Finally, day five of my little series on getting comfortable in the gym so that you can take your fitness to the next level. Thank you for sticking with me for so long! 🙂
Here is a brief recap of what we have talked about so far….
This article won’t be as long as previous ones because the topic is pretty self-explanatory.
HIRE A PERSONAL TRAINER
I know. I know. Not everyone is swimming in money. Neither am I.
But, a personal trainer brings two things that is hard to find elsewhere. Knowledge and Accountability.
A personal trainer is educated in all things gym from stretching, to strength training, and to cardio. She knows how to put it all together in order to help you achieve YOUR goals. She knows the science behind it all instead of the myths and rumors that like to circulate around. She is your number one cheerleader and motivator. Find one who will be those things for you.
Your trainer will also provide accountability. You are paying her to work you out. So, knowing she is waiting for you at the gym and you are PAYING her cold hard cash I would think you would be motivated to get out the door. A good trainer will also assist you in your nutrition. She will hold you accountable for what you are eating each day. A poor diet will completely derail all your efforts in the gym. Find a trainer who will make that very clear.
If you really can’t afford a personal trainer, no worries. Find a friend or make a friend who is very knowledgeable about fitness and nutrition. Make her your new best friend. Tell her you want to learn more and you need someone who will hold you accountable. She will get in your face about whether you are eating right and making all your workouts. A true friend supports your goals and helps you achieve your dreams.
Thank you for staying with me all week. I truly hope the posts this week have helped you become more comfortable with going into the gym. I would love to hear your thoughts!!! 🙂
In case you have missed them so far, here are the previous posts in this series…
Today we are going to talk about making yourself comfortable. If you feel self-conscience or uncomfortable, the transition into the gym is going to be horrible. So, make a point to make yourself comfortable before you even enter that elusive place.
The first thing you should do is wear clothes that make you comfortable. Don’t wear anything that makes you feel self-conscience. Not ready to wear those tight capris and tank top? That’s okay. Wear running shorts and a t shirt. But, please don’t settle for a frumpy sweatsuit. You also want to feel pretty and confident. You are doing something awesome! Love yourself enough to wear nice workout clothes.
Bring your favorite music. It is a proven fact that music will improve your performance in the gym or sports. So, load up your favorite tunes on your mp3 player or tune into your favorite station on Pandora. Plug in your earphones and turn off the rest of the world. Spend an hour focusing on you and your goals.
If you don’t like crowds or you are still intimidated by the gym then plan to go in during non-peak hours. I know that I prefer working out during the non-peak hours because I don’t like having to wait or fight others for those favorite pieces of equipment. It seems, from my experience, the evenings after 5 pm are going to be pretty busy with the post-work crowd. Early morning can be busy with the pre-work people. At my gym, it is very busy between 9 am and 12 pm due to classes and when the childcare room is open. If I want a very quiet gym I would go after 12 but that is extremely rare because I have to use the childcare room too. Figure out the daily rhythm of your gym and plan accordingly.
Bring a buddy. If you are really nervous consider bringing a friend with you. There is power in numbers, right? Bring a friend who wants to learn about the gym too so that you can learn together. That way you don’t feel like the only person in there who is so new. You also have someone to joke with and have fun with.
Finally, give yourself GRACE! Everyone is the newbie at some point in their fitness journey. Everyone felt intimidated. Everyone felt nervous. Everyone was completely lost on what to do and when. It is okay. Give yourself grace and time to learn. Change does not happen overnight. Educate yourself and get in there.
What do you think would ease the transition into the weight room easier for you? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear.
Previous Posts so far:
Today we are going to talk about the other people in the gym.
Another big response I have gotten when surveying women about why they don’t lift weights is that they don’t want to feel judged by the guys, and even other girls, in there. They think that if you are new in the gym then you will be judged by the regulars. Perhaps you will be picked on or talked about quietly. How awkward and scary is that?! Who wants to go into the lion’s den?!
Let me in on a little secret….
THEY DON’T CARE!!
Yes, it is true. Chances are very much in your favor in that probably 99.9% of the people in the gym don’t care about you being in there. They are focused on their own workout and won’t waste time worrying about the new girl.
And if there are some people in there who do mock you to your face or to each other then guess what? That is their problem. Not yours. You don’t have enough time or energy to waste it on worrying about what other people are thinking. You have your life to change and make better. Mocking other people is their personality flaw. It is their insecurities displaying themselves. Don’t worry about it.
Also, most of the professional looking people in the gym acknowledge that they were new in the gym at one time too. They remember how scary it was. They remember how they didn’t know what to do at all. So, they give you your space.
And finally, most of the people you will see are plugged into their music. They probably won’t even notice you. Their music is loud and rocking and they are focusing on that and their next rep.
Acknowledge that there are good people in the gym too. They won’t all pick on you. They won’t whisper behind your back. There are people who genuinely care about you and your success. But, chances are you won’t meet these people until you go into the gym. You never know. You just might make an incredible friend who has your back in and out of the gym. I know I have.
Yesterday, we talked about finding a plan to help you become more familiar with the gym and how to properly perform many of the moves. Finally knowing what to do and when will make a big difference in becoming more comfortable in the gym.
Once you are in the gym, though, do you know how to act? The gym can be its own little society with its own sense of etiquette. How about we go over some of the most important etiquette so that you don’t have to learn it the hard way? 🙂 I know understanding what is or is not acceptable before even going inside the gym will increase your confidence and comfort level.
So, let’s get started….
1) Wipe down equipment
This one really should go without saying but not everyone does it. The gym is an extremely germy place with all the sweat, coughing, and sneezing in a confined place. When you are done with a piece of equipment make a point to wipe it down with a towel and cleaning solution. It does not matter if you sweated on it or not. ALWAYS wipe it down. Like I said before, not everyone is considerate enough to wipe down their equipment and will sometimes leave sweat marks. GROSS!!! Some days I will wipe down the equipment before and after I use it. Remember this one rule and you will be on a head start to success.
2) Return Weights
When you are done with dumbbells or weight plates always return them to the weight rack. Don’t leave the work for someone else to do. There isn’t much more annoying than showing up to do leg presses or bench presses and seeing some guy has left all his weight on there. Then I have to waste my workout time shuffling the weights around before I can even start my sets. It makes perfect sense to hold on to the weights while you are doing your sets but when you are done always, always, ALWAYS return them. Then wipe down the bench. 😉
3) Do Not Hog Equipment
Other people are in the gym too. I know you know that. I know you aren’t trying to be inconsiderate. But, it is easy to get caught up in your music or daydreaming or talking with your training partner. There are quite possibly people waiting patiently, or not so patiently, for that piece of equipment you are on. Be mindful that you don’t rest for too long between sets and get off as soon as possible. If it is especially busy you can allow other patrons to “work-in” with you. In other words, you let that person do her set while you are resting.
4) Don’t Use Your Cell Phone
This is actually just basic cell phone etiquette. If your phone goes off during a workout excuse yourself and step into the hallway or outside to talk. It can be very annoying to other patrons to have to listen to your conversations. You might also end up hogging the equipment while you talk. And if you are on the phone while exercising you aren’t exercising hard enough. Honestly, your best option is to just leave your cell phone in your gym bag or in the car. Give yourself one hour every day when you are unplugged and disconnected from the rest of the world.
5) Don’t Hover
Hovering means hanging out by a piece of equipment while you wait for it to open up. It is awkward for the person already on it because it feels like she is being stalked. Well, I guess she is being stalked. You are also wasting time. There are tons of other ways to work that particular muscle that you are working that day. Be creative. If you really need to do that particular move then go do something else until it opens up. Or you could ask the other person if you could “work in.” Chances are the answer is YES.
6) Consider the Volume
Consider the Volume on your mp3 player or phone. Not everyone wants to hear that rocking music you have playing. It can be very distracting to those around you. But, the most important thing here is that if other people can hear your music it is way too loud for your ears. Protect your precious ear drums and turn it down.
7) Gently Put the Weights Down
Do NOT slam weights down. It is startling to other people around you and it is destructive to the equipment. Sometimes you might find yourself in a compromising position and the only way to stay safe is to allow the weights fall to the ground. Your safety and that of your partner is your number one priority. Just try to bring the weights down gently. Have you ever noticed how some dumbbells can feel loose when you pick them up? They are loose from being constantly dropped to the ground or slammed into the rack. Not good.
I would love to make this a nice round 10 but 8 will have to do….
8) Clothing and Hygiene
Dress appropriately and wear good deodorant. I put these together because they both have to do with how you present yourself to other people. No one wants to see too much of your skin and no one wants to smell you too strongly either. Yes, you should be sweating while working out but no one wants to be knocked down when you walk by either. Do NOT try to cover your smell up with perfume. Coming from someone who has asthma, those fumes are not good for anyone and could potentially send another person home with a headache or not able to breathe. Not good.
There you have it. Now you know the most basic rules of the gym. Different gyms will have their own unique rules but the ones I mentioned are pretty universal and usually unspoken. Now, you know them and don’t have to learn the hard, embarrassing way.
Did I miss anything? Do you have any pet peeves? Leave me a comment and let me know!!!
There is a reason that the weight room is primarily men. Many women don’t feel comfortable in there for whatever reason. I have heard reasons such as feeling intimidated, not knowing proper forms, and not wanting to look stupid in front of the regulars. I was one of you when I first started going into the weight room. I was just as scared and intimidated. But, I figured out ways to be confident and to own that place. For the next week, I am going to talk about how you can feel confident too.
Step One: Find a Training Plan
I think the number one response I got when I asked friends and family why they do not workout with weights is not knowing what to do and how to do it. There is no doubt that a lack of knowledge would make the gym a very intimidating place.
When I first started working out in the gym I had my husband as my training partner and he knew at least some more about it than I did. I followed his lead. Then his work schedule changed and I found myself alone in the gym and very lost. I knew that I couldn’t go into the gym every day confused and that I needed a training partner even if only on paper.
I set out to find a training plan. I needed something that would tell me what to do, how to do it, and when to do it on every training day. I settled on Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Trainer on Bodybuilding.com . It is a twelve week program broken up into three phases. Month one is straight lifting without any cardio in order to build muscle. Month two is more lifting with the addition of steady state cardio. Month three brings it all together by adding HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) training into the mix.
I learned so much from following this program. I learned how to perform all the movements and how they work. I learned how workouts are put together and why. But, the biggest thing I learned was confidence in the gym. Now I am just as comfortable going in there all by myself as I am with a training partner. I will be forever grateful to Ms. Eason for that.
I do highly recommend the LiveFit Trainer but there are other workout programs out there that you can use. I just strongly suggest that you commit to see the program all the way through to the end.
Here are a few other programs you could consider:
There are tons of options on the internet or in books you can ind at your local library or bookstore. Find what you think will work for you and stick to it. See it to the end and you will be more confident. I promise.
Good Luck!! Let me know if you what program you choose!!