4 hacks I’ve used to hit the gym every day for the last six weeks

Takeaway: To shrink the brain-friction you have to hitting the gym, focus only on showing up, and make the gym more convenient for yourself by picking a better time to work out, a gym with a better location, or by finding ways to make your workouts more entertaining.

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 42s.

514501365_1a06875fed_b

I’m about a month and a half into my productivity experiment to gain 10 pounds of muscle mass while reducing my body fat from 17% to 10%. Over the last six weeks I’ve had a chance to experiment with integrating a new, intense workout regimen into my daily routine (I’ve hit the gym every day, even on rest days), and so far I’ve thrown a ton of ideas and habits at the proverbial wall; some of them have stuck, and some haven’t.

I have discovered a few hacks that have helped me drag my butt to the gym more than anything: only focusing on showing up, and making the gym more convenient for myself several different ways. If you’re having trouble dragging your butt to the gym, these should help you, too.

Hack One: “Just Show Up”

dumbbell

The first hack to sticking to your workout schedule is to simply just show up. The biggest thing I’ve discovered so far is that actually dragging your ass to the gym is much harder than getting through an actual workout.

Put 100% of your effort into simply showing up at the gym. Once you’re there, you’ll want to work out – trust me.

Hacks 2-4: Make the gym way more convenient for yourself

The second thing that has helped me is putting a ton of effort into making the gym more convenient for myself.

I think you can do this one of three ways: pick a more convenient time, pick a more convenient gym, or make the gym more entertaining.

Pick a more convenient time.

You shouldn’t have to upend your entire schedule to go to the gym, or wake up at 5am every morning to squeeze in the gym before work. Pick a time that you can stick to, day after day, week after week. Picking a time that’s adjacent to another element in your schedule (e.g. before/after work) will help you carry your momentum and motivation from one element of your life to another, especially because over time you will begin to associate one with the other.

Pick a more convenient place.

Going to the gym is much easier when your gym is close to another place you have to be. Every gym I have been a member of has been close to my home, work, school, or place I had to run errands in order to decrease the friction to going (the gym I go to now is about a two-minute walk away). I have found that finding a gym that’s close to somewhere else I visit frequently (like work) has motivated me a ton.

Make going to the gym more entertaining.

Download podcasts or audiobooks to listen to while you’re there. Hire a personal trainer to make the gym more motivating. Mix up your routine and try different machines. Use your gym’s massage chair after your workout. Go for a nature walk instead of going to the gym. Watch one of your gym’s TVs while your there. Making the gym more exciting and stimulating will significantly reduce the friction you have to going.

Any resistance you have to going is in your head, and simply showing up and making going to the gym more convenient for yourself are great ways to motivate yourself to go. These four hacks have helped me a ton.

Dumbbell image source, freeweight image source.

  • Jordan Campbell

    We actually have a small gym located in the building at my new job. The problem is… it’s barely used (by me anyways) because we only have our lunch break to use up as free time to work out! Needless to say, it looks like most of us would rather have a full-lunch than use it all in the gym unfortunately :)

    • Haha! That really is a weird line to walk. I worked at a couple of places with a gym, and had to frequently walk the line between doing what was the social norm, and what was best for my health. In the end (if I recall correctly), most days I hit the gym during my lunch hour, but made a much bigger effort to keep up with everyone outside of the lunch hour. That’s a toughie, though.

  • Jordan Campbell

    We actually have a small gym located in the building at my new job. The problem is… it’s barely used (by me anyways) because we only have our lunch break to use up as free time to work out! Needless to say, it looks like most of us would rather have a full-lunch than use it all in the gym unfortunately :)

    • Haha! That really is a weird line to walk. I worked at a couple of places with a gym, and had to frequently walk the line between doing what was the social norm, and what was best for my health. In the end (if I recall correctly), most days I hit the gym during my lunch hour, but made a much bigger effort to keep up with everyone outside of the lunch hour. That’s a toughie, though.

  • Love what you said about “Just show up.” I’ve also found that getting yourself to the gym is the hardest part. Sometimes you’re tired, sore, etc. and the last thing you feel like doing is leaving your comfortable home and lifting weights. But when you put on the workout clothes, grab your keys, and drive to the gym – you’ve already won the battle. It takes me about five minutes at the gym before I feel fully awake and ready to go.

    I’d add one hack to this list as well. Having a plan and keeping track. Knowing what exercises you are going to do before you get in there is important. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities. Keeping track is huge because if you don’t, you’ll never know how far you’ve come. Personally, I use the Jefit App.

    Great stuff man!

    • Linda G.

      I use the whole ‘just show up’ routine too except I’ll tell myself, ‘today, you’ll just put in half the effort for half the time’ but once I get in the gym, it’s all my effort for the whole time. Works like a charm.

      • Ellen Symons

        I absolutely agree with all of this. Getting there is the hardest part. It’s the same with any habit, until it’s well established. Great tips, Chris, Thanks.

        • Awesome points! I second that having a plan is also crucial, and I think that’s something I overlooked for this article because having a workout plan was such a natural part of this experiment; I wouldn’t be able to reach my goals without one!

  • Love what you said about “Just show up.” I’ve also found that getting yourself to the gym is the hardest part. Sometimes you’re tired, sore, etc. and the last thing you feel like doing is leaving your comfortable home and lifting weights. But when you put on the workout clothes, grab your keys, and drive to the gym – you’ve already won the battle. It takes me about five minutes at the gym before I feel fully awake and ready to go.

    I’d add one hack to this list as well. Having a plan and keeping track. Knowing what exercises you are going to do before you get in there is important. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities. Keeping track is huge because if you don’t, you’ll never know how far you’ve come. Personally, I use the Jefit App.

    Great stuff man!

    • Linda G.

      I use the whole ‘just show up’ routine too except I’ll tell myself, ‘today, you’ll just put in half the effort for half the time’ but once I get in the gym, it’s all my effort for the whole time. Works like a charm.

      • I absolutely agree with all of this. Getting there is the hardest part. It’s the same with any habit, until it’s well established. Great tips, Chris, Thanks.

        • Awesome points! I second that having a plan is also crucial, and I think that’s something I overlooked for this article because having a workout plan was such a natural part of this experiment; I wouldn’t be able to reach my goals without one!

  • Aw, man. You just reminded me that my 2-week hiatus ended up turning into a 7-month break from gyming. I still remember the day clearly when I decided to stop. They had just renovated my gym and everything was just so different. I went back and hated the new bars they had installed and it seemed like things were everywhere. Then I stopped going.

    Funny enough, I then started working for a CrossFit gym so I get in for free. I canceled my old gym membership, went to 2 CF classes, and never went back since March. Oh man.

    • The same thing happened to me at the gym at the place I used to work. Midway through my co-op term, the company I worked for completely replaced all of their gym equipment. Especially when going to the gym is something you have to routinize, I think for a lot of people that could act as a huge disruption, and I even noticed that a lot of people stopped going even though all of the equipment was new! Hopefully you can re-routinize gyming soon! The benefits are so worth it.

  • Aw, man. You just reminded me that my 2-week hiatus ended up turning into a 7-month break from gyming. I still remember the day clearly when I decided to stop. They had just renovated my gym and everything was just so different. I went back and hated the new bars they had installed and it seemed like things were everywhere. Then I stopped going.

    Funny enough, I then started working for a CrossFit gym so I get in for free. I canceled my old gym membership, went to 2 CF classes, and never went back since March. Oh man.

    • The same thing happened to me at the gym at the place I used to work. Midway through my co-op term, the company I worked for completely replaced all of their gym equipment. Especially when going to the gym is something you have to routinize, I think for a lot of people that could act as a huge disruption, and I even noticed that a lot of people stopped going even though all of the equipment was new! Hopefully you can re-routinize gyming soon! The benefits are so worth it.

  • I like these tips. After consistently working out for over 10 years, I recently lost my motivation to work out. Here’s why it happened: 1) I stopped doing the workouts I loved because of an injury and 2) I stopped setting goals for myself and went into maintenance mode.

    I think you 4th point touches on finding a workout that is exciting and motivating to you. I’m in the process of working around my injury to do this. I would also argue that setting ambitious gym goals creates a sense of purpose and makes going to the gym more rewarding.

    • Great point – having a purpose when you hit the gym is huge – after all, how the hell would you get motivated without one? :) I hope you can get back on track soon!

  • I like these tips. After consistently working out for over 10 years, I recently lost my motivation to work out. Here’s why it happened: 1) I stopped doing the workouts I loved because of an injury and 2) I stopped setting goals for myself and went into maintenance mode.

    I think you 4th point touches on finding a workout that is exciting and motivating to you. I’m in the process of working around my injury to do this. I would also argue that setting ambitious gym goals creates a sense of purpose and makes going to the gym more rewarding.

    • Great point – having a purpose when you hit the gym is huge – after all, how the hell would you get motivated without one? :) I hope you can get back on track soon!

  • Great tips man! It’s like the Nike saying, “Just Do It.” I’ve found even when tired if I just start working out or exercising the energy and motivation will come.

    • So true! Plus, shoving aside all that mental resistance becomes so much easier the more you see how hard it is to hit the gym.

  • Great tips man! It’s like the Nike saying, “Just Do It.” I’ve found even when tired if I just start working out or exercising the energy and motivation will come.

    • So true! Plus, shoving aside all that mental resistance becomes so much easier the more you see how hard it is to hit the gym.

  • Shawn

    I started doing classes at Goodlife. It’s working really well for me because I actually just need to show up. From that point on the instructor tells me what to do.

    • Nice plan – that definitely takes a lot of the thinking out of it. Do you find it’s easier when you don’t have to prep as much before you go? I can see the fact that the classes are at a set time each day to be another barrier.

  • Shawn

    I started doing classes at Goodlife. It’s working really well for me because I actually just need to show up. From that point on the instructor tells me what to do.

    • Nice plan – that definitely takes a lot of the thinking out of it. Do you find it’s easier when you don’t have to prep as much before you go? I can see the fact that the classes are at a set time each day to be another barrier.

Pin It on Pinterest

Emails suck. My newsletter doesn't.

After you sign up, I'll send you a few brand new productivity posts every Monday morning.

Join 200,000 monthly readers and never miss a single thing!

You can unsubscribe at any time, and I won't do anything slimy with your email. There are no catches.