So, it’s been awhile since you’ve been to a gym. Just the thought of all those machines and lean bodies can be intimidating! Where do you start? First, realize that you’re doing something positive for yourself and take that initial step to get back there. Don’t worry about the other people. They’re all caught up in their own workouts.
Once you’ve made the commitment to go to the gym, my suggestion is to create a plan. The first week, start out with some cardio. Spend at least 30 minutes a day on your favorite machines, and get to know the gym and where all the equipment is located. At home, look through books and magazines, or search online for beginner workout ideas. That way you can put together a weight training plan for the following week.
Once you’re ready for the machines and free weights, make sure to take it slow. A good beginner routine is to work on upper body exercises on Monday and Wednesday and lower body exercises on Tuesday and Thursday. Aim for two exercises per body part and two sets for each of these exercises to ease into your new workout. The next week you can increase to three sets and add additional exercises if you like.
If you still feel lost in the gym, consider hiring a personal trainer. The gym may have trainers on staff, or you can use an outside source (read my past advice on hiring a trainer). Make sure the trainer shows you how to use the machines and free weights, which will help you get started and give you more confidence using the equipment on your own.
Like I’ve said before, you are your only competition in the gym. It doesn’t matter how much weight someone else is lifting or what type of workout he or she is doing. Find what’s best for you and your lifestyle. The most important thing is getting back there. It may take a week or two for the habit to form, but once it does, you’ll have so much more energy and confidence in yourself. Then you’ll be looking forward to your daily workouts!
Southern States Championships top contender Melissa Transou, a figure competitor, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports nutrition needs of female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com.
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