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We start each class with an icebreaker. When I asked folks what their proudest moment in the gym so far is, most said, “Just showing up here.” They should be proud of showing up! Every result you achieve in the gym, every limitation you overcome, starts with showing up.

When you roll up for your 6am class.

I work out in the morning, and now I teach in the mornings Mondays and Fridays. I am not a morning person. How does this work? The simple answer is, “I show up and do it,” but showing up to the gym isn’t really that simple.

Cars break down. Family gets sick. Alcohol convinces us it’s our friend on Friday night and then betrays us Saturday morning.

Not all the obstacles are external. We psych ourselves out about how hard it will be. We tell ourselves we aren’t getting results fast enough and lose motivation.

Every time we don’t show up to the gym (or wherever we’re getting our physical activity), it gets a little bit harder to show up the next time.  So how do you get better at showing up?

Breaking the No-Show Cycle

Know Why You’re Showing Up

“Do you want to go to the gym?” is not a very exciting question to most people (unless we’re talking about the Queer Gym specifically, of course). But what about, “Would you like to have more energy today?” “Would you like to shake off the stiffness of sitting at your desk all day?” Or how about, “Would you like to feel stronger than you did yesterday?”

Going to the gym isn’t something you do for its own sake. You do it because it supports your life goals and offers immediate benefits. Figure out what your reason for showing up is and remind yourself regularly that that’s why you want to work out.

For more about finding and sustaining motivation, I recommend reading No Sweat.

There’s no one right source of gymspiration.

Plan Ahead

Book your workouts as far in advance as your schedule lets you predict. Booking your workout in advance feels like more of a commitment—which is why we put it off to begin with! But hey, results take commitment, and making it earlier helps strengthen your resolve.

If you spend all week telling yourself you’re going to Friday’s Hardcore Homo, when Friday rolls around you’ll fight going to the gym less than if you wait until the day of to sign up for the class.

Studies show that when we make decisions last minute (like asking, “Do I book that 7am class?” at 6:30am), how we’re feeling in the moment matters a lot more than our long-term goals. You’re more likely to trade the benefits you’ll get from showing up for an extra hour in bed if you wait to book.

Make “Keeping yourself happy and healthy” part of your gay agenda.

Look at What’s Getting in Your Way

If you have a problem showing up, you probably find the same things holding you back on a regular basis. Some common culprits are:

  • Not getting enough sleep the night before.
  • Leaving the office too late to make class.
  • Giving other people’s demands for your time priority over your own well-being.

The list goes on! But the good news is if you plan your workouts in advance and are honest about what’s getting in the way, you can also start planning around these obstacles. An example from my own life:

For the longest time, I was chronically late to class. Now, that’s not great on any day; but when I’m coaching classes, it’s unacceptable! So I looked at what I needed to get done in the morning and what was holding me up. Turns out, three culprits were making me late:

  1. I take a shit-ton of supplements in addition to prescription medication. I could spend all morning popping pills, and I was! Unscrewing caps, counting out doses, staring into the mirror as I tried to remember what I’d already taken all held me up.
  2. Packing my bag for my workout and work day slowed me down. Trying to pick out clothes after just waking up, having to wash out the shaker bottles sitting in the sink before so I can have my BCAAs and protein with me, trying to find my keys…it’s a miracle I ever made it out of the house.
  3. My fuckin’ phone.

So I made some changes. I count out my pills and pack my bag the night before (including the requisite key hunt). I also set my phone up on the other side of the bedroom so I have to physically get out of bed to get it. Just by making these tweaks to my day, I’m able to show up 10-15 minutes earlier than I was before.

You, to anything to trying to stop you from working out.

Be Kind to Yourself When You Can’t Show Up

The no-show cycle can be self-perpetuating. Sometimes we feel a little guilty about not working out when we feel like we “should,” and those negative feelings a lot of us have about gyms bubble up. Even if you want to show up, when you’ve been away for a while, that first workout back can be intimidating. And if you were just starting to build physical activity into your life, it can be easy to slide back into old habits. (After all, you’ve had those old habits longer than you’ve had your gym membership!)

So be kind to yourself. Don’t judge yourself for not making it. Life happens! Don’t dwell on the workout you missed, start looking forward to the next one.

Ask Your Coach to Show Up for You

If you find yourself struggling with motivation, reach out to one of your coaches! We want you in class, and we want you to leave it feeling great. If that’s not happening, we want to help fix it.

Are you struggling with an exercise and getting demotivated? We can modify it. Are you finding the pace of classes too slow or fast? Let us know so we can plan better workouts. Do you need more encouragement? We’ve got encouragement to spare!

Showing up isn’t as easy as it feels like it should be, but with some self-reflection, practice, and support, you can do it. That’s when the fun really starts.

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