Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Survival Guide For The Gym In January!: Newbies


I am going to write a 3 part series over the next few days about this topic and it will be for EVERYONE! Today's post is for those that are new to the gym.

The new year is the #1 time of the year for gyms to maximize on their membership rates. So many people start out the new year with a new membership because they want to get into shape. They are tired of living the way they are and want to change for the better.

Is this you? Did you get a gym membership for Christmas???

YOU DID! WAY TO GO! So happy for you and welcome to the world of the gym. I am so proud of you to commit to yourself, and to your family. You are amazing. I know this wasn't easy and I know it was a little scary too! Going to a gym is very intimidating. There are so many fit people there to begin with and you might feel like you just don't quite fit in. There is learning the equipment, what exercises to do, how to fit in and just getting used to adding a new thing into your daily life.

Just know that you are not alone. Everyone new to the gym feels this way. We were all new at one point. My biggest fear about the gym when I went was because everyone was so thin and fit and I was not. I was overweight. What would they think of me?

Honestly, they probably don't even notice you or if they do, they are super proud of you for what you are doing and know that it is hard. No one should ever make you feel less because you joined a gym to take care of you!

The first few months of my gym I wore baggy cotton shirts and cotton shorts to work out in to hide my belly and fat. But I sweat like a Beast because I wasn't wearing the right clothing. I then felt self conscience of how much I was sweating. I felt weak in front of everyone because I was struggling to do squats and even just lift the bar for the bench press. I could barely walk on the treadmill before I was out of breath. I could hardly do the elliptical for 10 minutes without dying! But I kept going. I finally decided that I needed to be comfortable at the gym. I ditched my baggy shirts and cotton shorts. Got tank tops and fitted exercise pants. If the guys at the gym wanted to look well, that was their choice I was doing this for me. I wore no makeup and frankly I wasn't going to the gym to pick up guys. After a few months of dedication those same guys I was nervous of looking at me, judging me because I was fat, started commenting on how much stronger I was getting. And how much slimmer I was. I was losing inches and I WAS stronger. When I maxed out the weights on the leg press machine, not the one where you add barbells but the actual machine, the men were impressed! I was a force not to be messed with.

I had joined their ranks, but honestly I joined their ranks long ago. The day I decided to join a gym. I was a gym rat!
 Here are a few things to know to help you out:

~Don't worry about what other people are thinking of you. It doesn't matter. Honestly. I know at some point you will see someone and be like, to look like that. Well, to look like that, takes hard work and dedication. I frankly admire the women who lift weights. I want arms like some of those women someday.

~Right now know that the gym will be busy when you go. Because when you go, probably mid morning, is when everyone else will want to go. So to avoid the morning rush go a little later in the morning. Also the afternoons are just as crazy if not more so. Times to avoid might be 9:30-11am and 4:30-6. But your gym might be different. You can ask your gym when their busier times are and they will tell you!
~Limit your time on the cardio equipment to 30 min unless the gym is not that busy. In my current gym there are 3 different sections of cardio. I have a specific type of treadmill that I prefer to run on. My rule of thumb is if there are at least 2 machines open around me than I can go beyond 30 min. If not then I know that my workout could get cut short. Once that second machine fills up. I have to get off. There could be someone out there that prefers the same type of machine I do.

~Please use a towel when siting down at machines. Or at least wipe the seat down after you use the machine. You don't like sweating and nobody else wants to sit on your sweat. EWWW! And wipe down your cardio machine too. Wherever you touch just wipe it down.

~Take a little time for you after you workout. I have the kids in the kids zone and they can be in there 2.5 hours a day. I don't do 2.5 hours of working out. I do an hour to hour and half at most. Then I just lounge for a little while longer. Read a book, browse the internet. Use the changing rooms and get ready for the day, take a shower. Take time for you to relax.

~Don't take every class in your first week. Spread out the love of classes because if you do too much too soon you are going to hurt. You won't make it back to the gym tomorrow because you are sore, and then something else comes up and before you know it you haven't been to the gym in awhile. Don't fall into this trap of go to the gym and stop before you start. Take it easy. Go walking on the treadmill and watch a class going on or go to the class but at the back of the room and take it easy. Limit yourself to 1-2 classes a week at first. Know that if you take spin that your butt and other areas will be sore for at least 3 classes, you take! Go slow and over time you will be able to do more. It's ok to only do a little at a time!
~There are trainers there to help you. More than likely when you signed up you got a free 1-2 sessions with a trainer. They can take you around the equipment and show you how to use it, because they don't want you to get hurt anymore than you want to get hurt. DO THIS! It is a must! Have someone show you the ropes.

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