In a perfect world, each of us has the means and opportunity to select THE perfect gym from several options. More likely, though, geography or price narrows the pool—the one geographically convenient is too expensive, or the one right priced is farther away than anticipated—leaving us in a quandary: wanting to join a gym yet knowing there are drawbacks to the one we can join.

Knowing upfront the poor fit could squeeze your motivation like wearing tight pants requires considering the alternatives or launching a proactive attack to neutralize the anticipated barriers. Either can provide resolution and most important protect your habit. Decide which strategy makes the most sense for you.

First, consider the alternatives to joining. You can create a home gym, and/or hire a trainer to come to your house. Outfitting a home gym can be costly at first then more so depending upon the equipment or media you add but once placed the pieces are set for reps and sets. Home gyms are appealing for their convenience but beware of how exercising at home can challenge your motivation. At the same time a home environment can distract you from your routine (e.g., phone, computer, etc.), it also offers little distraction when you are exercising (e.g., no fellow exercisers to talk to, etc.). (Please see a previous post on the benefits and drawbacks of home exercising for more detail).

If the challenges seem insignificant, investing in a home gym could be your solution to less-than-optimal gym membership options. If not, launch a proactive attack to neutralize the anticipated barriers. Use the following suggestions to get out in front of the situation.

–Hire a trainer if you are at all inclined to, but meticulously hire THE right one. A trainer’s expertise can ensure the most benefit from the gym’s offering. Make sure the trainer consistently engages in professional development to grow their capacity to optimize the provided equipment. Good trainers use equipment in a variety of ways to best serve their clients. Their expertise can also inspire you to make a schedule adjustment if that is called for. You WILL get up a ½ hour earlier if you know it’s worth it. You WONT get up earlier if it’s only for a marginal effect.

–Pay for a locker, stock it with clothes, towels and water, and pick one day a week to refresh the contents. This is especially useful if the gym is further away than is optimal. Knowing you have what you need there can prevent an unexpected delay at work, etc. from becoming a missed workout. Delays nearly always trigger a domino effect. Having a stocked locker prevents a delay from squeezing your gym time by first having to stop at home to get what you need.

–(If possible) arrange your work schedule so what you do either first or last is of your control. This way, if you go to the gym before work and get caught in traffic on the way, etc. you can get your workout in knowing arriving to work later than usual is only going to impact you. If you go after work you know that you can leave as scheduled and not get delayed waiting for a meeting to end, etc.

–(If possible) establish a regular schedule for getting gas after you have left the gym for home. Needing to stop while on your way to the gym can be that one extra thing that dissuades going.

–(If possible) equip your car with the highest quality hands-free phone device possible so if you need to take calls on your way to or from the gym the environment is conducive. Also, keep an extra set of ear buds in the car just in case. Make the most of your gym commute by using the time to finish work or catch up with friends or family.

–If you go to the gym after work, prepare as much of your dinner as possible before you go to work in the morning. Many of us look forward to eating but not preparing. If you know your meal is ready save the 5-minute nuke it can help you enjoy your workout without the pang of having to prepare it after dealing with your commute home.

Some suggestions may seem silly or way too obsessive-compulsive but the point is to make lemonade out of a lemon by controlling as much of the process as possible. And remember, Sam I Am grew to like green eggs and ham. Maybe you will find your less-than-optimal gym hits the spot.