Day one of your new workout plan- you’re at the gym; you feel a little nervous and out of place. Everyone seems to know what they’re doing except you. Anxiety and self-consciousness begins to set in; you think to yourself, “is that lady on the treadmill staring at me” or “Are my gym clothes to tight?” You haven’t even begun your workout and you’re already ready to quit.
Hold it right there.
Regardless of your weight, gender, or physical appearance, it is natural to feel discomfort at the gym and that’s okay. I still remember some of my first few workout days when I used a machine wrong or Googled how to use a machine that looked unusual to me. No more hiding in the locker room or talking yourself out of going to the gym entirely. You may be a bit uncomfortable or even clueless, but it’s time to take control of your workouts.
- Stop comparing yourself to other gym goers
Often times, you may glance at another male or female who may be bigger or stronger, who may be lifting heavier weights or may just look “perfect.” It’s okay to be inspired by others, but never compare yourself to an individual who is made completely differently and is on a different journey than you. Every time you realize you are comparing yourself to others, add one rep to your set as a push to encourage yourself to focus on your own workout.
- Give yourself some credit
At least three quarters of Americans do not work out- that’s at least 75% of the population and you’re already one step ahead of them. Push yourself, and when you’re done, give yourself a pat on the back.
- Create a Positive Environment for yourself
There is power be behind positivity; create an atmosphere where you are free from negative people and energy. I recommend shutting your phone off, not using social media or texting during your workout to really get in the zone. Happy thoughts and positive behavior support brain development in your prefrontal cortex, which is a direct link to an individual’s functions. Positive thoughts also increase your body’s serotonin which helps decrease your risk of depression.
- Never Be Afraid to “Re-rack”
This tip is especially important for those who are new to fitness; this isn’t just applicable for weightlifters. If you notice an exercise is too much or too strenuous, stop. Either lower your weight, conclude the exercise or modify the exercise. It is important to ensure your form is correct, otherwise all workouts may lead to serious injury. Nobody is judging you if you have to re-rack. It is always better to put your pride aside than injury your body.
- Have No Shame in Your Game
NO more excuses, no more feeling sorry for yourself, no more overthinking every flaw. We’re all human and very far from perfect. So whether you’re going to do some quick cardio, powerlift, weight train, water aerobics or group exercise, whatever it may be, go to the gym and strut your stuff. Own your mistakes, be positive and own your workout!
Written by Hannah Haynes, 2017 Fitness Ambassador