Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Some tips to help ease you into a regular gym routine

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(Mayank Mishra/Daily Collegian)

Walking in for the first time, you’re trying to talk to the front desk but have to ask the employee to repeat themselves over the slamming weights, the loud and aggressive grunts, the heavy music. You’re interested in joining a gym for any good reason; maybe you want to lose some weight, gain some muscle mass or just want to be more athletic. But as the sales representative is telling you about their various membership packages, all you can see are the large gym rats lifting more than your body weight with what looks like ease. All of a sudden this doesn’t seem like a such a good idea anymore.

‘Gymtimidation’ is a very normal and expected thing for beginners to experience. No one wants to look small and naïve in a room full of gym bros, only to be severely judged. So here are some tips and important facts to keep in mind when trying to hype yourself up to get into the weight-room!

Make a plan of attack. Many people feel queasy about going to the gym because they don’t know what to do once they’re there. This problem requires a simple fix: put together an action plan. You can form a plan in a couple ways. You can do research online, or get help from someone who knows more than you. Self-research is probably more time-consuming, and finding reliable sources is (unsurprisingly) difficult on the internet.

Being someone who got into fitness by doing my own research, I have stumbled across many bad websites and blogs, and a few good. For beginners, ‘A Workout Routine’ is a great website to get some basic info and ideas for exercises and routines. YouTube is also a great resource to educate yourself on exercises you are unfamiliar with. I would also recommend AthleanX’s channel as a great resource for understanding why you should or should not do certain exercises, learning new routines, form and the science behind it. You only need five or six basic exercises to get started on a solid routine!

Another option is to hire a trainer or train with a friend who is a regular gym-goer. Getting the advice from a frequent gym-goer about simple and effective exercises to start on can go a long way—and maybe get you a gym buddy to go with you the first few times. A trainer may be more beneficial because they are able to personalize a routine for you, as well as teach the form for each exercise. You do not need a trainer every time you go; save money by scheduling one session a week for the few weeks to help get you started.

Ask! Serious lifters may look intimidating, but they love to share their knowledge and are more than willing to help you learn. Those big guys and ladies may seem to be passing judgement on you, but in reality, they are happy you’re there. Every one of those regulars had a starting point; they were all beginners too. Most people in the fitness community are welcoming to newcomers and get excited to share what they know to help them reach their fitness goals (trust me, it’s an ego boost when someone comes to you for gym advice). If you’re unsure about how to correctly perform an exercise, ask and make a friendly gym acquaintance.

Commit to a time. Many people go when they are bored, or just “when I have time,” but that does not translate well into adherence. Make a weekly schedule and block out times in your day to go to the gym. Even by only going three times a week, you will see huge benefits! Remember, everyone has the time for improving their health; it’s only a matter of priorities.

Still don’t want to exercise on your own? Don’t just sit at home—join a class! Most gyms offer group fitness classes like CrossFit, BARRE, yoga and various dances. These can vary in levels of experience, so find one friendly to beginners!

The two most important things to keep in mind when starting a gym routine: (1) make a plan, and (2) remember that the regulars are friendly, helpful people. Hopefully these tips will help to alleviate your anxiety about getting into the gym and lifting some iron!

 

Nicholas Remillard can be reached at [email protected]

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