It’s just past the beginning of the new year, which means our commitment to those new year’s resolutions is beginning to be tested. How have you been keeping up?
Like many of us, you might be hoping to get a little more physically fit this year. Fitness and weight loss goals are the most common new year’s resolution in the UK and abroad, and yet, they can be the hardest to accomplish.
If you haven’t yet hit the gym this year, you can’t be blamed. It can be daunting. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might be afraid of looking awkward or out of place. Don’t worry, it’s a common feeling.
But we can help. Read on, and we’ll walk you through how to start going to the gym without feeling overwhelmed.
Get In The Right Mental Headspace
Gyms can be intimidating. Their full of strong, beautiful looking people who all seem like they lack any sense of the self-consciousness you’re currently feeling. Gyms are filled with confusing looking metal machines that everyone besides you seem to be using with ease.
It’s nerve-racking, sure. It’s like being back on the first day of school. But if you can’t get over this mental hump, you won’t be able to take advantage of the gym in the way you need.
Using simple machines or leaving early are surprisingly common among new gym-goers. And it has nothing to do with fitness goals: they simply feel uncomfortable being in the new environment.
The only way to get over this hump is to get through it. Steel down, don’t leave, and remind yourself of a few key truths: no one is there to judge you. Everyone there feels self-conscious in some way, and everyone started at one point as gym newbies.
Remind yourself that your fear of being judged is probably self-centered. Most people at the gym will be too focused on themselves to even notice you.
Accept your fear, make a rocking playlist that makes you feel strong and confident, and get in there.
Start Easy and Get Accustomed
If you’re just starting out at the gym, you don’t need to throw yourself headfirst into the free weights. Start slow. Get yourself accustomed to the lay of the land and the feeling of being in the gym.
The easiest place to get started? Probably the treadmill. You’re likely familiar with treadmills. It’s not new ground for you. But it will get your body moving, adrenaline pumping, and you’ll already be on your way to your fitness goals.
The hardest part can be getting started. The second you press “quick start” on that treadmill, you’ll have gotten through the hardest part.
As you get more comfortable, feel free to adjust the speed and resistance to get the best cardio workout possible. If all you accomplish on your first day or two at the gym is a run on the treadmill, that will still be a big accomplishment.
Let yourself feel good!
Getting Into Dumbbells
You’re feeling good about the treadmill. In fact, you’re the queen of the treadmill now, and that side of the gym is your personal kingdom. Great, you’re doing great.
But now it’s time to challenge yourself once again. It’s time to move out of your comfort zone and cross the room to the other side of the gym: it’s time to try out the dumbbells.
The free weight zone is usually the most intimidating place in the gym. It’s frequented by huge, muscle-y dudes and there’s less clarity about what to do. It’s okay, we’ll walk you through it.
Remind yourself that no matter your age, size, or gender, you have just as much of a right to use the free weight section as anyone else. Start out simple. Grab a 10-pound dumbbell and find an open bench somewhere in the free weight section.
Put your knee and arm on the bench, and do ten one arm dumbbell rows. Switch sides and do the circuit a few times with each arm. Then, and you have my permission to do this, put the dumbbell back and go home.
You did it! You’ve now begun your takeover of the free weight section. Congratulations to you. You can use your treadmill and brief free weight workout for as long as you need to get comfortable.
Then, as you progress in your confidence, you can begin to add more dumbbell routines into your workout.
Make Sure You Have The Right Goals
So you’re well into your fitness routine now and are feeling great. What could possibly get you discouraged at this stage?
Such discouragement is more common than you think. Most people actually quit their gym routines some three or four weeks into their new habit. Why is this?
Most of the time, it’s because of unrealistic goal-setting. A look at the scale and no change can be enough to drive someone out of the gym for good. Most fitness coaches actually recommend that you view exercise and weight loss as separate goals.
Exercise has many benefits not related to weight loss, such as renewed energy and sleep. It can take a decent amount of time in the gym before your body actually begins to experience weight loss.
This isn’t always a bad thing! Frequently, fat is transferred into muscle, so even if you’re the same weight you may be much more fit.
If it’s really important for you to lose weight, talk to a health instructor. Make sure your fitness routine is calibrated properly for your goals.
How To Start Going To The Gym
You want to get fit but it’s hard to get started. It’s a tale as old as time. With the above steps, you should now know how to start going to the gym without feeling like a nervous freak.
And once you get started, following through to your fitness goals should be no problem at all.
Need more fitness advice, tips, and tricks? Check out our blog for more.