Firstly, we were all there once. We get it. But you’re here. You’ve made it. The decision to even start/restart the gym is a giant one, so for that alone, well done! Having a membership is one thing, stepping through the door is the next big hurdle!
You may feel like you’re not doing much straight away. But it’s better to start slow and build up your session frequency and intensity, than go H.A.M. (hard as a mother f*****) every single day for a week, then give up because it’s all too much! Always remember how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have to go. Start once a week. But, COMMIT. Then BUILD. Twice a week, three times, etc etc. Your body and mind need to adapt. Going to the gym needs to become a habit.
Never forget WHY YOU STARTED. Why are you here?
Keep track of the little wins.
If you struggle getting to the gym, put £1 in a jar every time you go to train, then at the end of the month, treat yourself; buy yourself a new gym top, or go out with your other half for a day out and spend time together. Whilst we’re on the topic of tracking, the scales probably won’t be your friend in all of this (mainly due to body composition, but that’s for another time!!). Weigh yourself at the start and take a progress picture, then do the same at the beginning of every month. You cannot see on the scales the difference between lean muscle tissue and fat, that’s why progress pictures are great. The scales shouldn’t determine how you FEEL about your progress, they may not show you what is happening inside your body, especially if you’re building muscle – focus on being able to walk up the stairs without getting out of breath, or lifting heavier weights, FEELING fitter and healthier, or being more confident in yourself, whatever is important to YOU!)
Don’t rely on motivation.
If we relied on motivation to get everything done in our lives, I promise you 99% of us would end up in a Netflix black hole and no one would turn up to work and the whole world would go into crisis. Instead, build the HABIT, build it so well going to the gym is automatic. It’s an autocue. Make it a part of your week so your brain does not consciously make the decision to go, it just happens. This makes adherence much easier. We can make it even easier for our brains to create habits. If you work 9-5 you could either take your gym stuff with you to work and go on the way home, or you could have your dinner and clothes ready at home after work. Find what suits YOU.
If you’re going to the gym for physical results, we need to accept these won’t happen overnight. This means we need to fall in love with the PROCESS. We need to fall in love with the endorphin rush (feel good hormone) we get after a workout, or the mental break and time switched off from the world, or it could be the translation of physical strength into mental strength, increased confidence, whatever it is, hold onto this positive feeling, because our fitness journey isn’t going to come without hiccups, trust me.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
We’re definitely not all self taught in the gym. Hopefully you’ve had a gym induction, so you know how to use the resistance machines as a minimum, which is always a great starting point. (If you don’t, just grab a gym instructor to help!) I had a personal trainer and various sessions with people teaching me how to do specific lifts i.e. deadlift. Safety is really important to not injure yourself and also to make the most efficient progress! No one wants to work hard and get nowhere do they hey?!!?
If you’re lucky enough to have friends that can help you in the gym, make the most of them, learn from them, let them help! If you don’t, a personal trainer is a great way to get started and can keep you on track in the right direction. ( see my previous post of the benefits of a PT here!) If you have a specific goal; weight loss, weight gain, muscle definition etc, then an exercise programme is the most efficient way to reach this goal.
What you do outside of the gym is just as important.
One final important note. If you train 4 times a week, for an hour each time let’s say. That’s 4/168 hours in your week. What you do for the other 164 hours will have a big impact on your progress. Basics: Keep active when possible- 10,000 steps a day, eat your 5-a-day, get a good nights sleep and drink plenty of water! If we’re going to be pushing our body physically and mentally, we need to fuel it accordingly!
Please don’t give up before you’ve got started.
Welcome to the gym.
Love J xoxo
p.s Please don’t ever let the fear of others’ judgment keep you from reaching your goals. You’re doing this for you, not them.