It’s the beginning of 2018 and I know everyone has a fitness goal in their new year resolution. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, which basically breaks down into 30 mins/5 times per week or 75 min/2 times per week. While it seems like this can be done at home, it’s so easy to be distracted and before you know it you only went to the gym once this week. You may be hesitant to join a gym/fitness studio because of costs or time consumption, but I think it’s the best way to maintain consistency.
Choosing a Gym
You want to choose a gym that matches your fitness goals and lifestyle:
· If you want to lift:
o Do they have multiple machines? Enough space between all the benches?
o Are all the machines brand new or falling apart?
· If you want to take classes:
o Does the gym offer a variety of classes? Is the price of membership reasonable with classes compared to without classes?
· If you live in a city:
o How many other gyms can you use that may be closer to home/work?
· What are your work hours?
o Do you have to be at work very early or leave extremely late? Will a gym open from 5 am – 10 pm suffice or do you need one open 24 hours?
Before you spend money on an annual membership, go to the gyms you’re considering, tell them you’re interested and ask for a free trial that day! Trust me they’ll let you work out for free. Test out the gym the same time you would normally go and takes notes about the staff, the culture, and the crowds until you find the best fit.
On Your First Day
· Come with a plan
o Keep it light, you want your body to get used to movement and low weight activity
o Start with 10-15 min of cardio (treadmill, bike, elliptical) and dynamic stretching, followed by 4-5 exercises using low weight or body weight, followed by a cool down/passive stretching.
o Dynamic stetting aka stretching while moving (i.e walking and kicking your leg as high as possible) is more effective than passive stretching aka sitting/standing and applying force (i.e sitting in a straddle and grabbing your toes.)
o Don’t forget to roll out with a foam roller at the end! (Look out for different ways to roll out in my next blog post!)
· Use multiple resources to develop a workout
o There are tons of places you can get ideas for a workout! Apps like Nike +Training club and Fitstar Personal Trainer have great exercises for each body part.
o You can also follow trainers on social media for daily inspiration.
· Don’t be intimidated
o We’ve all been that person who discreetly walks by a machine to figure out what it does and how to use it. (So does my head go there or there? How do I move this up? Too much weight! Too much weight!!) Don’t be afraid to ask the staff for help with a machine.
o Don’t be intimated by the frequent gym goers and their familiarity with the gym. Just because they’re in their element doesn’t mean you should be intimated or embarrassed about embracing your new environment.
· Wear something that makes you feel good
o You’re at the gym to lead a healthier lifestyle. Show off those muscles! Pull out your best gym clothes and feel confident with your new lifestyle choices.
· Set a goal you can actually maintain
o If you try to go from 0 days a week to 5 days a week in the gym you’re already setting yourself up for failure. Baby steps are key. Start with 2 days a week and once you’ve done that for a month consistently increase the number of days. The goal is to get into the habit for several months and eventually years.
· Pick a trainer’s brain
o Many gyms offer a 30 min session with a person trainer when you join. Ask the staff which trainer is best for your goals and try to watch them interact with their clients. (Do they look like they have proper form? Are they pushing their clients as hard as you want to be pushed?) If it’s not possible to work with them multiple times, have them go over standard exercises you can do alone and make sure you’re doing them correctly.
· Keep your gym clothes in the car or bring them to work with you
"I’m just going to go home, change, then go to the gym."
Yea right!! (This literally happened to me yesterday and had I not brought my clothes to work, I would have went home and stayed on the couch watching the new episode of This Is Us.) At the very least if you carry your gym clothes around with you all day, you’ll feel obligated to use them.
Starting a new routine can be difficult but don’t give up on those New Years resolutions!
You got this!