You are now beyond the contemplation stage of your debate on whether you should start your health and fitness journey. You are ready to take on the challenge and change your life for the better. So you head to the gym for the first time and do a few laps around the facility. You feel nervous, uneasy, lost, and you have no idea where and how to start. You are as confused as a hamster doing Calculus.
Fear not; this ‘fear’ of the gym is quite a common feeling for individuals brand new to exercise. Try not to let this discourage you and derail your goals of improving your health and fitness. If you know how important it is for you to start exercising but the gym is giving you intimidating vibes, try a few of these tips:
1. Hire a Personal Trainer:
This is an ideal starting point for your fitness journey. Hiring a professional with whom you can comfortably share all your fitness goals, explain why you are seeking his or her advice, and listen how you can achieve your highest desires is the most effective way to kick-start your workouts. By instilling confidence in a personal trainer, you will feel much more relaxed and your outlook of your fitness trek will look much more positive and realistic. A significant role of being a personal trainer is to listen. If you feel uncomfortable, unmotivated, and shy because of the atmosphere of the gym, disclose this with your trainer and he/she will help you combat your feelings of disconnection. Take comfort in being able to describe your vulnerabilities to a professional.
In addition to the somewhat foreign environment that is characteristic of a gym to new exercisers, understand – although it has countless benefits – that exercise is inherently dangerous, especially when performing loaded compound movements. A personal trainer will educate you on not only which exercises to perform, but how to perform them with proper execution, optimal movement, and in the safest manner possible. As a result, your goals will be reached in significantly less time than if you performed your workouts on your own.
2. Please Do NOT Compare Yourself to Others:
A common scene, especially in commercial gyms, is a bunch of Creatine-filled men with mirror muscles the size of Mount Everest. And you will most certainly see the young lady lunging with 50-pound dumbbells in her hands with glutes as strong as steel.
For you to stay on track, it is important for you to understand the following:
- Not everyone has the same goals as you do. The gentleman performing biceps curls next to you might have massive muscles because he is a bodybuilder; the lady with the incredibly high vertical leaps could be training for beach volleyball; the noisy gentleman deadlifting 1000lbs could very well be training for a power-lifting competition. Concentrate on your goals; not anybody else’s. Keep your eye on your prize and you will reach your goals in no time – under your terms.
- Although nothing replaces hard work, dedication, and devotion when it comes to sculpting your body, understand that everyone’s body responds differently to exercise. You could very well be just as strong as the individual who is lunging 40-pound dumbbells next to you, but note that this person may have genetics on his side. In the fitness industry, the last thing you want to do is blame genetics for how you look. However, it is reasonable to suggest that some people with exceptional muscularity are the benefit of some powerful genes. Again, this is not an excuse; just realize that some people might simply have the DNA in them to look more athletic or muscular than others.
- It can be easy to become discouraged when you are not where you want to be with your fitness and you are surrounded by incredibly fit people with dream bodies. However, note that they, too, had to start somewhere and probably had similar issues to you when they first started in the gym. It took them strong willpower, dedication, patience, and determination to get where they are now. They also most likely suffered some setbacks, possibly due to injuries, life commitments, and other distractions. This very journey on which you are embarking is parallel to that of the people you might be emulating in the gym. So, although you should not compare yourself to others, a fit person’s positive attitude and unwavering desire to succeed in his workout routine can be contagious. Breathe in this winning energy and let it propel you towards your fitness desires.
3. Success in the Gym is a Long-Term Goal:
If you are badly out of shape now, understand that this did not happen in a matter of days – even if you were never a fitness stud in your younger years. Through the years, mainly due to lifestyle, the body has developed bad habits which have hindered your movement, zapped your muscles away, and allowed fat to accumulate. You will not lose this fat in just a few days, or even in a few weeks for that matter. Understand that achieving fitness goals is a process; a journey. Losing fat gradually is not only much safer on the body but it also makes it easier for you to keep the weight off in the long-term since you will then be living the proper lifestyle.
4. Bring a Workout Buddy (ies):
If you have a friend who shares similar fitness goals to you, try bringing him or her along with you to your workouts. Buddy training is an effective style of training because each person can hold the other accountable which helps maintain consistency and motivation through their respective journeys. Training with a buddy can enhance the enjoyment of the workout as the two of you feed off one another’s energy and emotion. Once progress is made in your programs, the camaraderie really comes alive!
A first-time visit to a gym or studio can be a challenging experience, but it should not be an intimidating one. Try putting the above tips and thoughts into practice and you will be pleasantly surprised at how fun and inspiring changing your lifestyle for the better can be!