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Getting started in your Fitness Journey is possibly the hardest part. There is just so much out there to know and learn about this whole other part of life. Maybe your only two experiences with the gym were that one time on your campus tour, and then again walking past it to buy tickets to the Beaux Arts Ball. You’ve never really thought about exercise or working out, but you’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed with classes lately. You read somewhere that exercise might help with all the stress and general unhappiness that you don’t really know why you’ve been feeling. But just the thought of The Gym only stresses you out more. How do you know where to begin? How do you know you’re even ready? Should you start with changing other things first, like a diet, and then work your way up to the gym? What do you do?
Find the Motivation
First, it’s important to think about your motivation for exercise. Making a change with a solid reason is a recipe for success. You could be in it to be able to be stronger, faster, feel better, lower your risk of health issues, or just to look even better than you already do. Pick anything and focus on why you want to do it. Keeping this reason in mind as you’re contemplating working out in order to really harness those feelings into action.
Just Do It
While there is no perfect method for everyone, the best step is taking a step. Any step. If you feel more comfortable starting with changing your eating habits, go for it, as long as you keep that momentum going and balance it off with some physical activity soon. You don’t need to immediately start bench pressing 300 pounds and pounding protein shakes with every meal. Making small tweaks to your meals and going for a short walk is a great first step to build up from.
Make a Plan
Take some time to do a little research, but don’t overwhelm yourself with too much preparation and reading. Aim to figure out 3-5 exercises that are best for your goals, and then jump right in. You don’t need to spend three hours at the gym to get a good workout. Plenty of folks are in and out in less than 30 minutes, and feel amazing after.
Conquer the Fear
While the gym can be a scary place, you have little to be afraid of. Sure, there are people there who look like they’re experts, but even the professionals don’t know everything. If you’re feeling a little self-conscious, it’s okay, most people at the gym do too. That’s right, even the buffest of the buff sometimes worry about what others are thinking about them. There are folks at all fitness and experience levels, including people just like you. The great thing is, everyone there is too concerned about what they’re doing to even think about judging you.
Remember, everyone has different goals. If you see someone doing something crazy advanced, don’t feel any pressure. Do what’s best for you at the rate you feel comfortable. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the staff members and ask away. They’re there to help.
Into The Friend Zone
If you’re still feeling intimidated, bring a friend! Ask someone who you know spends some time at the fitness center, or even someone who doesn’t yet either. Having someone to keep you accountable, who can either serve as a resource or can be in it with you from the same level, can be a great way to make working out a lasting habit. Group exercise classes are another great way to make achieving fitness fun and social.
So go ahead. Step proudly into that iron jungle, focus on you, and have fun doing the best workout you can. You’ll finish feeling a little tired, but absolutely accomplished and ready for the next session.