New year, new you!
So, is health and fitness one of your new year resolutions? Are you trying to get back into going to the gym? Why is it always such a struggle to get back to the gym after not going for however many months… or years?
I started my fitness journey a few months ago, before the new year, so I’m slightly ahead of the curve. Because I’ve already started my fitness journey, here are a few thoughts that I have on going back to the gym and a few tips I’ve learned that I think could be helpful for anyone starting on their fitness journey.
But before I delve into tips for beginners, I have something to say for the gym rats out there:
It’s the new year, so that means that the gym is going to be full of newcomers who take too long at the machines, don’t put the weights away properly and just generally don’t know what they’re doing. BE KIND. You were once a beginner. Put yourself in their shoes and help them if you see anyone struggling. You never know, you could find a new gym buddy.
Now, back to tips and thoughts on going to the gym…
You deserve to be there. Everyone was once a beginner. No one is judging you.
One thing that I had to constantly tell myself when I first got back to the gym was: I deserve to be there. I deserve to use the fancy machines, take my time with figuring out what works best for me, and generally exist at the gym. Just because you’re not lifting heavy or putting in hours at the gym doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to be there. Everyone is there to better themselves and their health + fitness. Everyone had to start somewhere – at the beginning. No one is judging you for lifting smaller weights than them. If anything, they’re probably impressed and proud that you’re there. OR, they’re probably not even noticing you because they’re so self-absorbed with their own workouts. I don’t say that in a cruel way, I just mean that they’re probably thinking the exact same thing as you and/or are concerned with their own workout. Everyone is their for their own reasons, and it’s no one else’s business to be concerned about you.
Wear clothes that make you feel good.
This seriously works. If you feel good, you look good and vice versa. Whether that’s sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt, leggings and a workout shirt, or Spanx shorts and a sports bra. Everyone has different comfort levels and when you’re already out of your comfort zone, you want to make sure that you don’t want to worry about what you’re wearing.
Bonus tip: Get into your workout clothes as soon as you think about it. If you go to the gym in the morning, put your workout clothes first thing when you wake up; if you go after work or school, change as soon as you get home. That way you aren’t tempted to stay in your jammies and be lazy. This tip personally helps me a lot.
Find what works for you.
Not everyone has the same taste or enjoyment with their workouts. Some people love cardio, some love weights and others love taking classes. Take a few different types of classes to see what you like best. If you hate cardio, maybe try taking a Zumba or STEP class (I hate cardio so I love doing Zumba instead!). Or, start simple and go on a walk or hike outside instead of the dreaded treadmill. If you don’t know a lot about weights, maybe try a weightlifting or BodyPump class to learn some moves from the instructor. You might not enjoy the class, but at least you’ll learn something new that you can use at the gym. Everyone prefers something different and if you want to continue on your fitness journey, you need to find something that you love or else you’ll likely stop going to the gym.
By this, I mean lifting lighter and doing more simple moves. It may feel embarrassing to use a 2, 3, or 5lbs dumbbell, but you’ll eventually be able to lift heavier and heavier. Each week or two, increase your weights by a few pounds. Soon enough you’ll be using 20+lbs dumbbells. Trust me, you don’t want to start heavy and injure yourself.
Also, please don’t take more than 5 minutes at a machine. That’s probably the number 1 most annoying thing for gym-goers, new or veterans alike. Go, get your workout, and move on. It sucks to have to wait around for that one person whose been on the machine you need for 10 minutes.
Drink water throughout the day for recovery and don’t eat too much before a workout.
This one may seem obvious, but it’s true. Drinking water throughout the day helps your body recovery. They say that you should drink around 8 glasses of water, but I just try to drink as much as I can.
Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. Obviously eat healthy if you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle or better your fitness in general. My tip is to not eat too much before a workout. I think that it’s important to make sure that you’re not starved and eat a light snack, otherwise you won’t be able to be strong and maintain cardio, but definitely don’t eat a full meal because you’ll probably feel sick while you’re working out.
Don’t. Give. Up.
This may seem like another no-brainer but it’s true. It’s so easy to give up because working out is hard and time consuming and something that you have to strive to do. That’s why the gym is always scarce by, like, August or September. To make working out more sustainable, here are a few things that I hope work for you:
- Start out with a simple workout schedule. Go 3-4 times a week, instead of a full 6-7 because it might burn you out. Eventually you can bump it up to that level, but don’t expect to go every day or else you’ll feel discouraged if you miss a day.
- Don’t feel bad if you miss a day. It’s okay to miss your workout if you have something important happening. Maybe do something like going for a walk or do some yoga at home instead. Or, don’t do that but make sure that you’re at the gym the very next day.
- Find a gym buddy. They can help keep you accountable and you’ll feel bad if you have to cancel plans with someone else.
- Go to fitness classes. Going to classes helps me a lot because I don’t have to plan my workout. The last thing I want to do after working for 9 hours is plan a workout, so I find it simple to go to class and get my 60 minute workout in for the day. Also, I find comradery with the people I see a few times a week in class – it’s like a bond that only you have with your classmates.
And that’s it! Those are a few of my thoughts on going back to the gym and tips for newcomers. Thank you for reading, and good luck with your fitness journey!
Thank you for reading! Do you think that these tips will help you? Or, do you have anything else do add? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!