My gym membership costs $US90 a month.
Really — I know.
Yes, I have tried to negotiate, and yes, I’ve looked into other gyms, but after joining my Manhattan chain on a corporate discount that was about $US20 less than I currently pay, I couldn’t bear to leave the gym when I went back to civilian status after changing jobs. I love the teachers! I know the schedule! The locations are so convenient!
That’s how they get you.
Anyway, the price of my gym is what it is, and I paid for a year in advance just to get that rate. So I better make it worth my money. Every night that I “don’t feel like going” actively costs me cash, and as someone who would be naturally well-suited to those hover chairs from Wall-E, there are lots of nights I need to turn “don’t feel like” into “can’t wait.”
How do I force myself to go? Below, I’m confessing the motivation tricks that get me off the couch and onto the spin bike. I can’t guarantee they will work for you — I can’t even guarantee they will continue to work for me — but this is what works right now.
I go to classes. If someone isn’t standing in front of me, barking out reps and making sure I do them, it’s not going to get done. That’s something I know about myself. As much as I admire those sneakered, self-motivated New Yorkers bounding through Manhattan at a brisk jog all hours of the day and night, I’m just never going to be one.
And I stand in the front. You try slacking off when you’re directly in the instructor’s line of sight.
I think of the money. The brilliant thing about belonging to a gym, as opposed to those $US30 boutique spin classes so many of my friends adore, is that since you’ve already paid, it gets cheaper every time you go. That’s amazing! If I go to one class in a month, it’s a $US90 class. Two, they’re each $US45. Nine classes? At nine, which works out to fewer than three times a week, I’m paying only $US10 per class.
I talk about going to the gym incessantly. If everyone in my office knows I plan to go, I have to keep my word. “It’s like peer pressure!” my coworker exclaimed in dismay after the third time that day I checked to see if she was coming with me to the gym. “It’s OK,” I reassured her. “I’m fine with that.”
I tell myself going to the gym is my reward. There’s no better choice I could be making at that moment for my health and well-being. It’s a breath of fresh superiority.
I leave my gym bag at the office. This is decidedly trickier if you’re the type to work out before and after work, but I haven’t yet reached that level of lunacy. As someone who exclusively exercises at night, I bring my gym bag home, empty it, refill it, and bring it to work the next day, whether I’m planning to go to the gym or not. On the weekend, I just bring it home and then back on Monday morning. This way, I’m never caught without sneakers … and I get an arm workout during my commute.
I wrangle an escort. Between my office and the gym are two different subway stops. Also cabs. And sidewalks that lead straight home. To make sure I’m shamed into actually arriving at the gym instead of being segued by an exit strategy, I do my best to press coworkers into escort service. “We don’t even have to work out together! Let’s just walk over together!” (Oh man, I’m the worst.)
I tell myself I can leave mid-class. I say it, but I never do it. Once I’m there, in my gym clothes, sneakers strapped on, in a prime front-row spot, you can bet I’m not leaving. It’s not like I’m doing a four-hour CrossFit workout or running a marathon — it’s a 45 minute class, and I can do pretty much anything for 45 minutes. By the time I think of leaving, it’s over.
How do you motivate yourself to get to the gym?