How I Picked Up the Gym Habit Again After a Decade

I wasn’t doing any sports at all until seven months ago. My awakening came when I saw someone with a six pack abs in real life. That guy wasn’t a fitness model on the cover of a magazine. He wasn’t a professional athlete. He had an office job just like me.

Then I looked at my body in the mirror. All of my muscles were weak. The only thing that stood out was my belly. It was a pretty embarrassing sight to be honest. If that guy could do it, I could do it as well. I started to do sit-ups at home. As you can imagine, they didn’t help at all.

There was an empty commercial space next to my home and I was dreaming about a gym opening there. And then guess what happened. A gym opened there eight months ago. It took me a month to sign up to that gym.

I was embarrassed to go to a gym. I thought I was too weak. But then I did it anyway. Well, watching hours of Rich Piana videos on YouTube helped me with the inspiration and encouragement.

Start with a Big Bang

When I finally made the leap, I decided to go full steam ahead. I put a lot of work into designing my weekly work out plan, diet, supplementation, and resting. I worked out an hour in the gym with weights and an hour in the park doing cardio. I did that three days every four days. I had a rest day one day out of every four days.

What Gets Measured, Gets Improved

I kept track of progress in the gym with weights as well as with a heartbeat monitor when doing cardio in the park. I measured the calories and protein I consumed to make sure that I wasn’t undernourished. I paid attention to my rest and sleep to get enough of that.

Know When to Dial Down

Training became the main priority of my life for a month or two. That was good at the beginning, but at a certain moment, I realized that I had other responsibilities in life. Two hours a day of training was getting into the way of my other responsibilities.

In order to have a more balanced life, I reduced my training to one hour a day, six days a week, three days in the gym training with weights and three days at home doing cardio on a stationary bike. I also moved my training time to evening, after work, just before eating.

Make It a Part of Your Daily Routine

I made training a part of my daily routine, just like brushing my teeth twice a day. It has its time in my daily and weekly calendars. That is critical. Why? Because I don’t need to think about it, just like I don’t think about brushing my teeth.

If I had to think about when I should go to gym, I guarantee you that I’ll find a million and one reasons to postpone it to the point of not doing it. Now, there’s no discussions, no hesitation. It’s all scheduled in stone. When the time comes, I make my gym bag and get my ass out of home into the cold night.

How to Go Over the Dip

After a few months, I lost my enthusiasm. It was all the same. Sure, I could vary my training and I did that. However, it was still boring compared to the light speed of our modern lives nowadays.

I filled my smartphone with podcasts and audible books and started to listen to them when working out in the gym. At home, I measure my heart speed and watch YouTube when doing cardio. Sure some distraction helps to go through the dip, but at the end of the day, the only thing that helps me go through the dip is self-discipline. Unfortunately, there’s no way around self-discipline and it’s self-discipline that determines the winners and losers at the end of the day.

Summary

If you want to start exercising and you have a busy life, here are the things that worked for me.

  • Get inspired watching fitness influencers on YouTube and/or Instagram
  • Sign up to a gym
  • Get a stationary bike or elliptical at home
  • Start with a big bang. Go full steam the first month or two
  • Measure your progress.
  • Eventually, dial it down to a sustainable level.
  • Make it a part of your daily routine.
  • Make it exciting by listening to podcasts, audible books, watching YouTube while exercising
  • Work on your self-discipline.
Burak Bilgin
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.

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