Freeze Your New Gym Membership in January

5 Exercises To Do Now Instead

Freeze the gym

Are you thinking about signing up for a gym membership in 2017 as part of your New Year’s Resolution? That’s great! But guess what? So are about a hundred million other people. You are going to get there and be so overwhelmed you won’t know which way to turn – except toward the exit. Don’t get me wrong, January 1 is a great time to sign up for a gym – you’ll get the best deal, for sure. But, it’s also the worst time to actually exercise at the gym. You’ll find yourself standing in line for 20 minutes just to get on a treadmill. So take my advice – sign up for the New Year’s Special, but then freeze your gym membership until February.

That’s right – most gyms will allow you to freeze your membership for a designated amount of time. Once January comes to an end, about 50% of the new members will stop going regularly. That means that you will have room to breathe – and, more importantly, room to work out!

“But wait!” you ask. “I’m motivated to start working out now, I want to get started!”

I’m so glad. Because now is the perfect time to get started – even before you touch a machine or weight.

You need to get your body prepared for battle. Most people start working out without preparing first and one of two things tends to happen. They either get so fatigued and sore that they give up, or worse, they get injured.

Don’t let either of these scenarios happen to you. Here’s what you can do instead…

Prepare For Battle

When you work out, have you ever stopped to think about what you are doing to your body?

You know all about burning calories and losing weight, which is a big part of it. But do you know what happens to your muscles? When you work out, in essence, you are breaking down muscle tissue. You are relentlessly pounding your muscles over and over, to the point that they are damaged. The repairing and re-building happens over the course of the following few days with adequate rest and replenishment.

Every workout you do, your muscles are being put through the ringer. They are going through battle.

No captain would ever send their soldiers into battle unprepared. Likewise, I won’t send you to the gym unprepared.

Here are 3 things you should do now before you get moving:

  1. See your doctor: I know, you’ve heard it before. I know, you went last year. But, seriously – go. Do it now so you don’t HAVE TO do it later. Make sure you are healthy and ready for exercise.
  2. See your Physical Therapist: yes, you can see a PT without a physician’s referral in most states. Even if you aren’t having pain, a Physical Therapist can do a functional movement exam to identify any areas that are weak or lack mobility – areas in your body that should be addressed before starting an exercise regimen. The PT can also give you specific exercises for you to focus on.
  3. Get your nutrition on point: I’m not going to go into specifics here, mainly because there are a million different opinions on the topic. I’m just going to hi-lite what you already know.
    • Stop eating junk
    • Start eating healthy.

Consume a well-balanced diet. Don’t cut out carbs or protein or fat altogether. You need all these nutrients for energy and replenishment. Eat mostly whole-foods. Limit processed foods and fast food. In my opinion, it doesn’t have to be rocket science and you don’t have to torture yourself – just make good decisions. What you put into your body will help you yield the results you want to achieve.

5 Exercises to Start Doing Today

To prepare your body for new machines, cables, free weights, kettlebells, BOSU balls, TRX bands, and Zumba classes at the gym, I think it would be wise to strengthen some key areas first.

  1. Walk/Jog: Get your heart in shape. Get your legs in shape. Get used to moving your body. Go for a few long walks. Try mixing in a few minutes of light jogging. As you do this more and more, you can increase the amount of jogging to walking ratio.
  2. Squats: These strengthen your entire legs – glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. An added benefit is that they are very functional. You do some form of squatting hundreds of times per day without even realizing it – every time you sit in a chair or pick something up. Therefore, it’s a good idea to learn how to squat properly.
    • Stand with feet hip-width apart.
    • Bend your knees
    • Keep your back straight as you lean your chest forward by hinging at the hips
    • Your hips should go behind you like you are going to sit back in a chair
    • Your knees should stay behind your toes
    • Your heels should stay on the ground
    • Inhale as you come down as far as you can while maintaining good form
    • Exhale on your way up, drive the hips forward and squeeze the glutes
    • Try 10 of these slowly. As that gets easy, try 15, then 20. Rest 30 seconds and do another set. Work your way up from doing 2 sets to 3, then 4 every other day
  3. Pushups: These strengthen your chest, shoulders, and Triceps.
    • Start on your knees
    • Keep your low back straight, don’t stick your bottom up in the air
    • Hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
    • Inhale as you bend the elbows back and slightly away from your body as you lower your chest toward the floor
    • Exhale as you push back up
    • Try 10 of these slowly. As that gets easy, try 15, then 20. Rest 30 seconds and do another set. Work your way up from doing 2 sets to 3, then 4 every other day
    • If you can do 20 reps easily on your knees, go on your toes
  4. Planks: These strengthen your core. They force you to utilize all layers of your abdominals to stabilize your body for a length of time. To me, this type of bracing exercise for the core is more beneficial than traditional sit-ups or crunches. You will feel the effects just as much but you are working the abdominals much more functionally. These muscles give support to your low back and help prevent it from getting injured.
    • Similar to the starting pushup position, start on your knees
    • Keep the back straight, don’t let your low back dip down
    • Rest your forearms on the ground with palms down, elbows just under the shoulders
    • Keep your head looking down
    • Hold this position as long as you can while maintaining good form
    • Remember to breathe in and out slowly
    • Set a timer on your phone and set goals starting at 30 seconds, then 45, then 60. Rest 30 seconds and repeat another set. Work your way up from 2 to 3, then 4 sets every other day
    • If you can do a minute easily on your knees, move up to your toes
  5. Wall Angels: These strengthen your upper back muscles as well as your shoulders. They force you to utilize the muscles around your scapulae (shoulder blades) that help rotate your arms up and down. Weakness here is common and often leads to shoulder injury.
    • Stand with your back against a wall
    • Step your feet out about 18 inches from the wall and slightly bend the knees
    • Brace your abdominals to try to flatten your low back against the wall and keep it there
    • Put the backs of your hands and elbows against the wall over your head with the elbows out at your sides at 90 degrees
    • Slowly exhale as you slide your arms up the wall as high as you can
    • Inhale as you lower them back down
    • Do as many reps as you can while maintaining proper form
    • Try 10 of these slowly. As that gets easy, try 15, then 20. Rest 30 seconds and do another set. Work your way up from doing 2 sets to 3, then 4 every other day

Combine these exercises to get a well-rounded workout to get you started.

Freeze Your Gym Membership

Do yourself a favor and skip the craziness of January at the gym. Sign up, get the deal, and freeze your membership until February. Take a month to work on these action steps. Don’t neglect the importance of preparation. You will thank yourself for putting in some thought and planning into the rest of 2017. 12 months is a long time. Pace yourself, start slow, and do things the smart way to avoid burnout and injury.

This post is the first in a series of posts about getting started the right way at the gym. Be sure to subscribe to so you don’t miss the rest of the series.

Question: What 1 action step can you take TODAY to prepare you for your goal of better health in 2017? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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