The gym can be an intimidating place. There’s nothing scarier than stepping into that health club you finally brought yourself to join, just to see all the regulars grunting as they sprint on their treadmills, hoist up their barbells and mingle with each other between sets. You’re the newbie, and you can approach this situation one of two ways; with worry or with spunk.
The best way to combat your gym jitters is to walk in with a plan. The last thing you want to do when you’re trying to get into an exercise routine is to approach it aimlessly. Don’t be that guy or girl who walks into the gym, blindly glances around and then wanders from machine to machine for a few minutes, feeling discouraged and unsatisfied at the end of another brief and unorganized workout. Coming up with a blueprint for your workout will give you more direction and a better work ethic in the gym. It doesn’t have to be an expertly drawn out master plan, and you don't have to sacrifice . Just have enough to be able to walk in with an agenda, crank it out, and leave feeling happy with the work you put in. The more often you execute your workout plan, the more you will start to enjoy it and the more easily you will be able to get into a routine.
Have a checklist. If you don’t want to pay for a specially customized program, there are plenty of free resources online that provide professionally designed workout programs for beginners. I personally enjoy knowing exactly which exercises to perform during a training session, with a specific number of sets and reps. But this, by no means, has to be where you start. If you don’t want as much specificity when you’re just starting out, try choosing three or four “big picture” tasks to complete in the gym. You could, for example, affirm that during your next workout, you’ll dedicate 10 minutes to cardio, 20 minutes to machines, and 10 minutes to cool-down and static stretching. Little by little, you might want to add a bit more precision to your plan, at your own pace, once you feel yourself getting more comfortable in the gym. You could, for example, break those machines down into major muscle groups; those 20 minutes could, for example, consist of 10 minutes of chest muscles and 10 minutes of back muscles. Learn how your body responds to different types of exercise and construct a plan that you can enjoy.
If you want to become a familiar face at the gym, remember that the first step is your plan. Before you know it, you’ll be a regular. Everyone had to start somewhere, and if you come in with a good attitude, people will respect your grind. Trust the process and on the days that you’re lacking motivation, remind yourself why you started in the first place. Now, make yourself a plan, put those headphones in, get out there and begin the journey to a fitter you!