Gyms are intimidating but I finally did it. After months of going back and forth, I cracked down and purchased a gym membership. I signed the dotted line on my contract and began mentally listing my fitness goals; Toned arms, legs of steel and a butt to die for. But behind the excitement was a little voice of doubt.
“Do I know what I’m doing?”
“Am I going to stick to this?”
“Will I see results?”
These doubts simply came from the fear of the unknown. That’s the thing with new beginnings and being out of your comfort zone. You never really know what to expect. That feeling alone will make your mind run wild with what if’s. I’ve only been working out consistently for the last four weeks, but here are some things I wish I would’ve known before I started.
The More You Move Your Body, the More You Should Eat.
One thing that I didn’t expect after upping my fitness game was the increase in my grocery bill. Y’all, I get HUNGRY. But I mean, it makes sense right? You’re burning calories, you’re sweating your butt off and you’re working up an appetite. Starting a new exercise program or adding new challenges to your present routine may require that you up your caloric intake in order to recover from workouts and keep energy levels full. I don’t care to calorie count but I try to stay away from junk food and eat more whole, nourishing meals. I exercise because I love my body and want to stay fit and healthy. It makes sense to eat for the same reasons.
(* I want to point out that there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every now and then and eating whatever your heart desires. If I deprive myself of nice things, I start to feel like I’m “punishing” myself. No bueno.)
There Will Be Days You Will Hate Working Out.
I hit the gym or attempt to be active three-four times a week. Most of time, my gym day falls on my day off from work. Not the best combo. I’m a big time nap taker. I’ll pass up almost anything to take a nap instead. Often time, my bed is just so much more appealing than anything else being offered. That’s life. It’s ok to take days off. Listen to your body, but don’t let your entire routine fall to the way side. If you find a workout combo that excites you; something you’re proud your body can do, it’ll be easier to stay on track. For me, it’s squatting. Sumo squats, plié squats, weighted squats. Ya girl is trying to be a squat queen. When you enjoy an activity, it won’t feel so much like work.
You’ll Need to Find a Reason to Stay Motivated.
Why do you want to get active in the first place? That is a question you’ll need to have the answer to for those days you don’t feel like working out. It has to be a real reason too. Summer time fine isn’t always going to keep you motivated enough to go to the gym in the dead of winter. Neither will working out to fit into that little black dress. You have to have a meaningful reason that motivates you, gets you out of bed and keeps you on track. Is it to set a good impression for your family? Maybe to ward off feelings of depression? Or is it to just feel good about yourself? Whatever the reason, you don’t have to share it with the world. It just needs to mean something to you.
Don’t Let Fear Stop You From Trying Something New.
The area of the gym I am most nervous about being in is the free weight area. It’s full of muscle bound men curling 80lb dumbbells in almost perfect form. What if they make fun of the amount of weight I can handle? What if I didn’t have perfect form? To be frank, nobody cares if you’re lifting baby weights. Nobody cares about your work out, your routine, or how long you break in between sets. (unless they’re waiting on the machine you happen to be on.) You don’t have to be a health nut. Everybody is at the gym putting in work for the same reason; mostly to improve themselves.
In short, I’m just really excited about getting in shape and taking control of my body. Now if only I can get this patience thing down. *Does three sets of crunches and impatiently waits for abs to emerge.* Are you on a fitness journey? Have you taken the plunge and joined a gym? What are some things you wish you knew before joining? I’d love to hear!