I know what you’re thinking…
Getting in shape is basically EVERYONE’S New Years resolution. Which is true, and it’s also my favorite. I’m on the side where I see the resolutioners come into the gym, get their memberships and put on their snazzy new gym clothes. I love this, I love seeing people come into the gym with that zest to get in shape. It’s after that initial 10 minutes of being there that you can see defeat already creeping in.
I want to backtrack with a story for a second.
Last year I started at a new gym closer to my apartment. Now, I’ve been going to the gym for years. I’m fit, know what I’m doing and an overall confident person. That being said, starting at this new gym made me incredibly nervous. I didn’t know anyone, there were machines I haven’t used before, the dumbbells were laid out differently… just an entire list of new things that made me want to turn around.
After a few days, these nerves subsided and I started to actually look around the gym. The one person that really stuck out to me was a 300+lbs girl with 3 toned faded red hair, and mismatched gym attire. I’d like to say she didn’t stick out because of her appearance but that’s exactly what it was. This girl came to the gym every day at the same time, same hair, same outfits. The only thing that wasn’t the same was her routine and her progress. This girl came every day focused and bringing her A game. She didn’t seem to care about her appearance, she was there to work. She had a goal and a plan on how to get there. I admired this girl so much for her dedication and I made a point of letting her know how great she was doing and how her progress was really coming along.
Back to the present.
The key things to take away from that are goals, routine, and progress. By all means, show up to the gym with makeup on, hair did and cute gym clothes. Who cares that you want to look your best to work out! But you also need to bring a mindset that fitness doesn’t have an endpoint. Progress is forever changing and reaching goals don’t necessarily mean you’re done.
We all have goals. We want that booty, flat stomach, toned arms. The whole meal deal. But how we gonna get there? Your insta idols started from the bottom, they didn’t just bust into the scene looking like they do, and hell, they still don’t look like they do in their pictures. Posing and lighting is a powerful thing. Instead of looking at someone else and comparing yourself to years of their progress, start with an inches goal. Say you want to lose so many inches around your middle, arms or legs. Same for those who are trying to add muscle. Inches are the truest form of measurement when you’re tracking fitness. At the end of the day, the number on the scale means very little.
Write down your goals in a notebook and make room for checkpoints. When I started out, I remeasured twice a month and seeing the numbers change was a huge boost of motivation for me and really drove me to work harder as I could see the results of what I was doing.
Get yourself a plan. I know a big excuse for people to skip the gym (I used to be one of these people) is “I didn’t eat well today” or “I’ll just do double cardio next time”. Enough with this. Of course, having a great day of eating usually means a great day at the gym, but even on those poor diet days, that gym session counts. Don’t make your diet and gym time coincide like that. I personally started with the gym before I really got into the good eating habits. For whatever reason, the transition was smoother for me and I’d suggest that to anyone that doesn’t have desirable eating habits yet but wants to start going to the gym. Trust me, once you start feeling accomplished at the gym you’ll be pumped to eat more greens and less processed.
When I first started out, I was on Pinterest and Tumblr. I found a few exercises that I liked and I did them 4 days a week at my university gym. The same 5 exercises every day but this was my routine. Then I found Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred. This was the gateway to my complete lifestyle makeover. I learned new moves, became more confident at the gym to try different things and started making friends with other more seasoned gym goers. That’s the power of a routine, no matter how big or small. Your starting point doesn’t need to be drastic, don’t go into the gym thinking you need to be deadlifting half your body weight on day one. We all started at bar weight to get to where we are now. Again, no one is judging you!
**I’d like to make a shameless plug for CrushFit (whom I am an affiliate for). 4 years ago I bought the Crush60 workout guide which COMPLETELY changed my mind and body. Crushfit has workout plans, supplements and apparel (ringrose15 for 15% off). When I started with Crush they had 3 workout plans and that was it. Now they’re taking over with a gym in Milwaukee, several workout guides, a line of supplements and pretty jazzy shirts and hats.**
Bottom line, walk into the gym with a plan. How many minutes of cardio, what day will you do what muscle group and write it all down. You don’t have to go balls to the walls, 4-5 different exercises is a great starting point. Just set aside an hour a day to focus on you and your goals.
This is one of the hardest things for new gym-goers to get behind. It takes time. 4 weeks to feel different, 8 weeks for you to notice a difference and 12 weeks for the world to notice a difference. 12 weeks isn’t so long! Track inches more consistently than weight, write down your workouts and rep increases. Celebrate each victory because they’re all important!
A big thing now is transformation pictures. “Do it for the after picture”. There is a lot of power in this. Looking at day 1 v 4 weeks of commitment is a huge wake-up call on how well you’re doing.
Resolutioner Starter Pack:
I’ve put together a little checklist that I’m hoping will be helpful. I still go over simple things in my mind while I’m packing my gym bag, thinking about what I’m going to eat that day and what body group I want to focus on.
- Gym Membership
- Good supportive shoes
- Killer playlist
- Workout gear that fits properly and gives you wide range of flexibility (nothing is worse than getting to the gym and your outfit malfunctions or makes you feel restricted and uncomfortable)
- Print out or saved workout routine
- Post gym snack
- Less cardio and more weights
- Go at each day knowing what you’re going to do which helps you stay focused
- Positive attitude and knowing that no one here is judging you!
Don’t think you have to hit the gym for 2 hours 6 days a week to start making progress. I myself only go 3 days a week for an hour. 3 days a week is plenty to make significant changes to your body and overall health. Couple that with reasonably clean eating habits and you’re good to go!
Take baby steps and have a great workout!