Picture this scenario; you woke up at 6 AM to a cold dark winter morning. You commuted for over an hour to work, sat at your office chair all day and then traveled an hour back home. You finally get back into your apartment a little after 7:00 PM. It’s already dark out again, and not to mention freezing cold.
You’re faced with two options; change into your gym clothes, pack your gym back, put on your giant winter coat and head back into the freezing cold to walk/drive to your nearest gym; or, grab that refreshing beer sitting in your fridge, kick your feet up on the coffee table and enjoy that 70 inch TV you just bought on Black Friday.
This is the scenario I found myself in all too often this past winter. When you’re already out of shape and then further exhausted from your busy day- its pretty hard to choose option one. It becomes easier to just fall into the pattern of coming home and watching TV, despite how much you may really want to get back into working out.
It wasn’t easy and I tried many times to break the cycle. But no matter what I did it never seemed to work. Maybe I would be able to force myself to go to the gym for one week, but by the next week I would revert back to the couch. I needed to find a new approach, so here’s a few things I did to help get me started:
1) I stopped going home before I went to the gym
It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out this pretty simple solution. Right as I leave work I still have some energy and motivation to work out. However, whatever energy or motivation I had before my commute was always zapped after my long commute or the moment my foot stepped into my apartment. The gym I was going to was by my house, not my work. So by the time I got to the gym it was already after sitting on the subway for over an hour. A true motivation killer any New Yorker can certainly relate to. So I found a gym that is about 20 minutes away from my work (even better it’s towards the direction my house, so it doesn’t add to my commute). This seemed to work almost overnight for me. I now go to the gym immediately after work, while I am still motivated and have the energy to go. The best part is it completely eliminates the temptation to sit on the couch and drink that beer. It’s a lot easier to not grab that beer when you don’t have the option.
2) I started to meal prep
If you’re anything like me you need a good meal at least an hour or two before your workout. I found that if my last meal at work was lunch, it was almost impossible for me to want to work out at 6 or 7 when I would get home. I would just be too hungry. Even worse, if I tried to eat dinner right when I got home it would basically guarantee I would not go to the gym after. By the time I finished cooking and eating, my energy would be totally gone and the laziness would have already sunken in. Meal prepping has changed this. I now eat my dinner a little before I leave work, allowing me to workout right after. This change was definitely a little harder to implement then changing my gym. I could (and likely will) write a whole bunch of articles on meal prep, so I won’t get too detailed here. If you are completely new to the idea, I suggest checking out this reddit page (MealPrepSunday) for some great ideas to get you started. If you are looking for a change I highly recommend trying meal prep out – just remember there’s no beer in the meal prep plan.
By adding these two things to my routine it has made it much easier for me to get to the gym 3-4 times a week. If you have a long commute and are struggling to get back to the gym consistently I really suggest trying these out and seeing if they work for you.