For the last 6 months, I’ve been going to the YMCA to work out a 3-5 days a week depending on my mood. I’ve NEVER been a fan of working out; I always preferred activities that replaced the gym like playing tennis, taking dance lessons, walking around new cities, reaching for the remote when it’s on the opposite side of the couch, etc.
The idea of going to the gym used to terrify me. I always hated the idea of knowing that other people’s stamina lasts so much longer than mine or the fact that they can lift so much more than me.But I decided that enough was enough, and I needed to move forward doing something that began to make me feel better- both emotionally and physically.
When I was in high school, we had to run the dreaded mile every year in gym class. This was the truly embarrassing moment when the sporty, cool, fit kids would excel and the rest of us would pathetically run/walk a 12-15 minute mile. Then we’d laugh it off and pretend like it wasn’t a big deal. Which was kinda true because, hey. It’s gym class in high school. Who actually gives a damn?
When I started going to the gym a couple months ago, I definitely started SLOW. Sloooooooooooooooooow. I would run for like 5 minutes on a 5.6 speed which is equivalent to almost an 11 minute mile and then tire out and have to walk for another 5 minutes before I could muster the energy to try another spurt. And then of course, you do that sneaky side eye peak to whoever is on the machine next to you to compare how fast they are or how long they’ve been on the machine and who has burned more calories than another. It’s obviously a competition and hello, you’re the one losing Abby!
I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Part of me is still feels like I want to just go home after work, crawl into my bed and never move unless my roommate happens to magically bring me a donut. Then I’ll be truly happy. Let’s face it, I’m never going to NOT eat a donut. But at least now I have the gym to counterbalance some of my bad habits! Here are a couple pieces of advice to kick start a journey to the gym!
1. An ipod/playlist is so important. You have to make a playlist that is so kickass and keeps you in a good mood while you work out. No sad, slow songs or you aren’t going to want to move. Or if you’re into podcasts or tv shows, download short versions of these and don’t stop doing cardio until the show is over! I definitely have a couple go-to artists on my ipod that I dedicate solely to the gym. Work This Body by Walk the Moon perks me up mid-jog on the treadmill. I’ve also been really into Fitz and the Tantrums too! Check out the YouTube links below if you’re interested!
2. Wear something you’re comfortable in. I once wore leggings to the gym because they were nice and warm and stretchy, however, the second I started running, they consistently slid down which was SO distracting and made me stop sooner than I wanted to. Do a check at home that your clothes will stay put!!
3. Start slow and don’t let anyone judge you. First of all, I look so scuzzy at the gym whenever I go. Sweaty? Who cares. My hair is doing that flippy thing that looks terrible? OH WELL. I go to the gym for me and not for anyone else. If you can only run on the treadmill for 5 minutes at a time, make it the best five minutes you can muster. Eventually, those five minutes will turn into 6 which will then turn into running a mile without stopping. YAY MILESTONES!
4. This is a totally subjective point, but I tend to switch up my workouts each day. I always start with 20-30 minutes of cardio (usually the treadmill now, but I’m also a fan of the elliptical) followed by a workout of either arms, legs or abs. This is when I utilize the weight machines at the gym (especially arms or legs) for maybe 20 minutes and then end with another 20 minutes of light ab work on the floor without any equipment and stretching. But I try not to do all the same stuff every day to avoid excessive soreness!
5. Set goals. And I don’t necessarily mean weight goals because I’ve been going to the gym for 6 months and haven’t dropped as much weight as I’d like (however I have dropped a pant size!). But rather, say that you’ll run for 11 minutes straight at a 5.8 speed on a 1.0 incline. Or you’ll do 60 reps on each machine you do. Or that you’ll take the time to try and learn 3 new machines that seem daunting and difficult. By the end of you’re workout, you won’t leave feeling unsatisfied!
But all in all, don’t be too hard on yourself! My roommate reminds me saying that I’m “lapping everyone sitting on the couch“. And that couldn’t be more true!
If you aren’t a member of the gym and are a big fan of never leaving the house (like me!), check out PopSugar Fitness on YouTube for some great workouts!
I do find that after a frustrating day at work, I leave the gym feeling much more calm and energized. Horray for endorphins! Not to mention a confidence boost! You do you, people!
Until next time!