Are You Creative Enough For The Gym?
Before you start questioning my sanity, take a minute to think about it. The way I see it, you need to be creative if you’re going to commit to being fit and healthy. Why? Be honest, you know that sometimes going to the gym and everything it involves can become really boring!
I’m not saying that I find it boring – I love everything about fitness. Well most things anyway. All I’m saying is that for some people, fitness presents a lot of challenges that they may never have considered. Unless they can come up with a creative solution they might end up packing it in altogether.
Are You Creative Enough For The Gym?
Still not convinced? Then check out these common scenarios that I’m sure will suddenly sound all too familiar!
Challenge #1 – The Equipment You Wanted Is Being Used
It’s strange how we tend to take ownership of things that don’t belong to us. Get out of my squat rack. Put down my barbell. Without a doubt, anyone that has ever set foot inside a gym on more than one occasion has had to deal with the frustration of equipment already being in use.
For a lot of people, their entire world collapses and their intended workout flies out the window. Ive known people that have just left the gym because they couldnt get on the machines they wanted.
This is where you need to be creative. If you were going to train legs but the squat racks are full, you can still train legs! The gym has a huge variety of machines and free weights that can be used to create a thorough routine for any type of training.
Here’s an example. Perform 3 sets of: 25 reps bodyweight squat, then 15 reps box jumps, then 10 reps heavy kettlebell goblet squat, then 16 reps dumbbell lunges. That took me less than a minute to plan out and incorporates equipment that’s always available!
Challenge #2 – You Can’t Make It To The Gym
Maybe you’ve been busy all day and couldn’t find the time, or maybe you’re on holiday in the middle of nowhere. Whatever the reason, there are going to be times when you just cannot get to the gym. This will be the ultimate test of your creativity because you don’t have any equipment or machines for guidance – it’s just you and a desire to train.
The first place your mind should go is bodyweight exercises. There are a few basic ones that you can work into a simple circuit which doesn’t require you to be overly creative – pushups, burpees, squats and dips. You could take things one step further with decline pushups or perhaps single-leg squats.
That would get you a C- in my book. Why not take the opportunity to do some developmental stretching? If you’re at home, can you find anything to use as resistance? Pick up something heavy and do some squats, or use a mop and do some overhead lunges! If you’re on holiday make your way to the pool and do some timed laps with 10 pool exit muscle ups each time you hit the deep end. Stuck in a hotel room? Find something heavy and do some Turkish get-ups! That’s the kind of thinking that gets you an A+.
Challenge #3 – Your Routine Is Boring
It doesn’t take much for you to fall into a pattern of exercise. The same lifts with the same weights on the same days. Just thinking about it is boring!
I think this is one of the hardest challenges to overcome because unless you have background knowledge in fitness, coming up with alternative exercises requires more from you than being creative. It requires you to do some research and sometimes to simply ask for help.
Going back to the first time I went to the gym, I was given a starter program with 10 different machines to use. I did that three times a week for what seemed like an eternity before I started researching what else I could be doing and created my own routine.
It’s important to remember that at the end of the day, you and you alone are ultimately accountable for your own fitness. If you’re bored with what you’re doing then the answer is simple: do something about it!
Challenge #4 – You Can’t Eat Anymore Chicken, Broccoli and Rice
The first few days of a new diet are easy because you’re full of good intentions and brimming with positivity. It starts to get tough after finding a box of Jaffa cakes in the cupboard when you’re really hungry and becomes a complete nightmare when you’re eating the same thing at lunch for the 9th day in a row.
There are two ways you can approach this. The first is to spend time learning basic recipes and then tweaking them with healthier cooking choices. The second is to just view food as fuel and shovel it in regardless of how it tastes!
I’ll usually lean more towards the latter, however when I am feeling creative I’ll pick up a few special ingredients and go all out making something tasty and healthy. When what you eat is such an integral part of your overall health and fitness, you can’t really afford to cut corners. Use any resources you can get your hands on for inspiration – websites, cookbooks, even friends and family can all provide that initial spark to get you out of your culinary funk.
Challenge #5 – You Just Don’t Feel Like It
I didn’t leave this one until last intentionally, however it does seem somewhat fitting. Even when the stars are aligned and there is absolutely nothing standing in your way, there will be days when you just don’t want to go to the gym.
Finding the motivation to workout is individual – there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. You need to find what motivates you specifically so you can rely on it when it’s needed the most. That’s all well and good, but how exactly does this require creativity? Well you tell me! What motivates you?
A simple idea would be to print out a picture of someone that has your target physique and then stick a picture of your face over theirs. Or you could use stickers (which have been used to trick children for generations) – one point given for every day you make it to the gym, one point taken away for every day you skip. If you’re stuck for ideas, I’ve written an entire article on workout motivation!
I think I’ve done a pretty good job of highlighting the major challenges you’ll face in the gym and provided some creative solutions on how to get around them! If you’ve got any more challenges or solutions, let me know in the comments!