Gym Tips to Help you Shape Up


10 Gym Tips to help you Shape Up for Spring

Is shaping up one of your spring goals? Gyms notice a rise in usage after Christmas and in March. If you are like me, you are hitting the gym this time of year in an effort to get in shape for spring.

I’ve been going to the gym for many years and find the following  gym tips to be helpful.

1.  Make a plan before you go to the gym.
Decide what you want to do and how long you want to do it.  For example:  Elliptical 20 minutes, weights 30 minutes, core 10 minutes.  If you know what you want to do, you will do it.

With no plan, time will be wasted deciding what to do.  You also may work out for a shorter time if you arrive at the gym with no plan.  A no plan gym visit might mean you hop on a cardio machine for 30 minutes and then think, “Now What?”  The “Now What?” may very well mean going home and doing nothing else.

Wouldn’t you rather make a plan and get an hour’s workout rather than have no plan and only work out for 30 minutes?

2.  Wear an attractive outfit.
If you feel good about what you are wearing, you are more likely to work out harder and longer.  Baggy t-shirts hide not a thing.  Instead, wear yoga pants and a cute fitted top.

3.  Pack your gym bag before work and keep it in your car.
If you have your bag ready, you are more likely to go to the gym after work instead of running errands or racing home to read blogs.

4.  Leave your cell phone in your car or in your gym locker.
I am amazed at the time I see people wasting at the gym texting.  If you stay for an hour but spend ten minutes texting, you only get a 50 minute workout.  Phone calls and texts will wait until your workout is complete.

5.  Time your workout.
If you’ve decided ahead of time that you are working out for an hour, make sure that you do.  I put my sports watch on “Chrono” set at 00:00 at the start of my workout.  I start timing when I start working out.  If someone talks to me and I can’t work through the conversation, I push the “stop” button until the conversation is over.  I push “start” when I get back to work.  I’m timing working minutes.  Talking is not work and it doesn’t count towards workout time.

6.  Find a class at your gym that you enjoy and get into the habit of attending.
I go to a 6 am cycle class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The same people are there week after week.  When a person misses a class, everyone wonders why they aren’t there.  I’m in the habit of going, so I go whether I really want to go or not.  I’m never sorry once I’m there.

7.  Make friends at the gym.
I love talking to people while I do my workout.  I don’t stop what I’m doing, I just talk.  I have made a ton of gym friends by being friendly.  Once you are used to your gym and you feel like you have friends there, you are more likely to want to go.

8.  Bring a water bottle.

Sip water as you work out.  It’s easy to get dehydrated when you work up a sweat.

9.  Pack a healthy snack to eat on the way home.
I usually eat grapes on my way home from the gym.  They take the edge off of my hunger and prevent me from eating everything in site when I finally get home.

10.  Log your workouts.
Writing down what you do each day will keep you accountable.  I use a runner’s log for miles ran but I also write down when I cycle, play tennis, or do a weight workout.


The Giveaway is over.







  1. Nice tips! I try and follow most of those myself but I like your suggestion for setting your watch and stopping the timer when your workout gets interrupted- much easier to make sure you are getting a full workout in that way!

  2. I like tip 1. If I don’t have a plan, I just end up doing the same old things. If I have a plan I am more likely to try new machines/exercises. Thanks for the great ideas!

  3. Listen to music! I can’t concentrate on reading and feels it slows me down so music makes it go by quicker for me!

  4. Great tips! My lab, Buttercup, keeps me motivated, every other day at least a 5 miler!
    Love your website, always informative and inspirational.

  5. I will be starting a 6am Tuesday/Thursday Body Conditioning class at the local Community College at the end of March. My sister convinced me to join. She’s a workout nut and wants to help motivate me to get into shape!

  6. Listen to fast paced music it makes the workout go by faster and if you can get your body tuned to the rhythm of the music you will forget you are working out.

  7. These are very good tips. I will definitely have to try them out.
    thanks for the chance at a great giveaway too. 🙂

  8. When I don’t want to go, I tell myself I’ll go for 5 minutes. I usually stay for longer than that! Plus, I tell myself I can go thrifting at the thrift store across the street as my reward 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. Thank you Paula for sharing these great tips. You are so great at making time for exercising and being healthy! I love all of these tips. I think the phone one is a great one! It can also be such a distraction while on a machine. I notice if I do anything with it while on a treadmill/elliptical my speed greatly slows down and I don’t realize it for a while!

    1. I agree with you about the phone, Megan. If I have mine around when exercising, I can’t resist looking at it. I leave mine in my gym locker unless I know I need it to receive a text.

  10. All great ideas! I’ve just recently been thinking about joining a gym again and these tips will help me be succesful in getting back into shape! It is true that wearing something nice and fitting brings your motivation up than baggy clothes…thanks Paula, and have a great weekend. Take Sherman for a run!

  11. My tip is to work out in the morning if possible, before you take your shower and get ready for the day. If I wait to do it later in the day, it doesn’t get done. Life gets in the way. Also, it’s a lot easier to work out in clothes with a nice fit, instead of baggy clothes. This is especially true if you’re doing yoga. Thank you for the tips. Have a fun weekend!

  12. My tip is to control portions by using salad sized plates instead of dinner plates which are too big. We also downsized our bowls so that a serving of cereal, pasta, soup or rice does not look ‘lost’ in a huge bowl – I know it’s just an eye/ mind trick, but anything that helps is good, right? Thanks!

  13. I use my phone for listening to music, nothing else. It is one of my gym pet peeves when people sit on equipment just texting while others are waiting to use it. My #1 fitness tip is to set realistic and attainable goals.

  14. I am thinking of joining a walking club at work. I need friends to motivate and keep me accountable-plus it’s fun!

  15. My tip is to lay out my gear the night before and always have a stockpike of pre-workout bananas.

  16. Great gym tips, Paula! I’m a morning person, so I know that if I don’t work out first thing, it’s not going to happen. I work out at home (hubby goes to the gym) but I keep my shoes and clothes out so I can grab them and work out as soon as I’m up and at um!

  17. My fitness tip is to always work out with music playing. It really gives you that extra boost to keep going. I plan to walk more now that the warmer weather is hopefully coming soon and to watch my portion sizes.

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