April 22, 2012

Nine Ways To Love The Gym

The gym can be intimidating.  Loud music, great bodies, frightening machines; it can be overwhelming for first timers. However, if you take a closer look and change your mindset, you too can learn to love (or least not hate) the gym.

  1. Not all those bodies are great, and even if they look perfect to you, realize that every one of us has body flaws we are self-conscious about. 
  2. No one is looking at you.  In fact, the majority or gym goers (especially weight lifters) are looking in the mirror, either criticizing or admiring their own bodies.  (Though to be fair, many use the mirror to perfect their weight lifting technique).
  3. If you are self-conscious about your weight, be aware that many gym rats used to be in your shoes, and will be very supportive of your efforts.
  4. If the mirrors bother you (and research shows that overweight people are more likely to stick with an exercise facility with few or no mirrors), see if you can find another gym with fewer mirrors.
  5. Take advantage of the club.  Many gyms offer free introductory personal training sessions.  The best way to be comfortable with all that equipment is to learn how to use it.
  6. Let your group fitness instructor know that it is your first time.  A good instructor will find a way to make your class experience enjoyable.  If you do not like one class make sure to try another, you may be surprised at how much fun group fitness can be.
  7. Speak up.  If the staff if playing music you hate at a high decibel level ask them to lower the volume and change the station.  They are paid to keep the customer happy, not program their own music.  If you get no results, speak to the owner.
  8. If you are germ phobic, bring your own towel for the equipment.  Most clubs supply cleaners to wipe off the machines, do so before and after you use each piece.  Bring your own water bottle (reusable please!), and wash your hands before and after you workout.
  9. Counteract boredom by bringing your own music, varying your routine and cultivating friends.  Going regularly at the same time will bring you in touch with other gym goers.  If you are uncomfortable with the other regulars, try the gym at a different time of day. One of the most rewarding aspects of joining a gym or club is finding other exercisers to befriend.  The social aspect goes a long way towards helping you enjoy the gym and look forward to working out.

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