Have you ever walked into a gym and felt completely overwhelmed? Did you feel uneasy and self-conscious because you thought that everyone was in great shape and you weren’t?
If you are one of these people, do not worry! I have spoken to many people who have felt the same way; completely intimidated by the gym atmosphere. What is all of this equipment? What am I supposed to do with that machine? Which muscles are these machines supposed to work? How do you work these things? What are all of these buttons supposed to do? Look at how much that person is lifting! I’m going to look funny standing beside them lifting 5 lbs!!
If you are a complete beginner to exercise or have forgotten how to train because it’s been years since you stepped foot into a gym, then starting an exercise program can be an overwhelming adventure. But before you throw in the towel, just remember: fitness can be fun, as long as you have an open mind and are willing to try new exercises, machines, and programs. Remember, all of those experts in the fitness industry had to start somewhere too!
If you try to do too much, too soon, you will end up with muscle soreness, fatigue, or possible injuries. When you first start a new exercise program, you will need to work at your own level. Start out slowly and then progressively increase the time and intensity of your workout program as your body progresses. Remember that the typical slogan "No pain, no gain" does not apply to an exercise program! Getting fit does not happen overnight, it happens over time. Do not expect immediate and dramatic changes to your body shape and size. Although changes are happening internally, many of the external benefits won’t become visible until four to six weeks into your exercise program.
If you do not have a fitness background and you’re not keen on trying to figure out an exercise program by yourself, then it may be in your best interest to hire someone who knows what they are doing; a certified personal trainer. Certified personal trainers are fitness professionals that can help you get going in the right direction. They can introduce you to the fitness equipment at the facility you train at, they can set you up on a program designed to meet your own personal goals and needs, and they can also be a support system to ensure that you stick to your exercise program and don’t get bored.
Many fitness facilities offer free weight-room orientations. These are basic programs that help you become more familiar with the gym, its equipment, and facilities. Try to take advantage of this membership perk; after all, it is already included in your membership costs. Once you feel that you want to take the next step, then hire a certified personal trainer. A one hour training session with a certified personal trainer will cost anywhere from $25-$75 depending on what they offer, their experience in the industry, and how many sessions you purchase at once.
Think of fitness as a lifetime commitment. If you need help, then seek someone knowledgeable in the industry and ask for their guidance. The last thing you want to do is get frustrated with an exercise program, see no results, injure yourself, and not have fun.
***Please note: Before starting any exercise program, please check with your physician.
Melanie Pitts is a certified fitness instructor and trainer with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. Melanie is currently teaching Business and Fitness classes at Hannam University in S. Korea