With New Year’s eve coming up, I imagine that lots of people out there are trying to figure out how they’ll get fitter and in better shape this year. As someone who goes to the gym religiously year round, it’s always right after the new year that I see the gym absolutely packed with newcomers on Jan. 2.
I’ve seen, and have admittedly posted, plenty of memes about this – complaining about all of the “new year, new me” folks flooding what’s normally an already crowded gym trying to make good on their resolutions. Is it annoying that these new people are in my way? Sure, but the more I’ve gotten into trying to help others on their fitness journeys, the more I’ve come to appreciate the effort. Nowadays, my issue isn’t with the fact that all of these newly motivated people are in my way, it’s the fact that they only stick around for a month at the most.
Where does all of the excitement and motivation go? Was keeping up with the routine for four weeks so taxing that they gave up? Did they start prioritizing other things? Did they get discouraged when some meat head asked them to move out of his way? Is it possible that they thought they’d see results sooner than is possible? Did they overdo it at first and hurt themselves? Maybe they just went too hard at it at first and burned out too quickly.
I’m not sure what the answer is – I’m sure there’s quite the variety of reasons people stop putting in the effort. What I am hoping is that any of you out there reading this – who do want to take the new year as your fresh start at getting fitter – can pick up a few tips so that you don’t get discouraged, gym-timidated as some call it or just plain fed up with not seeing the results you want.
First off, start with some confidence. Easier said than done, right? Well here’s an idea on how to get a jump start. I know that for lots of people, especially women, getting into the gym or especially the weight room can seem super intimidating. So, here’s my advice: take the first two or three weeks of the new year and get comfortable with a routine at home. Look up some kind of circuit workout online (here’s one for example), buy a pair of ten pound weights and make this workout your go to. Get familiar with the moves so that when you do get to the gym you know what you’re doing, don’t feel like everyone’s watching you, and bonus – all of the people who already gave up in month #1 are out of your way!
Then, in between sets you can take a look around, find what you need to expand your workouts and get more accustomed to your new gym. Here’s a secret: when I recently moved, I joined a new gym and was gym-timidated myself! I didn’t know where anything really was and hated looking like a newbie, so I did just this. I stuck to my known go-to workouts and got familiar with things before switching it up.
Or, If you have the extra dough to spend (or if you’re maybe owed a belated holiday gift), then spring for a small personal training package. As few as three sessions can give you the one-one-one support you’ll need to find a weekly routine you can repeat until you get in there and start to feel more comfortable. I actually recommended this to a friend recently who said she was intimidated of the weight room.
When it comes to results, you will need a little bit of patience. Think about how long it took you to gain the weight or lose the muscle that you might have had before. It wasn’t one meal, one weeks’ worth of meals or a month of meals. It will likely take you a while to see the results you’re looking for. But don’t give up! I promise you that when you start to see and feel the difference, you’ll be hooked. One of my favorite facts is that an hour-long workout is only four percent of your day. Four percent!! And I’m not even recommending you work out every day, so it’s less than that of your week. It’s a small investment for a huge return.
The beginning of the working-out process is the hardest. I swear that if I even take off one week I feel like I’m dying when I get back in the gym. Every time I start a new lifting routine I’m reminded why beginners are quick to find lifting too difficult. But I swear, once you get over the initial hump, it’s really not even nearly that bad. It truly becomes addictive!
One final thing I want to say is that I know it can seem like everyone in the gym is staring at you when you first get in there, but they’re really not. Most of the most narcissistic ones are legitimately only looking at themselves, and most of the fitness-obsessed folks are honestly rooting you on for busting your butt. I’ve seen some incredibly overweight folks in the weight room absolutely killing workouts, and complete strangers will go out of their way to say “good work” or help them with an exercise. As douchey as some of the people in the gym can seem, they really have the same goals as you – get fitter and look better naked :). As someone who never played sports in high school, it’s honestly as close as I’ve gotten to a team mentality. They call it “fit fam!” So, good luck on your 2017 fitness adventure, and welcome to the family!