The Dreadmill - Health and Heart Beat

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Every week, Louisville.com's coach/columnist Emily Ruppel picks the brain of a different health professional in the ‘502 about how they get their clients—and themselves—to start and stick with a fitness plan.

Don’t Quit the Gym Tip #1 From yours truly, Wellness Coach, Downtown YMCA

If you're feeling a little sluggish in the February weather, don't worry.  You're not alone.  Sometimes, even successful, type-A people with a strong desire to work out, serious goals, and a plan—don’t.  It’s okay to drink a beer on Super Bowl Sunday, eat chips, and sit on the couch, but when the time comes to work out whatever we indulged in over the weekend, breaking the cycle is half the battle.

If you’re having trouble getting "up and at 'em," (after all, snuggling in with a good book and a the housecat is a lot more cozy than wriggling into those spandex bike shorts), think about it a different way.  Too much planning ahead can cause dread… instead, find something to look forward to that has nothing to do with working out.

Here’s five reasons to visit the gym that regularly help me trick myself onto the treadmill:

Try something new. There are plenty of weird-looking machines at any given gym.  Explore one of them.  Make it a nightly goal.  If you can, embarrass yourself in the process.  This, too, is a healthy experience.

Make a friend. Even if you’re not the most gregarious person, chances are, there’s someone at your gym, right now, that you have something in common with, or who could provide the answer to your biggest questions in life, or who is really cute.  Go find them.

Watch TV. Do on the exercise bike what you would do at a bar—pass the dull moments by watching TV.  Almost every gym nowadays has a few good channels, and since I rely on Hulu for the majority of my home entertainment, I often plan the daily run according to when MASH comes on.

Get hot. Instead of saving your sauna for post-workout, make relaxing in the whirlpool or having a steam bath your ONLY goal in coming to the gym.  Chances are, once your blood gets flowing and you start to develop a few beads of sweat, you’ll be more inclined to add to the effect by getting your heart pumping, as well.

Sing in the public shower. What, you guys don’t do this?