The most difficult part of going to the gym is, well, going to the gym. Not to mention, trying not to get intimidated by the gym rats that look like they're doing the absolute most to prove how much of a gym junkie they were.
Figuring out your fitness routine and what works for you can take time.
To help jump start the process, here's an all inclusive cheat sheet on what you need to know to get started at the gym (or at least help you pretend you know exactly what you're doing- fake it 'till you make it)
1. Creating a Workout Plan
Before I start anything new, I like to read up on it and create a plan around it. I find that it helps me get motivated to start and gives me a better idea. Here's what to do when forming your plan:
Focus on Equilibrium
There are many studies out there that show the best fitness plans include both equal cardio and weights.
Also, you want to make sure you aren't focusing one part of the body over the other. For example, focusing all on back but no chest, not only makes you look "unsymmetrical" but it can lead to problems with posture.
Tip: Start by separating workouts into upper body, lower, and core. Then, key in on muscle groups within each, and find workouts focused on those. My favorite ways to find workouts is following fitness Instagram accounts and trying the posted workouts myself (I love @linlowes and @stef_fit)
Change Reps every few weeks
Try starting with low reps with higher weights (4-6 reps/ set) and moving on to higher reps with a little less weight (12-15 reps/ set).
When I did this, I saw as my body got stronger I could handle doing more reps and eventually built more muscle and burned off fat.Then doing lower weights at higher reps helped me tone up the muscle I had built.
Tip: Do the exercises that workout the most muscles first, then move on to focusing on specific muscle groups. It helps activate your muscles and save your strength for when you need it
Actually writing/saying what you want to accomplish makes it way more likely to happen. Focus on things like:
How many times a week you want to workout and for how long
Focus on kale not the scale- Instead of micromanaging your weight loss, evaluate your lifestyle choices that will better the results of your workout (diet, sleeping habits, alcohol intake,etc.) Weight Loss will follow.
2. The power of statements
Changing the way you think about things tricks you into actually doing it.
Instead of " I'll try to go to the gym sometime" think "I will go to the gym today." It's a little thing that goes a long way.
You have to be able to control your thoughts to stick with your routine or you'll subconsciously come with every excuse not to go.
(I once asked my roomie to come with me to the gym for about the 10th time that semester and, in her PINK Active leggings, stared me dead in the face and said "Sorry, I literally have no workout clothes. Maybe next time." Smh.)
3. Go to the gym
As I said before, the hardest part of going to the gym, is actually going to the gym. Force yourself not to skip a day and actually go.
The only way to find out what works for you and to get results is to be consistent and keep trying. Some hacks to motivate you into going:
Take a friend
Create a playlist that gets you pumped
"Like a Baws" on spotify is the go to for lifting.
Try a trainer
A lot of gyms offer free trials with a trainer, so there's no loss in trying. Plus it makes you commit to another person's time.
Focus on what you want to accomplish at the gym and use this as a guide to get you there. Even baby steps are progress, so don't be afraid of anything new and keep grindin'!