New Year’s has come and gone and the swell of people at fitness centers is in full swing. That’s a good thing. I drive in to the Y’s lot it’s full, the lockers are taken, and the fitness floor is buzzing. Unfortunately, the stats bear out that in a few weeks things will be back to normal. The lot won’t be so crowded, the’ll be plenty of lockers, and the floor will be less “electric”. If you are one of the millions of people who made a fitness resolution to get in better shape this year here’s some advice.
Don’t think about hitting the gym everyday or get discouraged by being a newbie.
I see the enthusiasm and get it. But be realistic, you are making a big change. Let it soak into your life. Easy into it and have fun. Don’t get discouraged by all the people in the gym (most of them will be gone soon). Look for times of the day that have less traffic at the center. Ask the front desk staff what days and times are slowest. They know. Remember that everyone at the gym was once a newbie and most people are willing to answer a question or two (like how to turn a treadmill on).
Don’t do too much too soon.
Hey if you sit all day at your job than head home and sit some more like most Americans do, your probably fairly deconditioned – sorry but it’s true. The gal that’s running for 30 minutes on the treadmill next to you did not start there. Neither should you. I’ve taught all my kids to drive a car and I never started any of them on the interstate with semis whizzing by at 80MPH. They started low and slow. If you heading into the gym for your first time or restarting a program that you stopped a few months ago the low and slow philosophy may save you from an injury.
Fact: Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common injury type with fitness programs. Shoulder injuries account for 36% of total. About 40% happen at home.
Any fitness pro worth their salt will be willing to give you advice. Yes, these are the staff on the floor. They are there to assist you in navigating the exercise floor. To what extent depends on your gym. It may be worth hiring a personal trainer for a few weeks. Seriously. It may can your life. A good personal trainer can help you get started with solid goals and keep you going. Interview a few trainers, ask members at your center for some recommendations, talk to the fitness director about your goals and you should be able to be matched with a trainer that will meet your needs.
Keep in mind that everyone is different. We are old/young, male/female, have different goals, different anatomy, different exercise histories, medical issues, and more. The point is that what the gal next to you is doing is likely not what you should be doing. If you are unsure of what to do, see #3.
Really. Find ways to enjoy physical activity. Yes go to your new gym, take spin or other classes but It’s not all about the gym. Explore outdoor exercise experiences. Hike, bike, walk, jog, play games, build active vacations, do walking meetings at work, garden (really),… you get it.
The gym is a vehicle to enjoy the rest of your life. It’s about reaching personal goals. It takes, patience, planning, practice, persistence, and perspective. Most of all it requires presence. If you are not doing something, you won’t get anything – so something is better than nothing!