Join a gym!

In Get Moving by Tanya0 Comments

In my humble opinion, joining a gym is one of the best things I have done for myself. I was against it at first and had lots of reasons not to do it.  But now that I am a member I don’t know what I was waiting for!!  I thought I should share some of my reasons for NOT wanting to do it and why I have now changed my mind.

1. It’s too expensive.
Cost was always my #1 reason for not joining a gym or fitness center. I always felt like it was too much money and that it wouldn’t be worth it. Also, where would I find an extra $40 a month?

Well I have since realized that it’s all about priorities.  Once I made exercise a priority, the cost didn’t seem so high.  I used to eat fast food a couple times a week. If you assume you spend about $5 a meal, that’s $10 a week or $40 a month. There’s my monthly fee! Cut out fast food and you can afford the gym!  Sure it is $40 all at once instead of $5 here and there but it still costs you the same over all.

I have since found so many other little things that I was spending that I didn’t need to be spending. Cut back on the lattes and drive thru breakfasts.  Cut back on how often you get your hair or nails done. Shop at a less expensive grocery store.  Cancel net flix. Drop your HD channels. Lower your cell plan. There are always options.

I know some of these things may feel like necessities. Some do to me too. My point is that now the gym membership has become more important to me than other things that used to be so important.

2. I can work out at home.
Why should I pay for a gym membership when I can just work out at home?  First of all, working out to a DVD can be really boring!  It gets monotonous doing the same thing over and over.  I also think doing it at home makes it easier to put it off because you can do it “anytime” so there is no sense of urgency.

In addition, I think I work out harder at the gym. Group fitness classes are awesome and the instructors really keep me going and push me to work harder than I would on my own.

Lastly, you get variety at the gym!  You can take a class, use a treadmill or stairmill or elliptical, swim, ride a bike, walk or run on a track, lift weights, etc.  Do you have all those options at home?  It’s important to experiment with your workouts. You have to try multiple things to figure out what you like and you want to keep it interesting!  If you get bored you will be more likely to give up.

3.  It’s inconvenient.
Yes, it can be at times.  I admit that. But it’s also pretty inconvenient to be unhealthy and overweight. It is not easy shopping in specialty stores, having a hard time fitting in a booth at a restaurant or a bathroom stall, or getting winded after walking for just a few minutes.  Those things are all inconvenient too.

In addition, you don’t see it as much of an inconvenience when you really WANT to do something.  You can find ways to make it more convenient.  Pick a gym near your home or office. Pick somewhere on your way home. Pick somewhere with extended hours.  Find a place with changing rooms and keep clothes in your car so you can go anytime.  You have to do everything in your power to make it easier for you.  Set yourself up for success instead of failure!

4.  Going to a gym is scary.  
I hear that!  I was completely terrified the first time I walked into the gym!  I was scared of everything.  I was scared of looking stupid, of not knowing what to do, and scared of failing.

Do you know how long that lasted?  About 2 visits!  That’s right…within a week I was feeling comfortable with the basics and was ready to experiment with new machines and classes.  You just have to take that first step!  How do you get over the fear?  There’s really no easy way around it.  You just have to do it!

Start out with something easy.  Don’t be intimidated by the big guys lifting weights or the skinny women in fancy/tight workout gear.  For every person at the gym that looks like a pro, there’s another person struggling even worse that you!  You will see everything from spandex to pajama pants.

I also recommend checking out the gym BEFORE joining.  Take a tour and check out the facilities and crowd.  If you feel like you are at a singles bar, it may make working out a little difficult!  Pick a facility that has lots of different options so you don’t get bored.  You don’t just want a room with treadmills…you could do that at home.  You want a place with LOTS of options!

5.  I don’t know what I’m doing!
You can learn!   My first time on an elliptical, I couldn’t figure out how to get the display to come on.  I consider myself intelligent enough to work a cardio machine but I couldn’t figure it out to save my life.  Finally I had to ask someone on another machine what I was doing wrong.  It was so simple…you have to start using it before the display turns on.  Doh!  Well, I was embarrassed at first but I once I got going, I really didn’t care anymore.  If that other person thought I was stupid, she didn’t show it.  She smiled and politely gave me the answer.  We were all new at some point!!

It also really helped me to have an orientation.  Not only did it expose me to new machines, it also allowed me to meet a staff member at the gym.  Now I know there is someone I can go to with questions who will be kind and helpful.  Even if you know how the machines work, you can always learn something from an orientation.  No one knows everything!

Lastly, I say again that you should just do it!  Why do we worry so much about looking silly?  Have you ever watched kids play?  They don’t think twice about “looking cool.”  We shouldn’t worry about that either!  We are at the gym to be healthy. We are not there to look hot and demonstrate perfect form on the equipment – leave that to the trainers!  Just try it and it will get easier.  Practice makes perfect!

6. I’m too out of shape.
That’s the point!  You don’t wait to go to a gym once you are in shape! You go to a gym to get in shape and then stay in shape!  That’s like taking your car to the shop when it is running perfectly and NOT taking it when it’s making odd noises or running sluggish…like your body runs sluggish when you are not in shape!

As I said earlier, QUIT WORRYING about how you will look to others.  Trust me…no one cares what you are doing.  I don’t say that to sound rude, but it’s true.  When I’m working out, I’m worried about myself and I am not paying attention to what other people are doing.  I’m worried about not falling off the treadmill…I’m certainly not worried about how well your outfit fits or if your face is red.

You can go at your own pace.  If you are out of shape but you can walk for 10 minutes, go walk for 10 minutes!  Maybe you can ride a bike at a slow pace for 10 minutes.  Whatever you CAN do, do that!  Don’t worry about keeping up with anyone else.  Do what you can do and then next time do a little more.  Someday you will be the person that other people are intimidated by – can  you imagine that?!

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