Grunting, sweating, throwing weights: this is often what people think of when they think of going to the gym. This can lead to GYM INTIMIDATION. In my practice as a physical therapist, our goal is to not only get you back to your “normal” level of activity, but we love it when we can help our patients get to a level where they want to accelerate their health and improve upon their fitness level.
One way to do this is to join a gym, however, it is often the case that if someone has never been to a gym before it can be very intimidating (you are not alone) and pose a barrier to joining and starting their journey for improved health. Please realize that you are definitely NOT ALONE when it comes to gym intimidation and try these 5 steps to hep overcome it.
1) Go with a friend
This can be one of the easiest ways to improve your motivation, overcome fear and keep you accountable. If you go with a friend you have someone to give you a push when you need it and you can give them a little push when they need it.
2) Take group classes
Group classes are GREAT! They often have various levels of group classes from beginner to advanced, so if you are new to this make sure to look ahead as to what classes are offered and try the beginner classes first. There they will often take time to make sure that you understand the flow of the class or if it is a cycling class that the bike fits you properly. I strongly encourage everyone to try group classes (aquatic classes are always fun, and much easier on your joints!)
3) Keep it SIMPLE and SHORT
We recommend at least 30 minutes of cardio, five times a week. However, you don’t need to spend hours at the gym to get in a great workout. Start by choosing 1-2 cardio machines at the gym and do them for 10-15 minutes (with a goal of 30), then you can branch out to using weights, medicine balls, and other machinery.
4) Ask for help
This one is huge. Everyone at the gym has been in your shoes before and most people love to help or answer questions, all you have to do is ask! This can be a fun way to meet new people and get you more involved at the gym as well.
5) Plan ahead for the gym
Before heading to the gym, plan ahead for your workout! This will help keep you on track at the gym. An example would be; “Walk for 15 minutes, elliptical for 15 minutes, then do 3 sets of 15 biceps curls. This is a great way to keep yourself accountable as you can’t cut your workout short.