard or read about “habits.”
You know… those things we know we need to improve on, or those things that we want to instill in ourselves to make sure we have the best year ever. These could be morning habits, night time routines, or exercise habits. We all have habits, both good and bad, so the trick is really figuring out what habits we can establish to be our best self.
(Spoiler alert: I’m an exercise guy, so we’re going to talk about habits for the gym)
Let’s look at the actual definition of the word “habit.”
- noun: habit; plural noun: habits
a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
I like the first part of the definition best as it fits my narrative for this post, but the second part is just as good as well. We’ll talk about the second part at least once here.
Over my 11 (almost 12) years in the fitness industry, I’ve worked with thousands of people. I’ve worked with some for a very, very short amount of time (like that one time I got sued after the first session), and I’ve worked with some people for almost the entirety of my career.
For most people though, we see a lifespan of dedicated fitness for 6-18 months, and that’s only if they get out of the first 90 days. The first 90 days are the hardest to instill repeatable habits, but they’re also the most important time, especially if the aim is to be fit for life.
Too often we see people fall short during those first 90 days, and it’s almost always because they get lost in chasing quick results rather than establishing habits. If you chase habits instead of results, you’ll find the results you’re looking for.
Here are the common habits that I see from folks that have instilled habits to keep them on the exercise path for life.
They set realistic expectations
I’m sure everyone has fallen into the trap of unrealistic expectations….
You get SUPER pumped up and motivated to train.
You’re determined to carve out 6-7 training sessions a week. Many of these include two-a-days where you run in the morning and lift in the evening.
You go HARD on every workout.
You try to push through every negative thought you might be having.
….and by the end of that first or second week, you are completely over it, hate training, and are looking at bars and breweries to go to after work instead of the gym.
Well, this could have been avoided had you set some realistic expectations.
Everyone is different, and so is everyone’s schedule/responsibilities, so it’s next to impossible for me to prescribe a perfect set of expectations for you. But what I think is a really solid expectation to set for yourself is an attendance based goal, because you know at Yellow Rose we’re going to get you an amazing workout no matter what day you come to.
Whatever amount of times you think you can get to the gym, set it to one less. If you know that you can more than likely make it to the gym 4 times a week, let’s set it at 3 times a week to start with. We can always build momentum and add days, and that feels way better psychologically than taking days away!
(Note, this would be a whole new article if we talked about realistic expectations for performance… but an attendance habit is much more achievable, and objective!)
They treat workouts as non-negotiable appointments
This ties in with number 1 a bit, meaning we need to have realistic expectations of when those meetings can be made. However, when they know those meetings fit their schedule, they don’t treat them as optional. If it’s on the calendar, you need to attend.
They put their shoes on.
They get in the car (maybe even ride the bike!)
They get to the gym.
They walk through the front door.
Once they’re through the front door, they let Yellow Rose take care of the rest. If Yellow Rose could somehow incorporate a pick up and drop off chauffeur service to make sure you never missed a workout, we would, but until I can figure out how to get Coach B-Sax to be everyone’s chauffeur without getting paid, it’s up to you to get here!
They know that every workout is not going to be awesome
It’s true. As much as we want every workout to be the best thing we’ve ever done, that’s just not going to happen. In my experience, I’d say only 10% of my workouts are truly AWESOME. A different 10% of the time, they’re absolutely awful and make me want to quit working out all together.
That other 80% of the time? It’s just me checking the box and getting it done with whatever energy I have for that day. Not every day needs to be a banger of a workout. Check the box on your non-negotiable appointment, and get ready for the next one.
They understand the importance of rest days
LISTEN. I know you want to workout everyday, but #NoDaysOff is a dangerous hashtag to live by. Your body absolutely needs days off. Your days off (at least 1 per week) should completely lack any form of exercise other than walking. Heart rate should stay down, muscles should stay relaxed, and stress should be kept low. Sure, you can do something light, but for many people taking a complete day off from everything is exactly what you need.
Don’t get caught up in the 7-days a week lifestyle. 4-5 is plenty for even the most experienced exerciser.
They understand it’s a long game
Consistent effort over time is what yields results. What’s better for lasting health? 7 workouts a week for 4 weeks? Or 4 workouts a week for 7 years? The former leads to burnout and potential injury, the ladder yields results.
As flashy as a 28-day challenge might be, establishing habits to make exercise hard to give up is really what we should all strive for (See? TOLD you we’d talk about it!).
Instead of focusing on trying to achieve certain outcomes with your health and fitness, let’s instead focus on building habits that will keep up consistent effort over time. If you focus on perfecting your process through routines and habits, you’ll achieve the results you’re looking for!
If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to let us know. We’re always here for you!