Now that you have all of your stuff and your gym bag is packed, what do you actually do with it all? If you’re anything like me, the idea of using a machine you don’t understand in front of a bunch of people who are probably way better at this stuff than you are is super intimidating. My first few times, I decided that I basically understood the treadmill and had used one before, so I hopped on and did my best. But that gets really old really quick if you’re not a runner.
Spoiler alert: I’m not a runner.
So, what’s an out of shape nerd girl to do? Finally I decided that it was in my best interest to sign up to meet with a personal trainer. This was also super intimidating, but I figured that she could at least show me how to work more than just a treadmill. Our first session, we talked about my goals and started a file with all of my weight, body fat measurements, etc. It was our second session when we really got down to business and she provided me with a plan that I could work on in between our sessions without her help. She showed me how to do each exercise and explained how it would help me reach my goals.
Once I had a plan, it made showing up at the gym much easier and less intimidating. Plus, having a variety of things to work on helped a lot to keep me interested and motivated. Of course, personal trainers are stupid expensive, so I can’t meet with her very often. But, every few months we plan to check in and she can give me some more things to work on. It’s been a pretty good arrangement for me; however, if a personal trainer is not an option for you, many gyms offer some great classes as a part of the regular fees each month. This means that you can get in on some fun work outs like yoga or Zumba and you can get some ideas for your own workouts from the other classes too. These classes are great to help you with staying accountable too, if you get to know the teacher or some of the other class participants.
No matter what you do, if you are a non-athlete like me, starting at a gym will be a little intimidating. It’s a new environment filled with people of all skill levels – many of whom are really good. But, many aren’t so good too. And everyone started in basically the same place. So, I make it my mission to keep my head down and do my own thing when I’m at the gym. I’m not very strong or fast and I still have to take time to figure out the machines, but I’m there for me, nobody else. When it’s tempting to compare myself to others and get down on myself for not being at the level I want to be, I force myself to stop and refocus on the work at hand. I focus on my goals and put the blinders back up. I remind myself that I don’t know each person’s story or struggles and again focus inward.
Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t. – Ashley Greene