No More Gymtimidation
Okay. Fair enough. That was worth a big fat groan.
The reality is, though, that many people, including my clients, cringe at the thought of going to the gym. And I don’t blame them. When I say “gym,” the first thing that comes to mind to many is perfectly fit women and men in lycra, running on tread mills, lifting weights, with that glow-sweat going on. Add the equipment and machines and not knowing what to do, and gyms are intimidating.
In fact, I just went to a fitness magazine to brush up on ideas, and they wanted to add me to a mailing list. I was given two choices: YES, I WANT TO TURN MY LIFE AROUND and NO, I DON’T WANT TO BE FIT.
Health isn’t a black-and-white situation. It’s a journey, a process, and the infinite possibility to try new things, celebrate what your body can do. It’s for everyone, every age. Putting people down like that magazine did is what turns off many from going to the gym and trying new things. Going to the gym is for everybody.
- Invest in a personal trainer. If you’re investing in a gym membership, invest in five-to-seven sessions with a personal trainer. A trainer can teach you how to use the equipment, explain which muscle groups each machine works, come up with an individualized fitness plan, and give you the confidence you need to continue working out without feeling so lost. This can also help you avoid injury.
- Take advantage of new membership offers. Oftentimes gyms offer packages to new members, including promotions, health assessments, or personal training. The first training appointment shouldn’t be intimidating.
- Ask the right questions. Unfortunately, anyone can call themselves a personal trainer. There’s no trademark on that name. But not everyone can perform the functions of a trainer. Here are the questions to ask:
- What is your exercise and educational background? Are you certified by a nationally recognized organization? (They should have a certification from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)).
- Are you certified in CPR and first aid?
- Can you provide me with client references?
- How do you work with clients with goal setting?
- How do you chart progress?
- Do you require a physician’s release form? Will you update my medical history?
- How much do you charge per session? What are your billing and cancellation policies?
- Listen to your body. This isn’t a competition. There’s no merit in hurting yourself. Keep to your plan, slow down if you need to. Consult your PT, reassess. And continue. With all new plans in life, there are ups and downs. Just keep at it.
- Don’t get too comfortable. Get un-stuck to continue progressing. I often see people at the gym chatting, reading a book, talking on the phone. It’s fine if you’re there to disconnect and do something different. Real improvement, though, takes mindfulness. If you’ve found your gym sessions have gotten easier – maybe even mechanic. It’s probably because you’ve plateaued.
- Hydrate. Dehydration can cause cramping, and even heat sickness. Be aware of how much water you’re drinking. We all believe we’re drinking more than we are! Drink 24 ounces of water two hours before working out, another 8 ½ an hour before heading to the gym, and 8 ounces every 20 minutes while working out. AFTER working out, cool down and drink some more.
- Eat well! Health is an inside-out deal. If you’re taking the time to go to the gym, take the time you need to educate yourself about nutrition. Then make the changes to reach your goals whether it’s to have more energy, feel less bloated, or improve blood sugar control.
Gyms are a great place to not only get in shape but find a community of supportive people who, also, want to get in shape. Not every gym is for every person. Find the right fit – budget, community, style – for you. No more … okay. I’ll spare you the cheesy word. It’s just so so tempting! Gymtimidation! I couldn’t resist.