Adding exercise into your life can be something new
and unfamiliar for a lot of people. Many people don't know where to
start or what to do. The fitness floor at a gym can often be an
unfamiliar territory with a lot of weight and cardio machines that
seem as if they need an owner's manual just to operate.
Making the decision to start exercising and become
healthier is a great step in the right direction.
Get that gym membership and don't let those machines
Every person that you see at the gym was once new to
working out. Don't let not knowing how to work a machine or what
muscle to work stop you from going to the gym.
Most gyms have an employee that will show you around and
explain the machines. It's sometimes just a basic tour but at least
you'll get an idea of which machine does what.
A lot of the cardio machines are self explanatory. When
you're first starting out at the gym, all you need to do is push
the "quick start" button and you'll be on your way. As you get the
feel of the cardio machines, you can play around with the
resistance and incline.
Treadmills, for example, let you change the incline so
that you are walking uphill. You'll soon learn that walking at an
incline is a lot harder than walking on a flat treadmill. It'll be
harder which means you'll be able to burn more calories and really
work those glutes!
The employees at the fitness desk have knowledge of the
machines and are there to help you. If you need help setting up a
program on the elliptical or treadmill, just ask! This is their job
and they're there to offer assistance.
The cardio equipment - bikes, treadmills, elliptical, etc.
often have set programs that are really easy to use. You can choose
a weight loss program, a fat burning program, an interval program
and many more. A quick tip: If you can't get the machine to start,
just start using it. For example, a stationary bike might not turn
on until you physically start pedaling.
Weight machines are intimidating for some people. Most of
the weight machines have a picture on them showing you how to use
them. They usually also give simple instructions and show you what
muscles they are targeting. Once again, if you have a question
about how to use a weight machine, the gym staff should be happy to
Free weights are another great piece of equipment at the
gym. These are great for people new to strength training. You can
choose what weight selection you want to use and they don't provide
assistance like some of the machines do.
When using weights it's important to make sure that you
have correct form. Having correct form is more important than how
much weight you lift so that you don't get hurt.
If you really want to start strength training, but
really have no idea where to start, hiring a personal trainer can
be beneficial. They can show you which exercises to do, the correct
form, how to use the machines and how much weight to lift. Hiring a
personal trainer is a great investment in your health and
A lot of gyms also offer group fitness classes. Even
though you might be intimidated to take a group fitness class,
these are a great place to start. They will help you learn the
basics of certain exercises and the instructor can make sure your
form is correct. They are also a great place to make friends and
One of the biggest challenges of joining a gym is actually
finding the time to go. If you work and have kids, then you know
time is precious. It's important to find time for yourself to
workout and stay healthy and happy. Treat your workouts like
appointments - write them on the calendar and don't skip
If you have children, find a gym that offers child care.
Many gyms offer child care for little or no cost. If you have a
spouse that is home in the mornings, try waking up earlier than
normal and going to the gym. Or try going right after work. If you
pack your workout clothes in a gym bag or put them on right when
you get home, you'll be more likely to go to the gym.
Joining a gym has lots of benefits. Working out is not
only good for your heart and body; it's also a great stress
reliever. The more you go to the gym, the easier it'll get and the
more you'll look forward to working out.
Heather Holtz is a fitness and health enthusiast who lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two boys. She blogs at Run Eat Play about fitness, food, and family.
See more of Heather's stories here.
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