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4 Strategies to Make More Progress in the Gym

4 Strategies to Make More Progress in the Gym

There’s always going to be a few bumps along the road to becoming fit.

Not everything will go as planned and it’s perfectly normal to sometimes feel that you’re just not making the progress in the gym that you had hoped for. But don’t give up! I’ve compiled a short list of strategies that you can apply right now to help get you back in the game.

Whether you’re an advanced lifter or a complete novice, the following tips will help you to get back on track and make more progress in the gym.

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1. Make time

Admittedly, this one seems like a no-brainer. But simply showing up is oftentimes the hardest thing for many people who don’t consider themselves the ‘fitness type.’ And while it’s relatively common knowledge that exercise may help to lower levels of anxiety and depression, it’s also been show to do so even if you are forced to exercise.

So, if you’re struggling to make progress, try scheduling time for exercise in the morning. This way, you’re less likely to make other commitments or encounter conflicts that may bump your date with the gym to a late time, or worse, erasing it from your to-do list altogether.

Not the 6:00 am workout type? No problem. Schedule your workout, even if it’s just a brisk walk, during your lunch hour. This way you’ll still have your afternoon and evening free to attend to your other commitments.

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2. Find a buddy

Everything is more fun when you can share it with someone else, right? And health and fitness isn’t any different. Some of my most memorable times in college were when my two roommates and I would gather our gym gear and head off to the gym in the evenings. Usually one of us would remind the other two that it was time to go, no excuses. And guess what? We always went to the gym.

So, here are a couple of things that you can do:

Firstly, survey your closest friends and find one (or two!) who are interested in joining you in your fitness program. Maybe they are way ahead of you and in better shape. That’s great, because they will be able to help you out, provide you with valuable advice and give you a goal to shoot for. On the other hand, maybe they could use a little help just like you to achieve their own health and fitness goals. And who knows? Maybe they are yearning for someone just like you to come along and help motivate them. Regardless, I think you’d be pleasantly surprised to learn that one of your close friends is just as interested in becoming healthy as you are.

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Secondly, if now is simply not the time for your friends to begin their own fitness journey, then I recommend joining a group training program. Not a class of 35 people, but a group program of 10 – 20. These programs are typically found at the now ubiquitous micro-gyms. They typically offer at least some level of personalized service and, most importantly, are filled to the brim with enthusiastic and motivated people who may have started out just like you but then progressed to become a fitter version of themselves. There is no better exercise support group.

3. Keep it simple

It’s easy to look at a lot of the fitness magazines today and think that you need to perform the most complicated movements out there because they should be the most efficient, right? But this isn’t always the case. In fact, regressing in fitness complexity is often what pays the real dividends. We are learning more and more every day that our bodies move in an integrative way. When we isolate our body and train each piece one at a time, it’s not only a more laborious process, but can even lead to detrimental movement down the road. Search for a workout program or training group that understands this concept.

4. Ask for help

This is hands down the best thing you can do if you’re looking to make more progress in the gym. Because we are all students of fitness and we are all still learning. No one has all the answers. And if you feel like your fitness regime is in a rut, then ask yourself who you can reach out to.ÂEven I have a coach! In fact, at a conference I attended earlier this year, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that one of the most prolific names in the fitness business had his own coach too.

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So look around and see who may be able to help you out. Maybe they are the credentialed trainers in the gym or other fitness professionals in your neighborhood. What I think you’ll find is that people are more than willing to help you out if you ask.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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