26/02/2015 13:42 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

5 Ways To Make Gym-Going Less Painful

It's taken me years, but I've finally managed to make exercise a regular part of my life, and I'm happier and healthier for it. But it didn't come easy; I'm naturally lazy, and fairly devious, so I can find an excuse to get myself out of ANYTHING. As a self-confessed gym delinquent, these are the tactics I've picked up from trainers and psychologists that help me outsmart myself on cold, dreary mornings when my duvet is calling....

Young woman holding dumb-bells

1. Pack your kit like a pro. For starters, do it the night before when you're fully awake, so you can get up and go in under 15 minutes - the longer you linger in your bedroom in the morning, the more time your brain has to think up excuses for you to skip it 'just this once'. If you have space for a separate gym bag [we love this Lululemon duffle keep a stash of spare hairbands, socks and underwear in a pocket. If your handbag does double duty as a gym bag, then keep your kit in a separate pouch (like this Muji EVA pouch so you never ever show up at the gym without shower gel/clean underwear to change into.

2. Avoid peak times. Mondays and Tuesdays are the busiest, thanks to guilt peaking after the excesses of the weekend. Go on a Friday evening or Sunday morning, however, and you'll have the sauna all to yourself. Weekday mornings will always be busy, but they tend to peak between 8.30am and 9.30am, so earlybirds are rewarded by no shower queues.
3. Work out in the morning. Psychologists agree that 'compliance', i.e. your ability to stick to what you've said you'll do, is highest amongst morning gym bunnies than those who plan on popping to the gym after work. This is partly because you don't have time to talk yourself out of it, and partly for the simple reason that last-minute social plans are unlikely to pop up at 7am on a Tuesday morning. That would be one weird party.

4. Pick regular days. The more complicated you make your workout schedule, the more tempting it is to skip sessions, kidding yourself you'll make it up the next day. It's a human paradox: we stick more to rigid rules than we do to flexible ones. Be your own Christian Grey!

5. Plan a regular post-workout treat. Regulars at Barry's Bootcamp are obsessed with the protein smoothies sold at every Barry's studio; if the gym won't get them out of bed, perhaps the thought of a post-workout chocolate peanut butter whey protein smoothie will do the trick. Just make sure your post-gym-treat is a healthy one, not something that will make you feel you're undoing all your good work.

1940s Women in Gym