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Where To Start With Going to the Gym?
The prospect of starting anything new is daunting enough. When it comes to health and fitness however, and joining a new gym, the intensity is increased even further. What you must always remember though is this, everybody had their first day at some point. There is nobody who is born a seasoned pro. The hardest thing that you’ll ever do therefore is walk through the doors for the first time, after that it should get easier.
Here we look at where to start with the gym, how people make mistakes and how best to avoid making those same mistakes yourself. So if you have decided to address the issue of health and fitness and need a little help getting started, then read on for some tips and guidance. There are many who have failed in their quest to become healthier, fitter and stronger etc. Many resolutions are broken, especially those made at New Year. But that doesn’t have to be you. It is possible that you can be one of the success stories, someone who sticks at it and moreover sees the results that they hoped for. Yes it will take effort and commitment, and there will of course be the continual temptation to give up. Hopefully however, with this guidance, you’ll make the change work. So, if you’re ready, let’s begin.
The Decision To Change
If you look at yourself and do not like what you see, or feel like you want to be fitter, stronger or more toned, then there are two options. You can either do something about it, or you can accept things as they are. You cannot leave things as they are and continue to “complain” – either start the plan for change or learn to accept yourself. Either way, you’ll be happier in the long run.
If your decision is to make a difference then that is the first important step. But be careful with your goals. Do not simply say you want to lose weight (who doesn’t) or that you’d like to be more toned. You need goals, and S.M.A.R.T ones at that.
S.M.A.R.T goals include all of the following elements. They are Specific – rather than the vague assertion that you want to lose weight, decide how much weight you want to lose – say 2lbs a week.
Goals need to be Measurable – again the 2lb per week weight loss is a great example. A set of scales can measure any loss. Scales though can be disheartening things, so if you find weighing yourself regularly a worry, make your goal about something else, such as getting into an old pair of jeans.
Attainable – if you can never attain a goal, it will ultimately defeat you, and you’ll likely quit altogether. Make your goals reachable, but once you have hit the target, move them on. They need dynamic fluidity.
Relevant – set goals that matter to you. When it comes to your health and fitness, only you matter!
Time-based – Goals that “float” along, get moved. Set a timeframe within which to attain them, and then once again move the goals forward.
So you’ve got a plan and some goals, what next?
Before you start, remember what it is that you like about yourself now. Fitness often focusses on what you do not like, and so is often perceived as negative. Instead remember your good points – you will have many, and use them as a motivation to keep going. Constantly beating yourself up with negativity is a short road to quitting altogether.
Selfies rather than scales are a great way of documenting change and body shape etc. Pictures do not lie, and seeing progress is much better than thinking there’s been some. Regular selfies will document your journey and progress.
There are many gyms, some with all of the equipment and pools etc. and some more basic. The rule is though what works for one may not work for another. You might prefer the basics, or you might demand more equipment. The best way to find the right gym is to try a few, usually on day passes, rather than immediately committing to full membership. Some gyms also offer a pay as you train option as standard. Once you’ve been in, you’ll get a feel for the place, and the people, and most of all a sense of belonging (or not). Good gyms will usually induct you, but sometimes you have to ask. Do not however be persuaded into joining if you are not ready. Most places make the real money of those that join and then never attend!
The gym though can be intimidating, especially that first time. If you’re overweight and unfit, then you’ll feel like you stand out. But the mirrors in good gyms are not to beat your morale down, they are to help you ensure that your form in all exercises is properly kept. Yes some people will use them for posing, but remember there’s people like that everywhere. Your induction will show you how to use the machines and if you try one at a time, you’ll start to feel more comfortable each and every time you revisit.
Most people hit the cardio machines first and that’s find. They are a good way of shifting excess pounds. But they can become monotonous and nobody enjoys boring training. Cardio is needed by all, but do not neglect the weights section. Building muscle mass is a great way to improve how your body works, burns calories and also appears, such as being more toned. A good programme will always involve variety.
You might think you need a personal trainer, but start small. Do not go all in at once. Exercise feels weird if you have not been doing it, and too much too soon can put you off altogether. There are of course some good trainers that can help, but there are also many bad ones. Instead, at first, perhaps reference online information and guidance and try things by yourself. If you continue to enjoy it, or if you plateau at any point in the future, then this might be the right time to seek additional help. Remember you’re already paying for the gym, so personal trainers are another add on – and that soon adds up!
If you never fail, it is probably because you have never tried. Everybody fails and at times so will you. There will be weeks when you lose no weight, or maybe gain some. You’ll want to miss some sessions, and you might even do so. But it is about establishing good habits. All habits are hard to break, the old ones be it diet or lack of exercise want to cling onto you, but you can succeed. Building new and healthier habits which are equally as hard to break is the aim, but it’s tough and there will be hiccups. The aim though is to keep going and accept the hiccups as one offs, then move on.
If you find an exercise that you enjoy then you’ll be much more likely to stick to it. Likewise if something is dull, you’ll likely quit. So try lots of things in and out of the gym, maybe martial arts or swimming. Once you have found something you love, keep going, but also keep an open mind about variation, and ensuring that your training remains fresh.
Though we have focused on training, the biggest part of change can be through a change in your diet. As an example it is easier to eat 500 calories less in a day than it is to burn 500 more in the gym. If you don’t believe this, then try it! Address your eating habits as well as your fitness, and combine the two into a whole new healthier lifestyle. This will accelerate the changes you are looking for.
Ultimately health and fitness is all about you – your goals, hopes and ideals. You have to want to do it, and for yourself too – not for others. If you have made the commitment to yourself and if you’re prepared to invest the time, effort and energy into the commitment, you’ll more likely succeed. Your motivations are great, you’ve planned everything well, and so now all you need is to get going.
Before long, it will be you watching someone walk through the doors for the first time and noticing the fear in their eyes, and then smiling knowingly to yourself as you continue your routine. Good luck.