Going To The Gym As Habit

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 28, 2007 9:07 PM GMT
    A post in the "Rest" thread about "gym as addiction" brought up a thought I keep having.

    A lot of people on this site have talked about developing your gym routine into a habit: going to the same gym; going on the same days; going at the same time (albeit mixing up your workouts so you don't get bored. My question is, how long does it take to really get it to be a habit? And for some people, does it just not become habit?

    I've been working out regularly for about 3 and a half weeks now, going at the same times and the same days and mixing up my workouts so I don't get bored. Yet, I still struggle every day to get myself to go to the gym. Luckily, every time I think that I don't want to go I just come here and it gives me motivation to go that night.

    But I go to the gym/workout in some form 6 nights a week, and I still haven't been able to ingrain it in myself as habit. Do I just need to give it more time? I worry that if it never becomes habit, I'm going to end up not going one week and never go back (because that's happened in the past). Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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    Jun 28, 2007 9:31 PM GMT
    I've heard somewhere that it takes roughly 20 repetitions to ingrain something as a pattern. Short answer, keep going and I'll bet that it becomes second nature before you know it. I think it's a great sign that you've been showing up, even when you don't feel like it!
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    Jun 28, 2007 11:53 PM GMT
    Ask yourself "why" you are going to the gym. If you have a goal of getting that awesome body and be able to flaunt it anytime ;P, then that should be a strong motivation for you. Good luck and work those muscles out.
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    Jun 29, 2007 12:00 AM GMT
    Chewey -

    If you haven't gone regularly for some time, yes, the gym can seem mundane. But at the end of the day, this lies in your own personal motivation. If you want to live a healthy, fit lifestyle, this will provide more than enough motivation to get you there. If not, maybe you're not fully mentally committed yet.

    In terms of being "addicted" to the gym, workouts do provide a level of endorphins that are missed when they aren't floating around. When I go into a rut of studying for a week, and don't lift weights or swim, I start to feel like crap.

    Maybe it's mental, maybe it's physical, but at the end of the day, it's my body or my mind telling me to get my ass back there. I think more than likely, this happens when you first start seeing real results in your appearance changing. I used to be 135lbs - when I started putting on weight, it was like a switch flipped in my head. And I haven't been able to turn it off since.

    When it happens, you'll know, but be dilligent, and don't look for a "timeframe" for it to occur. Find whatever it is that motivates you and use it as a tool to encourage a good behavior.
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    Jun 29, 2007 3:19 AM GMT
    It is often said that it takes about 21 days for something to become habit, give or take.
    Once you start to incorporate a gym session into your day without thinking it over, it's a habit.
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    Jun 30, 2007 12:26 PM GMT
    "When I go into a rut of studying for a week, and don't lift weights or swim, I start to feel like crap."

    I have the same experience. Working out makes a phenomenal difference in the way I feel.

    One way people cultivate the habit, Chewey, is to hire a trainer or get a lifting buddy.

    Six nights a week is a lot. I'd hate the gym if I went that often, though I know many people do.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jul 01, 2007 4:20 PM GMT
    Good for you on first making the commitment
    but you'll get into a "habit" as you call it when you see some results
    3 and half weeks aren't enough quite yet
    set some realistic goals for yourself
    that will keep you going for awhile and you'll see in about 2 months you're going to start seeing changes that will stoke the flames for you
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    Jul 04, 2007 4:35 AM GMT
    You will know when it has become an addiction. How?

    It will be 5 o'clock, and you will have dinner plans with friends but your mind and body will scream for going to the gym and working out. In fact you will be so fixated on that thought, you might even persuade yourself that you can work in a quick workout and then change quickly at the gym to make it to the dinner with your friends.

    Think of it as an internal clock that goes off right at the time you usually work out every day.

    Of course I have been addicted so long that I think I can now ignore that call.

    Also another sign is, if you wake up in the morning and your first thoughts in the shower are the meals you're going to eat that day and what types of protein are going to be in each. THAT also is a sign of addiction to working out and Bodybuilding.
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    Jul 04, 2007 7:17 AM GMT
    think long term goals and have patience. Its not ever instantaneous with working out. Like GQjock said, 3 and a half weeks isnt all that long. But once your in the habit, you'll wonder how you went without it.
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    Jul 06, 2007 2:48 PM GMT
    My trick is to tie it to something else you're doing on a regular basis. Try going before or after work (if you have a regular job schedule) to make it part of your daily routine. That's got double benefit because if I come home from work and dick around my apartment for a while I lose some momentum and a nap looks a lot more attractive than a treadmill.

    Oh and six times a week is a great way to get burnt out on going. If you have an extra day or two rest in a week it'll be easier to adjust your schedule when life calls, that way you don't feel like a slave to the gym.