When I first started going to the gym, I absolutely hated it. It took me a while, but I eventually learned to love it. So, I understand if you despise going to the gym. It can be so difficult to make yourself go when you feel miserable during every workout. The good news is that there are some things you can do to trick yourself into heading to the gym. Here are eight ways I have learned to make going to the gym easier.

1. Go When You Are Feeling Good

Go to the gym when you feel 100%. If you are not a morning person, then go to the gym in the evening. You do not have to go to the gym when “experts” say you have to go. Go when you feel your best, whenever that is. Also, avoid eating a huge, heavy meal before going to the gym. You will only throw up or have a terrible workout. Make sure you do everything you can to feel good before you hit the gym. You will be much more likely to go if you feel great before you even step foot in the building.

2. Take the “No Pressure” Approach

Do not have a vision of the perfect workout that outlines your exact exercise experience. I used to think that if I did not lift heavy enough weights or run quickly enough that it was a waste of time. And I would disappoint myself all the time! Do not put pressure on yourself to perform a certain way or do certain exercises because you “have to.” This will make exercising no fun and cause you to be less consistent. Remember, there are thousands of different ways to get in shape. Find what you enjoy and do it.

3. Go at Off-Peak Times

I know I do not enjoy going to the gym when it is really crowded. The vibe gets off and then it throws me off. Instead, I try to go before or after peak hours so I can relax and enjoy my workout. If you can go when there are less people around, do it. You will have more space and there will be less pressure to get off the machines quickly. Conversely, if you feed off the energy of a crowded gym, then make sure you go when everyone is there! If that works for you, that is awesome. Do it!

4. Do Not Count Calories

Do not stress out about the number on the cardio machine. Most of the time, it is inaccurate anyway. I used to only focus on the “calories burned” part of the machine and not listen to my body or think about why I was even on the machine. You will get bored and frustrated if you only worry about how many calories you are burning. Instead, set a time goal and go hard for that time. Do not worry about your calories burned and instead focus on pushing yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone. If you do this every time you hit the gym, you will be fine.

5. Ask for Help

The staff at the gym is there to help. There are both trainers and other staff members who can help you with machines and weight lifting form. It is very hard to enjoy your workout if you do not know what you are doing! If you strike up a conversation with someone who is in shape and has confidence at the gym (like me!), then ask them for help too. I love helping people out at the gym. Having proper guidance makes it easier to stick to your workout plan because you are confident you are doing the exercises correctly and know they will bring results. If you feel intimidated by asking for help, start with the machines. They are mostly self-explanatory and are a great way to start.

6. Do Not Forget to Breathe!

I know this might seem like it does not belong on this list, but it is so important. Do not forget to breathe while you are exercising. I used to hold my breath while lifting weights all the time. When you are lifting, breathe in on the easy part and out on the hard part. For example, when you are doing a bicep curl, breathe in as you lower your arm. Then, when you are lifting the weight back up, breathe out. Pay attention to your breathing pattern and make sure you are breathing through every single rep. It will make your workouts much more enjoyable.

7. Buy Dope Gym Clothes

If you look good, you will feel good. If you can afford to spend some money on gym swag, do it. Wearing new clothes that make you feel confident and sexy will help a lot. Sometimes, all it takes is a new shirt to get you to the gym! This can be an expensive habit, but you can find quality, cute clothes at discount stores and big box stores. You do not need high end workout gear! But investing in those clothes might give you the push you need to invest in yourself.

8. Plan Your Playlist

I can tell the difference in both the intensity and enjoyment of a workout when I plan my playlist correctly. If a slow song comes on while I’m lifting, it will completely throw off my game. Different workouts require a different vibe, so you may need to make multiple playlists. Have music that pumps you up and makes you smile for cardio and weight lifting. For calming sessions like stretching, yoga, and foam rolling, use soothing, relaxing music. It will make a difference! If you are not a music listener, but have a podcast or book you enjoy, save them for your workout so you have another thing to look forward to at the gym.

I know that going to the gym can be hard. If it were easy, we would all be there! But you can make life easier on yourself if you follow these eight tips. Do whatever it takes to get yourself in the gym. Even if you can only go for 20 minutes, it is worth it. Consistency is more important than intensity every time. So plan to go when you feel the best, have some sweet swag, and have a dope playlist. You will enjoy yourself and even better, you will want to go back tomorrow.