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Steven Virtue, Fitness Development Manager at Total Fitness, believes that motivation is key to success when it comes to getting healthy. He shares how you can keep focussed on your goals with some simple tips.

As the days become darker, colder and shorter, many struggle to get themselves out of the house and get moving.

Steven said: “The best way to set realistic goals is to take things slow and build yourself up. Whilst you might want to be lifting the heaviest weights in gym straight away, by slowly building yourself up you’ll find it more manageable and will see results faster, avoiding any disappointment.”

It’s not only unhealthy and unhelpful to go into the gym and expect to lift 20kg dumbbells straightaway, it is harmful.

Taking the time to perfect your technique could save you from injury.

Another expert tip is to focus on exercises you enjoy.

Steven said: “Working out isn’t supposed to be easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.”

To avoid exercise feeling like a chore, opt for workouts that make you feel strong and powerful.

If you can’t stand running, head to a fitness class.

If you aren’t a swimmer, maybe you’ll be an excellent rower.

He added: “Working your way around the different gym equipment will allow you to figure out which exercises and equipment you prefer. You can then build a workout routine that incorporates these exercises, meaning your workout routine can become a much more enjoyable feat.”

A top tip that everybody can get behind is to make sure to rest.

Steven warned: “Taking time to rest after a workout allows your body and muscles to recover, both of which are essential for helping to increase your strength and endurance.”

Tracking your fitness progress is a great morale booster.

While it won’t happen overnight, the ultimate goal of working out is to eventually see progress, “whether that is to lose weight, gain muscle, or increase endurance”.

Steven advised: “Taking regular progress pictures and making a note of your reps and weights is a good way to log your progress and personal bests overtime in an easily accessible way.”

He also recommends that you work out with another person for “accountability”.

You are much less inclined to skip your gym session if a friend or family member is counting on you.

“They can also help push you to achieve more during your workouts and be a source of support, especially on those days you’re finding the gym particularly difficult,” he said.

Finally, plan your visits so that you actually enjoy them.

See working out as an act of self-care, and you’ll probably start looking forward to it.

He said: “Planning your gym visits is a great way to build working out into your everyday routine. It is important to set out enough time for getting to and from the gym, getting changed, and actually working out.”

Packing your gym bag and laying out your gym clothes the night before will also encourage you to stick to the promise you made yourself to work out.

He added: “Perhaps you want to combine a fitness class with a swim, or a weights session with a sprint on the running track – planning the contents of your workout session in advance will help you to stay motivated and focused.”

As you embark on a fitness regime in the lead up to Christmas, you could use Steven’s tips in order to stay on track.

Total Fitness and many other gyms offer bespoke personal training sessions for gym members too if you feel you could benefit from some professional guidance.

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