I got to the gym a little early last night and saw someone signing up for their very first class at the gym. How awesome! As I watched her get a tour of the gym, the equipment and some of the exercises, it made me think back to when I first started lifting weights and how completely scary and overwhelming it can be. So, I wanted to use today’s blog to focus on all the gym newbies and give you guys a few tips/insights:
Yes, It’s Intimidating: Let’s just get this out of the way right now – gyms can be incredibly intimidating places. Seriously. I know the questions going through your mind (mostly because I had the same ones.) Questions like – What is that big piece of equipment in the corner and how in the heck do you use it? Am I supposed to actually pick up those 45lb dumbbells? Do I have to grunt when I deadlift? And just what is a deadlift? It’s okay, just relax. Everyone starts where you are – absolutely clueless. It’s okay to be nervous, we’ve all been there. And, I’ll tell you this, that “gymtimidation” will fade quickly. It doesn’t take long before you’re tossing around the gym lingo like “Drop Sets,” “Trap Gaps” and “DOMs” (yeah, go ahead and Google DOMs — you’ll be experiencing that one quickly.)
Check out THIS Gymtimidation clip from Planet Fitness. Feels pretty accurate on your first day at the gym.
No, You’re Not Disturbing The Other People’s Workout: A lot of newbies worry (like I did) that they’re disturbing other people’s workouts. I worried that if I didn’t lift as much as them or hold my yoga pose as long or do as many burpees as them, that I was taking away from their workout. Ummm, no. The wonderful thing about workout classes and gyms is that everyone can go at their own pace with their own weight. The workout veteran beside you may do 10 burpees to your one. You may take three water breaks before they finish their first set – but that’s okay. I guarantee you it won’t affect their workout at all. Go at your own pace. You’re both going to get a great workout.
No One Is Watching You: Contrary to how it feels – no one is watching you. Seriously. Everyone in the gym is focused on doing their own thing (and trying not to puke.) So, just focus on yourself and do what you can do. I promise no one will have any idea how many push-ups you did.
Ask Questions: You’re not going to know how to do every exercise. The trainer is going to look at you and explain an exercise and you’re still not going to understand how to do it. It’s okay. Just ask your trainer to explain it again. Or ask someone around you for help. You’ll find out that most people in the gym are actually nice and incredibly helpful. Listen, they have ALL been in your shoes at one point and time. They’ve all been gym newbies and had no idea what they were doing. So, ask for help and I bet you’ll get it, along with a smile (or fist bump from the boys.)
It’s Okay To Take Breaks: Now, don’t get me wrong here. You should definitely push yourself in your workouts. Don’t stop when it gets a little tough or you get a little out of breath. But, you should stop when you hit your limit. If you’re asked to do 15 reps and you can only do 8, that’s fine. Stop and take a break. You know your body and what you can do. Push yourself, but know that when your body tells you it’s time to stop – stop. Just take a quick breather then get back at it.
Keep Coming Back: Guys, results don’t happen overnight – regardless of how much as we want them to. Be patient. Keep going to the gym. Sometimes the hardest part is just walking through the gym doors. But, if you keep doing it, keep working, and stay consistent, you’ll see results. I promise. You’re not going to have six pack abs and killer legs after a week, month or even three months. But you will see progress. Workouts are little, bitty baby steps that keep moving you toward your goal. Stay the course guys, the results will come.
It Doesn’t Matter If You’re Not In Great Shape: This is the most ridiculous train of thought, but it’s a common one. People think that because they’re not in great shape, that they don’t fit in and shouldn’t be at the gym. Guys, that’s the reason you SHOULD be at the gym. Everyone starts somewhere. You go to the gym and work your program. From the wise words of a toddler, “worry about yourself.”
So, to all the gym newbies – Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step to improving your health and body. Yes, it can be scary. Yes, it’s going to be hard. But, if you stick with it, you’ll see results.