5 steps to raise your gym game

It’s that time of year again when everyone has the ‘fear’. It's usually the fear of what Christmas joviality will have on any hard-earned fitness gains we’ve made through 2017. Or, of the difficulties of starting those fitness goals that a lot of us set from 1st. Well, 2nd because let's be honest, most of us are hungover beyond recognition on the 1st.

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Luckily for you, we have some excellent ways to raise your gym game to get you started well in 2018.

1. Consistency

The first, and certainly the hardest of the steps, but trust me when I say this will make the biggest difference to your long-term gym game. A habit is formed in a month but broken in a day, so let’s talk about the key things to focus on to help you with consistency:

  • Get some specific days and times booked in your work (or personal) diaries for gym sessions, and commit to them. Diarising will help nudge you to actually deliver on your promises to yourself, particularly if it comes with an alarm!

  • Make sure your chosen gym is convenient for you, as consistency is harder to develop when it is impractical to get to your gym. With over 190 gyms countrywide, PureGym might just have the location for you.

  • Don’t consider missing a day a ‘failure’. If you have three sessions a week booked into your diary, try and re-arrange that missed session! You can always make time another day.

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2. Listen to your body!

Although this is a pretty broad statement, there are a few key things I think you should take away from this section. In simple terms, do not over-stretch yourself. Over-training is considered to be a myth by some, but the effects of not listening to those aches, pains, lack of flexibility or tiredness/illness can lead to longer-term injuries.

  • Don’t train injured – if you experience pain which is more than just muscle ache, rest and get medical advice

  • Don’t train ill – you won’t perform well, you’ll extend the amount of time it takes to recover, and you can make the rest of your gym buddies ill too!

  • Remember rest is as important as exercise, everything is a balance so make sure you give yourself time to heal after you work out

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3. Keep good records

However works best for you. Keeping a tally of your progress and goals is fundamental to success in anything you do. Most life coaches will tell you that putting your goals down, reflecting on your progress and keeping track of your improvement is one of the best ways to advance. The same is true for your fitness life, anything you want to achieve, a goal, a strength number, a time on the track or road, put it down on paper, on an app, on your wall. Whatever your goal is, regular reminders that you’re moving towards it every day and every session can really help motivate you. You’ll be surprised as to how quickly you see those gains that you might otherwise miss.

  • Write your goals down (or record them somewhere)

  • Monitor your progress

  • Don’t forget to remind and congratulate yourself for how far you’ve come!

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4. Embrace variety

Cross-fit or Cross-training has a pretty big following these days. Mixing and varying your training across disciplines and sports can be hugely beneficial. The England Rugby Team have practised Judo, and have used techniques by Olympic sprinting teams to build additional pace and power. You can apply this yourself by mixing your weight lifting with your yoga and pilates for flexibility. Your running training with leg weights and core workouts. Your body pump classes with swimming, the list is endless! Importantly, variety and trying something new keeps things fresh, so get out there!

  • Don’t get stuck in a single pattern of the same training, you could get bored and fatigued

  • Branch out and speak to other people about the benefits of other sports or training, you can learn something new or exciting

  • Try classes if you can. With over 50 free classes a week at PureGym, there's something for everyone!

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5. Don’t forget to have fun!

Unless you’re an athlete on the way to semi-pro, Olympic or professional status... (which, if you are, thanks for reading this, I’m flattered), exercise is about general health, progress and really, enjoyment. Most people lose motivation or a desire to progress because their regimes are ‘dull’ or don’t appeal to them. There are many ways to make your gym experience more rewarding and entertaining, but these are a few of my favourites:

  • Train with a friend. This is often overlooked. Making the gym or exercise a social activity can really help reinforce friendships, improve consistency and push your training forward

  • Follow tip 4 and try something new until you land on something that you really love, and then stick with it!

  • Although you’re setting goals, don’t make this the only purpose of your sessions. If you find faults or failures in your sessions, you’ll enjoy them less. Stay positive and use your goals as a passive path to walk on, don’t let ‘success’ or ‘failure’ define your exercise!

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Now get out there, hit the gym and make the most of it.

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