Have you recently joined a gym? Protect your investment (time and your hard-earned cash!) by making sure you are doing what you need to do to achieve YOUR goals.

Here are our 10 top tips for smashingย your fitness goals at the gym.

Have realistic goals

What are your goals? And I mean your goals. What would you like to achieve? Would you like to lose weight, be less stressed, tone up, improve your overall fitness? Or a mix of these?

And think about why you want to achieve these goals. The why is key to motivation. For example, if your goal is to lose weight to please someone else, or you believeย your life will be transformed once youย reach a magic number on the scales, please think again. Doing things for you will help motivate you to get out of bed earlier to get to the gym before work, or not sit on the sofa after work.

Be realistic about the amount of time you have to get to the gym – and you might need to reprioritise things, too.

Talking of time, don’t expect instant results. Slow and steady wins the race!ย Magazines might promise ‘a bikini body in four weeks’ or whatever, but really? That’s nonsense.

Boring, but true.

You can also check out our top 10 ways for creating sustainable lifestyle change.

Do things you enjoy

It’s simple psychology: if you’re going to do something you enjoy you are more likely to make time for it. That means thinking about what you like to do: that might be swimming, body combat, running, Pilates, Cross Fit…don’t worry if it’s not the latest fad. If you want to do it, you’re motivated to do it, and it is helping you reach your goals, go for it!

Try new things

Sometimes you might not know what you enjoy until you try things, like me and HIIT workouts. I never really enjoyed the cardio machines; as a result going to the gym felt like a chore, and I made very little progress. I felt intimidated by the freestyle area and all the plyo/bodyweight equipment until I tried it, and now you can’t get me on the cardio machines for anything. Booooring! (IMHO). Thanks to the freestyle equipment, I am passionate about making sure I workout regularly, and am reaping the physical and psychological rewards.

Try new things! Push yourself to achieve your goals.

Keep pushing yourself

You’re likely to see an initial difference, especially if you are new to exercise and/or are also watching what you eat.

Make sure you keep pushing yourself, otherwise you are likely to plateau which is likely to dent your confidence and motivation.

That means mix it up a bit: if you’re on the cardio machines, don’t do the same distance on the same level/pace for the same duration every time you go to the gym. If you’re not pushing your body, you won’t see any results. Try the different settings on the equipment, try a new class…


The staff if you’re ever stuck, or unsure. It will help you get the best out of the equipment, and therefore out of your time and money at the gym…and smash your goals! They will be happy to help you, don’t be shy.

Plus knowing the best way to use equipmentย can help you avoid injury.

What is all this stuff and what do you do with it? If you’re not sure, ask!

Track your progress.

Tracking numbers is great (distance, reps, inches or weight loss etc) but it can be useful to think beyond that. Try recording how you feel, too โ€“ for example for five minutes in to your first-ever spin class your lungs and legs might be burning, youโ€™ll want to throw up and think you will dieโ€ฆbut you will improve, and after a few weeks looking back you will be surprised at your progress. Itโ€™s worked for me โ€“ looking at how workouts helps manage my stress /improves my emotional wellbeing gives me motivation when Iโ€™d rather stay in bed/on the sofa.

Invest in workout clothes

You don’t have to spend a lot, but light sweat wicking clothes, and decent trainers will help you feel better than heavy clothing. If you are someone (like me!) who feels better if you feel you look your best treat yourself to a new workout outfit. It’s all about protecting your investment! Don’t avoid going to the gym because you feel self-conscious, go out there and smash it, whatever your shape or size!

(And women – a sports bra is a must!)

Don’t worry about other people or what they are doing or what they might think of you.

Everyone has to start somewhere – the fact that you are a beginner shouldn’t prevent you starting at all.

Bear in mind other gym members are focusing on their own workouts, and people are usually more obsessed with themselves than thinking about you.

Eat well (not less!)

Think about what you eat, rather than quantities and calories. That’s about eating well, not less! Lean meat and fish, dairy, veggies are good things to go for – try to avoid processed foods, which contain lots of hidden sugar, salt, and a range of general crap. Protein and good fats will help fuel your body for workouts.

This post was written with Christmas overindulgence in mind, but is relevant for balanced eating at any time of year.

Try a PT

A personal trainer can help push you more than you think you are able. They can give you ideas for different exercises and workouts. Getting my own personal trainer (Matt) is one of the best decisions I have ever made: he has helped me see quick results by showing me workouts I enjoy; working on my strengths (literally by building my strength – I’m better at strength activities than traditional cardio, and the bonus is strength work helps melt body fat!); and building my confidence in the gym (and therefore generally).

Most PTs will offer a free session so you can see if you like it with no financial commitment. Some places have small PT workout sessions, to help keep the cost down.

Sweaty selfie! Phewee thanks @mattkingpt for an amazing session this morning @ffbedford .A tough mix of cardio, weights, body weight, and boxing. My muscles were screaming by the end of it, but I loved it and feel incredible. I especially love seeing how my ability, strength, and stamina, as well as confidence in what my body is capable of has come on in leaps and bounds (pun intended!) these past few months. I actually look forward to going to the gym. Who would have thought it? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿผ * * * #workoutmotivation #workout #workoutwomen #fitness #fitnesswomen #fitnessjourney #fitnessfirst #fitnessmotivation #brightensmyday #simplepleasures #thingsthatmakemesmile #selfcare #wellbeing #ptsdsurvivor #hellpsyndromesurvivor #believeinyourselfie #thisgirlcan #awesomeness #progressnotperfection #smashingit #gains #girlgains

A photo posted by L E I G H ~ ๐Ÿ‘—๐Ÿ’„๐Ÿ’…๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’– (@leighakendall) on

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4 comments on “10 Tips for Smashing Your Gym Goals”

  1. All great tips, really well thought out Leigh. As you know I left the gym and have been doing pilates every day, it’s been bit hit and miss to be honest as an old injury has flared up with my achilles and hip, possibly because when I was at the gym I went twice a week and now I’m exercising every day! So some adjustment needs to be made there. I think the tip about a PT is a good one and I will ponder that #sharethejoy

    • You need to be careful with injuries, lovely Lizzie! Fab you’re enjoying your pilates – you’ll be moving your body in new ways so it will take your muscles a while to get used to it. Fab work though, and enjoy! xx

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