I was talking with my wife about topic ideas and she suggested I go over how to get yourself back into the gym after a long break (or get into the gym for possibly the first time ever.) Getting into the gym when you feel like you’re “out of shape” can be hard. The fear you feel is the biggest stumbling block towards getting you through the door.
And the fear could be anything – fear of looking silly, fear of being sore, fear of what others will think. The list could go on and on. But you can’t let fear stop you from accomplishing your hopes and dreams. This is true for everything in life, not just getting into the gym.
Don’t worry about looking silly. I look silly when I step out of my comfort zone. I still look silly trying to kick above my waist in kickboxing when I’ve been going for almost two years. But it’s fun and I enjoy it. And you’ll enjoy going to once you get into it.
Just know you’ll be sore for about six weeks when you first get started. Your body won’t be used to moving about. But that’s ok. Even after the first six weeks you may be sore after a more “intense” workout, but the initial soreness will subside after about six weeks.
And don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. You’re doing you. I’ve seen articles written where they tell you not to grunt while lifting. You do you. If you’re lifting weights and you need to grunt then go right ahead and grunt. The number of reps you can do don’t matter, the amount of time it takes you to do those reps doesn’t matter. Just do you.
If you need help with a certain exercise or just help with getting started doing exercises then look into hiring a personal trainer. Most gyms will offer a free consultation with a trainer to show you some things and determine your current fitness level so they can work with you on putting together a program that will help you meet your goals.
Now let’s get to the actual tips to get you out of the fear zone and into the gym zone.
Go fitness clothes shopping
If you haven’t worked out in awhile you probably don’t have any fitness clothes. You’re going to need them for the gym. If you’re comfortable shopping online you can get a pair of men’s fitness pants or women’s fitness pants for about $10. If you’re like me and don’t like buying clothes online you can head over to your local Ross, Target, or Fred Meyer (Whatever you need you’ll find it at Fred Meyer.)
Purchasing clothes will create an additional motivation in your brain as you’ve now attached finances to the goal. Things that are free are a lot easier to say no to than something that cost you money so once you’ve purchased some clothes you’re partially committed.
Read gym reviews online
Pick a type of fitness you’re interested in (general, yoga, barre, crossfit, kickboxing, etc, etc) and start reading reviews of gyms online to find one you would like to go to. Read the reviews objectively. If someone leaves a bad review about a gym why did they leave the bad review? Did they not like the towel service? Were the machines bad? Were they upset about the hours? Was the gym really crowded when everyone got off work? Before work?
Try to align the reviews with your goals. If someone says the gym you’re interested in is crowded at 6pm but you plan on going at 7am then does the review really apply to you and what you’ll be doing? Look at the location as well. Is it near your home or work? Is it inbetween your home and work? Location can help you when you’re getting started as you won’t be going out of your way to get there.
Check places like Groupon for deals
A lot of gyms will run specials for first time members. Maybe its a 6 week pass to try out the place. Or maybe you get a few visits for half off. This will give you a feel for the place before you sign a contract and commit yourself long term. Think of it like car buying. You want to like the vibe and the feel of the place you’ll be going to.
Sign the contract
Once you’ve tried out the place on a day pass or with your trial membership it’s time to either sign the contract or go try somewhere else if things didn’t feel right. Once you’re all signed up enjoy your new fitness life.
What if I don’t know what I’m interested in fitness wise?
Try out some different gyms or clubs. Maybe a “gym” isn’t your thing so try a dance class, or a yoga class, or a [insert something other than gym] class. The goal is to find something you enjoy doing that will get you moving about and feeling healthy. Do what makes you happy. And if and when it no longer makes you happy find something else that’ll make you happy. Like I said before, you do you. Don’t let the fear of what others think of you stop you from a healthier life.