These are things that we implement purposely at CrossFit Rampage, as we feel they’re a necessary part of an exercise routine. This is because we know that not everyone loves exercising, and will quickly fall off after the novelty of sweating in a room full of strangers dies off. Here are three things you can start doing to help keep you attending the gym regularly enough to actually see results:
- Workout with other people.
Specifically, do the same workouts as others at the same time. We’re talking about group fitness classes, or at least a group of workout buddies. Working out with other people is just more fun (some may disagree, but I find that many people like it more than the solo-session). When you have other people around, you naturally push a little harder because you want other people to see your effort. You’ll find that in groups, people will motivate and celebrate each other’s efforts. This is something that you can’t replicate when working out alone.
Group Fitness is a big thing these days, and rightfully so, because it’s tying into the social atmosphere of being with others, that we love so much. Everyone likes hanging out with friends and having a good time. By finding a way to do that while working out, it’ll allow you to like going to the gym, and therefore it’ll feel less like a chore. If you’re not a “gym person” but are a “social person” then find yourself a group fitness class to try. Stick around long enough to get to know the people, then watch what happens to your fitness in the meantime!
- Incorporate movements that require skill to learn
Disclaimer: This is not saying that simple low-skill movements are bad, we just don’t want our entire workout routine to be composed of only those type of movements.
What does “requires skill to learn” actually mean. Let’s compare a basic machine at the gym with a non-machine exercise (free weights or bodyweight). The machine has a stack of weights and a pin selector. There are likely moveable arms and pads and you probably sit on the machine. There’s really only 1 way to do it, and it’s pretty fool proof. You can’t mess it up, and are immediately perfect at it on your first try. So the only thing that will keep you doing this exercise for weeks/months/years to come is your desire to do it. A lot of folks will give up eventually because they’re bored with it since they mastered it on day 1.
Now lets look at a free weight exercise, like a deadlift. There are variables to consider that will change per ever persons body size. You’ll need to learn how to place your feet, where to put your hands. Which style of grip to use. How high or low to position your hips when beginning the lift. As the bar begins to move, how much do you move our legs in relation to your back. Do you let the bar drift forward, or back, or does it matter. Once you finish the lift, how do you lower it back down? Is that even important? Is there benefit to lowering it or can you just kind of let it crash? This all takes time to learn.
Although all of this likely sounds intimidating, with a good coach, they’ll be able to teach you how to do this safely in a matter of 10-15 minutes. However, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Not even close. You can spend years fine tuning your technique to make slight improvements on the lift over time. Knowing that there is continual room for improvement keeps people eager to keep working on the exercise to maybe one day, perfect it.
In the grand scheme of “skill based exercises” the Deadlift is actually quite simple. Add in movements like Double Unders with a jump rope, Kettlebell Snatches, Kipping gymnastics movements on a a pull up bar, and you’ve got yourself a lifetime of practice that you can do to keep improving over time. The idea that there’s always room for improvement on an exercise will keep boredom at bay for a long time. We mix high-low-and no skill movements together at Rampage to keep everyone excited in their workouts for years.
- Find a way to compete
This doesn’t necessarily have to be against other people in person (although that may be quite fun for you!) It can be against other people that did the same workout previously, friends online, or even friends at different locations. If you’re not into comparing to others, which is totally fine and quite common, you can compete against yourself. This may come in the form of competing within the moment “My last round took me 2:30, I’m gonna do this one in 2:25″… or against yourself from a time in history. “Last week I did 30lbs, this time I’m gonna try 35.”
If you can measure something, you can improve it. There are hundreds of things you can measure within an exercise program, but luckily you don’t have to keep track of them all. Simply trying to do more than you did last time will help you see progress. Or even trying to do more than the person beside you. There’s something about competing that makes humans stronger. It’s in our DNA. Think about when you were a kid in school and the teacher handed out all of the graded tests. Don’t say you never tried to see what grade your friends got. Of course you did, because if you got a higher score, it made you feel good. It doesn’t mean they suck as a person and you can’t be friends anymore. It’s just a small feeling you hold within yourself in that moment that makes you happy.
When you’re in the gym, if you lift 65lbs and your friend lifted 60, you might get that same happy feeling. Once you start to experience this, you’ll want to keep coming back and trying to replicate that feeling.
By finding some way to compete, either against yourself or other people, you will end up pushing a little bit harder, sticking with the program longer, and ultimately get more out of your time in the gym.