It's a particularly dreary Monday evening😴

You've just gotten home after a long and exhausting workday filled with endless meetings and unnecessary email communication; it's perfectly understandable why heading to the gym is at the very bottom of your to-do list. I mean, if it's even there at all, of course.

And – as the days turn into weeks, and eventually months: you'll come to realize that you're now paying for a gym membership you no longer use. Ouch – how much are you spending monthly, again? You really shouldn't have to waste your money like this: as you'll find out, sticking to a workout routine can be easy if you follow the tips listed below.

#1 – Buddy Up

When you have a friend waiting on you to make your appearance at the gym, you're infinitely less likely to cancel on a workout. Just think of the eternal guilt (and potential embarrassment) you'd experience if you texted your friend that you couldn't make it for the session because your couch and Netflix was calling out to you. Well, unless you're a terrible friend, of course.

Other than the increased level of accountability, there's another benefit of buddying up: exercising becomes more fun! We'll admit, performing five sets of deadlifts by yourself isn't exactly the most exciting thing. Your friend can provide you with just the right amount of encouragement for you to finally break your PB (Personal Best).

And besides, a friend can come in handy when you're struggling for those last few reps on the bench press – trust me, you don't want to get stuck underneath.

#2 – Join Fitness Community Groups

I’ll admit: there’s a catch to the first tip. You’d first need a friend who’s just as crazy about the gym – dumbbells, protein shakes, and pre-workouts included, like you. Now, if you, unfortunately, don't have one, don't fret. There's always Facebook fitness groups filled with fitness buffs just like you.

These groups offer one of the best ways for you to get interactive advice and support from fellow gym enthusiasts. Seeing how others are crushing their workout sessions can ignite the fire in you. Don't be surprised if you find yourself heading to the gym at 10 PM because you saw someone post that they've just broken your PB in deadlifts!

You can join our community group here.

#3 – Set Clear Goals

It is always easier to stay motivated when you’re clear about what you want to achieve. Are you trying to lose 5 pounds by the end of this month? Or – are you aiming to fit back into your college jeans?

You should set smart goals. I know – what are smart goals, exactly? Well:

S – Specific

Whatever your goal is, you should try your best to define it. Use clear and unambiguous language to describe your goal. For example, you should say, “I want to lose weight,” instead of, “I want to look better.”

M –Measurable

You should define specific criteria for measuring progress toward your accomplishment of the goal – this is so you know how close you are to achieving what you want. So – if you're going to lose weight, you need to settle on a specific measurement. Are you going to weight yourself, or are you going to measure the circumference of your waist, for instance?

A – Attainable

Your goals must be achievable – it’s just not possible for you to drop 10 pounds in a week.

R – Realistic

In line with your goal being attainable, you need to ensure that it’s realistic. Don’t lie to yourself about the feasibility of your goal.

T – Time-bound

Goals must always have a clearly defined time frame – this includes a starting date and a completion date. If you don't set a time limit for yourself, you'll find that there's no real sense of urgency in taking actual steps to achieve your goal. You'll most probably look the same as you are, three full years later.

#4 – Snap Progress Pictures

Many people fall off the fitness bandwagon the moment they see that the numbers on the scale have inched up, rather than down, after many weeks spent in the gym.

And I used to be the same too; I would get so discouraged by the readings of my bathroom scale that I’d order extra-large fries for dinner. What was the point in working out so hard when my weight hasn’t gone down, right?

But then I found out – through the hard way – that the scale doesn’t tell the whole story.

You see: even though 5 pounds of muscle and 5 pounds of fat both weigh the same, muscle is denser than fat. It takes up far less room - this is why a person who carries more muscle looks' tighter' than another when they're both at the same weight.

You can get a more objective view of how your body is transforming because of your fitness routine by taking progress pictures. For guys: seeing how your chest, upper body, and legs pump up over the weeks can be motivating. And for the girls: you'll get rid of your weighing scales once you see the inches being shaved off from your waist!

#5 – Meal Prep

Have you ever noticed how you always opted for healthier food choices – swapping out of the usual burger for a salad, and asking for “no mayonnaise” – right after working out? Well, you’re not alone.

This peculiar phenomenon is also known as the transfer effect, where improvement in one specific area of your life triggers your desire to seek similar, positive results in another. And so, when you begin to improve your fitness levels, you'd unconsciously try to tweak your diet for the better.

Following that line of reasoning, here’s a neat psychological trick you can play on yourself: you can influence your workout behavior by prepping healthy meals at home! Eating your home-cooked food at lunch during work can unconsciously remind yourself that you need to work out later on in the day.

I mean, this tip is brilliant: you'll be able to stick to a workout routine and a diet plan at the same time. Score!

Conclusion

Excellent – you're now privy to the top 5 tips you need to stick to your workout routine. I hope that you'll start incorporating at least one or two of them into your daily life. Wait –you have questions about appropriate rest periods in the gym, what to eat to get lean, and what you could do to maximize your muscle gains?

Well, I don't know if I've mentioned – once you've downloaded and signed up to any of GymStreak’s plans, you’ll get access to an exclusive, members-only Facebook group – the GymStreak Tribe. In these group, we always keep our members updated on our latest blog posts that answer all your burning questions.

Also, you’ll be able to connect with the GymStreak tribe, post questions, put up progress pictures, and connect with fit, like-minded individuals. And if you’ve been paying attention, you’d know that joining this group would help you – immensely – with sticking to your exercise routine!

References

Cohen, E. E. A., Ejsmond-Frey, R., Knight, N., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2010). Rowers’ high: Behavioural synchrony is correlated with elevated pain thresholds. Biology Letters, 6(1), 106–108. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2009.0670

Jayawardene, W. P., Torabi, M. R., & Lohrmann, D. K. (2016). Exercise in Young Adulthood with Simultaneous and Future Changes in Fruit and Vegetable Intake. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 35(1), 59–67. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2015.1022268