3 Tips for Getting Back to the Gym
It’s the first Monday in January, a great day to get reacquainted with the gym. If you’re a fitness rock star you ate broccoli for Christmas dinner and did burpees as the ball dropped in Times Square. The rest of us have to kind of ease back into things.
That first day back to the gym is always a humbling experience. Even the pink weights seem heavy on day 1. But you know what? Who cares? You’re back at the gym and working on building a healthier you. Here are some tips make that transition back into the fitness lifestyle a little easier.
3 Tips For Getting Back to the Gym
- Gymtimidation. The struggle is real. Planet Fitness is making a killing exploiting the fears of out-of-shape people feeling like they should join a gym but don’t really want to exercise. (Seriously, that’s what their CEO said in an interview: Gymtimidation.)
When I was overweight I kind of hid in the back row of elliptical machines and watched the fit people, thinking they must be mean girls. They weren’t. It’s hype. Most of the fit women I’ve met are a) really nice, b) formerly overweight, c) would beat anyone up if they picked on a newbie working out at the gym for the first time. Take a deep breath and focus on your fitness journey. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
- Start Slow. There’s no point in trying to lift heavy or run 8 miles if you haven’t been active in a long time. That’s just asking for an injury. If it’s been years since you trained, go really light with the weights and ease into cardio, especially the first week.
Let your body get used to movement before you push it too hard. Get your form right before you make your workouts more strenuous. If you are mostly fit but took an extended holiday from the gym, go medium light. For example, if you lifted 20 lb. dumbbells before the holidays, start back at 12 lbs. for the first day and build from there. Yes, you probably lost some muscle mass during the downtime but the good news is you also have muscle memory. You will be feeling stronger again in about two weeks of consistent strength training.
- Come prepared. What is a good Girl Scout?
Someone who sells lots of delicious cookies.No, she’s prepared. Prepare yourself for success by eating a small meal before you start working out so you don’t pass out on the treadmill. In your gym bag bring a water bottle, lifting gloves if you want to protect your hands, a small towel if you sweat, and some good music to keep you motivated. Dress in appropriate workout clothes. There is a guy at my gym who randomly shows up in jeans and flip flops and rides a stationary bike. I can’t watch him for too long because I’m afraid he’s going to hurt his toes. Don’t be flip flop guy. Wear sneakers and clothes that you can move in comfortably and safely. Dri-fit clothes are good because they wic away the sweat from your body so it doesn’t irritate your skin. You might want to invest in a few cute T-shirts or pants that make you feel good, versus a ratty old t-shirt that makes you feel frumpy. Personally, I lift better when I’m feeling cute.
This is the month to reclaim your health. If you prepare yourself and build up slowly, the gym need never be an intimidating place.
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two.
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