by Briin Bernstein
You won't find many journalists quoting Cher, but she hit the nail on the head when she joked, "Fitness - if it came in a bottle, everybody would have a great body." Pretty deep, coming from a woman with no apparent last name. Her point is well taken though: getting yourself to the gym is an uphill battle.
Perhaps you're different though. Maybe you even belong to a gym. Sure, you never go; but that's not the point. You pay your dues, and that, in and of itself, is a pretty big accomplishment...right?
If you're looking to break this cycle, and become an active member of your respective fitness club, here are five tips that might help you along the way...
1) Good Looking People
There are few places – besides the beach and that scrambled Pay-Per-View channel – where you'll find a more concentrated group of ‘hotties.' Bulky men, alluring ladies, and, sometimes even, something in between. Whatever you're into, the gym has some pretty good eye candy for you.
While these club-regulars can be a good reminder of how out of shape and disgusting you are, they can also be great motivation. After all, you're going to the gym so that you can attract one of these people in the real world, right? Keeping one of these beauties in your sight can add that extra bit of motivation to your routine – be it the two extra curls, or a couple additional minutes on the treadmill. When you get tired, look to these attractive freaks of nature for that additional energy. Who knows, someone may even use you as motivation one day. Maybe.
2) Go Easy.
The biggest pitfall of the average ‘once a month' is that they treat every gym visit as the day. That is, the day that they're going to turn everything around. They go all out, lifting the biggest weights they can lift, running on the treadmill as though the police were chasing them, and, all around, getting themselves bent out of shape.
Most of these ‘workout sprinters' stay away from the gym for another month, because their workout is miserable. Hence, the advice: go easy.
Like my father used to say (without any understanding for the obvious sexual innuendo), "Don't blow your wad." Create a routine that isn't that hard. Don't do 100 sit-ups; do 30. If the routine is easier, you will be more likely to return within the week. Consistency is the key to success. Rome wasn't built in a day –and while I have zero idea of what that expression means, it's possible that it applies here.
3) Getting' Jiggy With It
So now we've quoted Cher AND Will Smith. But the point remains: bring music to the gym. Whether it's the high energy beats of Puff Daddy, or the ‘My-girlfriend-left-me-I'm-so-depressed' sounds of Bob Dylan, music can be a great distraction to the pain you'll be feeling in your biceps. Throw your iPod on ‘shuffle' and try to move to the music between exercising. Even better, make a playlist with all your favorite jams. The less you think about exercising, the easier it will be. Note: this same advice will not work for your marriage.
4) Be a Creep
Personal trainers suck. They make you work too hard, feel too inept, and cost too much. Sure they have some great tips; but – much like a CD – there are ways to get around paying for it. The best way to build your own expert routine is by snooping.
Take advantage of the meatheads around you. Watch what the ‘perfect people' are doing, and copy their routines. If you're trying to get big arms, seek out the person with the biggest arms and do what they do. You might even build up the nerve to ask them for a word of advice. Chances are, they'll be flattered, or amused, that a wimp like you wants to look like them.
Secondly, eavesdrop on personal training sessions. There's no better way to get free advice, then by setting up shop beside a personal trainer and their client. You're sure to pick up some tips. It's as easy as cheating off that smart kid in high school algebra. Hm, wonder what that dweeb is up to these days?
5) Feed Me!
You just worked off 200-calories...now go eat that 600-calorie muffin! Okay, maybe this isn't the best strategy; but, eating after the gym is essential. Don't try to start your gym routine, and cut out your eating routine, at the same time. Eating is actually helpful to sculpting a healthy body. In fact, an hour after a workout is the absolute best time to consume.
If you've been trying to build muscle, this is even more true. Just like Cher needed Sonny, muscles need protein for their growth. For those trying to stay on the leaner side, eggs are a great, low fat, high protein snack. For those looking to beat up their old school bully, pasta and meat are the way to go. Cigarettes are bad in either case.
So what are you waiting for? Keep it simple, stay motivated, distract yourself with music, snoop on trainers, and then chow down. Going to the gym will never be ‘fun,' but it doesn't have to be as bad as ‘Dude Where's My Car' (though you have to admit, there is something about that Ashton Kutcher guy...)