So you want to work out but you don’t even know where to begin. I get it (believe me, I do). It can be daunting even picturing yourself entering a new gym and getting going. What machines to use? Where are the mats? So many fun questions roaming around in your head. But don’t fret, once you fall into a routine you’ll be back on track in no time. We have seven steps here to help you get started!
1. Find Your Go-To Spot
The first thing for you is to find your gym. I can hear it now: “But do I have to join a gym?” you ask, “why can’t I just…take a run around the block?”
But will you, Karen? Will you?
Gyms may not be as convenient as collecting workout gear for you to watch collect dust in your apartment, but they do add a certain (often needed) layer of peer pressure to make sure you actually, you know, work out.
I don’t want to belittle this move: it can be intimidating as hell to go to a gym where you end up surrounded by beautiful, buff people who all seem like they’ve been lifting weights since they were in the womb. I get it. But the best advice I can give you is this: Most people are not even going to notice you. This isn’t meant to be a downer-it’s just the truth. Everyone is just as worried about being noticed or making a fool of themselves or Item #99 on their To-Do list as you are, much too much so to pay that much attention to a newbie who has to press seven buttons to turn their treadmill on.
2. Get Your Work Out Gear
Once you’ve found your gym, make sure you hype yourself up appropriately by getting new work out wear.
I can’t fully explain why this works, but there’s something about getting yourself a new outfit or two (or three or four) that’ll really boost your confidence.
There are always sales: you don’t have to break the bank. Old Navy and even Forever 21 will have you covered, so keep an eye out for work out leggings, shorts, sports bras, tanks, sneakers and more, that’ll help you get ready to get moving.
Another key thing to remember in this (and every phase) is that this is about You. You’re not working out for anybody else, so make sure you find clothes that you feel comfortable (and maybe even hot) in. If that’s an oversized tee and old gym shorts, that’s fine too, just remember to do you.
3. Find A Work Out Buddy
Admittedly, this is a bit of #QETip (AKA the short tips the cast of Queer Eye give us at the end of every episode), but as Bobby Berk said at the end of Season 3 Episode 4 “When Robert Met Jamie,” when it comes to working out, especially when we’re new, we need community and accountability.
Or, as the snappy title card called it: Accountabilabuddies!
Being around people with like-minded goals can seriously help-so that even if you don’t have your best friend or your boyfriend or your mom or whoever with you, you know that’ll check up on you later and make sure you got your work-out in.
Sometimes you can kill two birds with one stone and meet your new accountabilabuddy at your community gym (Try saying that three times fast!)!
4. Join A Class
Sometimes a great way to meet your future work out buddies is at one of the classes your local gym offers. Chances are, there are plenty of options. You might be a kick-boxing sorta gal or maybe more of a Zumba lad, but either way, there’s no shame in showing up and giving something new the ol’ college try.
Personally, I’m about as flexible as a steel rod, so it’s easy for me to feel silly in a yoga class where everyone is stretching all over the place, but you know what? That’s okay.
Your gym should be a safe space to look a little dumb while you figure things out, and it’s really okay to ask for help if you get stuck or aren’t sure what you’re doing. It’s always better to ask for help now instead of accidentally hurting yourself stretching the wrong way, anyway.
You’ll never know if a spin or a swim class is your thing if you don’t give it a try.
5. Get a Trainer
For some of us, especially those of us who want to get serious about our physical health, getting a trainer is the next step.
It can seem daunting, considering paying for another person to yell at you to drop and give them 20, but, hey, this isn’t the marines, and paying for someone to gently bully you into getting fit is sometimes exactly what you need.
Nobody likes the idea of getting up around dawn to do crunches and throw a weighted rope around, but having a trainer is like having the physical manifestation of that little voice in your head telling you that “You know what? You actually can do it,” and cheering you on while you work up a sweat.
They may just be the best frienemy you ever had.
6. Get a SmartWatch
Sometimes the physical manifestation of that voice in your head isn’t a person, but a device sending you notifications that say, “Hey, you’ve been sitting too long,” or “You only need 100 more calories to meet your move goal.”
I know what you’re thinking, and no, we aren’t sponsored by any particular brand of smartwatch (or the “Big Apple,” as I like to say). It doesn’t matter to me which brand you get, as long as you do the research to find the one that works for you.
The watch will do a lot of that gentle-bullying for you, reminding you (once you’ve set it up) just what you need to do to meet your goals every day (and month, and year, too).
And look, this one even speaks Czech.
7. Get Moving
Now that you have all those other steps out of the way, the rest is up to you. You could have the best work out gear, gym, watch, trainer, buddies, etc,. in the universe, but you still have to bring the action.
I know, it sucks, especially when you’re tired and you just don’t feel like going today, but it’s all too easy to let one day turn into one week, which can turn into one month, and the next thing you know, you’re guiltily still paying for a gym membership you never use.
This isn’t about having a Beach Body or anything so ridiculous, but about making sure you feel the best version of You that you can be.
A lot of working out is about pushing through things: the burn, the exhaustion, the sheepish Am-I-Doing-This-Right feeling when you try something new… but once you do, once you hit the other side of that, you’ll find a pleasant surprise.
It feels good. Your body likes it when you move. It likes it when you take it out for a walk, and a run, and a stretch. Building new habits for yourself isn’t always easy (in fact, it rarely is). But is it worth it? It definitely is.
Getting started at the gym isn’t always easy. Do you think you’re ready? What is your favorite way to work out? Do you have a favorite gym? Let us know in the comments down below!
Featured Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/pQFWjqpSE3Y
Lauren West graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in English and Digitial Journalism in December 2018. She is a Southern California native, an INFP with anxiety, and at any moment trying her best.