Reddit is a terrific resource. They say Facebook is people you know saying uninteresting things while Reddit is people you don’t know saying interesting things. If you’re not familiar don’t let the reddit’s front page scare you off.
Create an account and then you can subscribe to amazing “subreddits” that cover topics like parenting, personalfinance and fitness. All comments are voted on so the most useful/interesting ones get pushed to the top while snarky trollish replies get down-voted to extinction. r/Askhistory is probably my favorite.
Over the weekend they had the topic in the r/fitness category What Did You Wish You Knew When You Started and with this being the new year and lots of gyms packed with newbies working on their resolutions I collected some of our favorites.
Here are our top ten this they don’t tell you when you join a gym.
1. They don’t tell you how rewarding it is. This goes way beyond just what you see in the mirror. This is about fighting depression, feeling energized, becoming a better parent and living a longer life.
2. Working your Back is most important. Forget your biceps or gluteus maximus. Get the back strong. This will help you avoid injury in and out of the gym. I had four herniated disks in my late twenties and still have degenerative issues. I swam and lifted my way to a place where I can be active painlessly (mostly).
3. Check your Ego Work on your form first. Every exercise has one correct way and dozens of incorrect ways. Don’t worry about how much you’re lifting. Just make sure it’s being done right.
4. Eating is important Know that when you lift or exercise vigorously you need to fuel your body. Even if your goal is not bodybuilding you never want to starve your body. It may seem counterproductive to a newbie but skipping a meal is a major offense to fitness professionals and will slow your metabolism.
5. Variety is important. Don’t allow yourself to get bored. In the beginning before you see the gains it’s easy to get into a rut by doing the same thing over and over. See a trainer or find a plan online that lasts 12 weeks do that then find another. Watch what the pros are doing in the gym and incorporate those as well.
6. Run fast rather than far. They often ask who looks better as marathoner or a sprinter. I blame a lot of my back issues on my long distance running days. Switch out some days on the elliptical for High Intensity Interval Training workouts.
7. Be Consistent. Make working out a habit. Don’t skip workouts or if you do, make sure you make up for it with some tortuous pushups sessions. Find a partner or download the LIFT app to make yourself accountable.
8. No one else in the gym cares what you’re doing. I think this his the biggest one for newbies Even before the days of smart phones, people are too busy looking at themselves in the mirror to notice your first week in the gym. By the time you’ve got a month under your belt, you’ll be too into your own goals to worry about it any longer.
9. Make your own goals and take a before Picture. Work on short term goals only. It’s great you may want to compete, but work on attendance goals first. Focus on the process. Taking a before picture will remind you that you’ve come a long way.
10. Most Gymrats aren’t Meatheads. It’s usually the case the most intimating people in the gym are the most helpful. That intimating stereotype has never been true. They love the gym and love to talk about it. Many of the people you see who look like they were born with weights in their hand were former overweight depression sufferers. Even meatheads just wanna be loved.
I feel like for me the biggest obstacle to joining a gym isn’t feeling intimidated or overwhelmed — it’s getting myself out the door and into the gym. I like your tips here, especially on variety. I often find gyms boring and would rather get my exercise walking or playing sports.
I hate all the gym stereotypes, sure a select few people might fit into the category, but they are definitely in the minority. There are all types of people that go to gyms, you can’t group them into one category (like anything). For me, once I get into the routine of going to the gym, then I’m hooked, it’s like the more you go the more addictive it is.
Ann Abbitz says
I used to go to gyms, wasn’t too impressed with the environment, so I just bought my own bike and an ab-Lounge a few years back and I go walk in the evenings with my daughter. I’ve been fairly consistent with using my bike and ab-lounge, and I think it’s because I can access it any time I want. It works for me, though there are some who need the gym setting. Just find what works best for you, and do it….whether it be at a gym or in your own home.