Starting a new workout routine is hard – whether at home or at the gym. The gym can be an intimidating place for many people – a lot of equipment, a lot of people, a lot of activity. It seems you have to know what you’re doing to fit in. Maybe this is why so many of us sign up for gym memberships early in the year as part of a Resolution, but fail at keeping up with the workouts.
Has this happened to you?
It’s easy to get discouraged at the gym, isn’t it? Everyone there seems to be in really good shape and have their workouts dialed in. It often seems like some gym-goers can be downright rude at times. No one has the time or patience to allow space for a newbie.
Rather than dreading the thought of getting started at the gym, I’m here to give you some pointers to get you ready to be on top of things before you step foot in the door and start working out…
A Few Things To Think About Before Working Out
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, there are actually some steps you need to take to get your body ready for the gym a few weeks in advance. Be sure to check out last week’s post about this topic here.
Hopefully you take the time to prepare your body to be gym-ready. Once you feel it’s getting close to ready, here are a few more questions to ask yourself:
- What has been holding you back?
It’s time to get honest with yourself. What’s been holding you back from starting this a long time ago?
- Lack of time
- Lack of Motivation
- Other priorities
If you want to make exercise a part of your life, you need to cut something else out. Make time for what’s important.
2. What do you want to accomplish?
Before you even get in your car to drive to the gym, you should know what you are going to do once you get there. In fact, you should have a plan on Sunday evening for the week ahead. By laying out your workout regimen in advance, you won’t waste any time accomplishing what you came to the gym for.
So what do you want to accomplish? Maybe you want to achieve:
- Weight loss
- Strength gains
- General Health
- Freedom to do more activities
- Avoiding injuries
- All of the above?
First things first, you need to know the overarching goal of why you are there. Don’t let it out of your focus. Remind yourself of it every day.
3. What do you enjoy?
Now that you’ve got your goal(s), ask yourself what activities would you enjoy doing?
- Free weights
- Resistance Machines
- None of the above? (hint: don’t choose this answer)
If exercise is all new to you, perhaps you aren’t sure what you would enjoy. I’d suggest you talk to someone who works at the gym and see if they can give you a tour. At the minimum, a gym employee will be able to show you what equipment they have and what it is used for.
Come up with a plan
By now you should have your goal and the type of exercises you enjoy. Now all you have to do is put them together.
For example: if your goal is to lose weight and you like sports, PLAY A SPORT. Maybe the gym has a basketball or tennis court. Just doing the activity will burn calories, be fun, and help you lose weight.
Maybe you’d like to try a little bit of everything. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, my suggestion to you would be to start slow. If you have never worked out before, or if it’s been awhile, you are going to get sore with even a little bit of exercise. Soreness is good – it lets you know you had a good workout. That being said, when you are sore, your body needs rest.
You should plan out your rest days.
Rest days are equally as important as workout days. Your body needs rest to recover from the workout. This doesn’t mean you have to sit on the couch all day and not move.
Try Active Recovery. This means you can do light activity without stressing the muscles that are sore. For instance, if your upper body is sore, take a walk.
To start, Plan 1-2 days of working out followed by a rest day.
You’ve got your goal, you’ve got your plan. What’s left?
If you’re like most people, you aren’t comfortable in the gym. Once you walk in, you’re afraid of getting bombarded by sales people. You don’t put your belongings in a locker because it might get stolen. You don’t even go near the steam room out of fear of what your eyes might be subjected to, or worse – what might bump into you!
All of these are legitimate fears, and I have them, too. But these things can be avoided.
Knowing why you are there, what you need to accomplish, and having a plan takes away the fear of being unprepared.
So put your fears aside. You are now prepared for battle.
This is Part 1 of a Part 2 Series entitled: The Beginner’s Guide to Working Out. To check out Part 2 click here.
Question: What is holding you back from getting started working out at the gym? You can leave a comment by clicking here.