I love working out now – but I haven’t always felt comfortable at the gym. I believe fitness is for anyone who wants it. So I want to make sure you have what you need to feel comfortable at the gym (if you aren’t already)! Read on for five things mindset changes I’ve made at the gym since I started working out. Fortunately I came to these realizations along the way, but let me help you speed along the process!
- Ask for help when you need it. Pay a trainer, find a friend who knows more than you, or search for someone on YouTube who knows their stuff. The body is a complicated structure, but you can learn everything you need to know about it by doing your own research. Every bit of your workout will be more effective the more you know about how the body is actually working. A fitness professional (in person or online, free or paid) can help you develop your workout plan, perfect your form, and FEEL every exercise the way you should. If you go to the gym and feel like you didn’t do anything – you probably didn’t. Even the simplest body weight exercise can be so effective when you engage the right muscles. Whether you’re barely getting started with a workout routine or you’ve been at it for years, there’s always something you can learn. Start with a Google search for ‘strength training for women’ or ‘tricep exercises’ or ‘what to do at the gym’ and go from there. Use your best judgement because not all the info out there is correct – but you’ll know what’s good when you see it.
- Do every exercise so you FEEL it. Form over heavy weight every time. Moving slowly through an exercise until you have your form down is okay, and can even be a fun way to mix up the cadence of your workouts once you’re more advanced. If something doesn’t feel right, stop and readjust! If something hurts, definitely stop and figure out why before continuing. Maybe your form is off, or you have an injury, or there is an imbalance in your body. Pain is never the goal during a workout – one of the huge benefits of working out is to feel good! Pain indicates something is off, so figure out why. Again, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a trainer, a doctor, a chiropractor, or another knowledgeable person you trust (Dr. Google is occasionally an okay choice for general info when you’re having an issue).
- Invest and get your wardrobe right. I know life isn’t all about looks – but looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. Especially if you feel uncomfortable at the gym, some workout clothes you feel good in can make all the difference. Do yourself the favor and invest in at least as many tops, bottoms, and undergarments as days per week that you work out. And get a pair of good neutral athletic shoes as your basic. Stick to a color theme so all your pieces can be mixed and matched and also go with your shoes. These are just wardrobe essentials y’all. Bonus – if you’ve never experienced compression active wear then TRY IT OUT. The tighter fit this provides in leggings can be such a godsend for women who struggle with feeling jiggly at the gym.
- Treat your body with respect. Don’t think mean thoughts about your body while it’s working so hard for you all the time. Even if you don’t look or perform like you dream to, this is still YOUR body we are talking about. You will never get a new one, so be grateful and work hard to get what you want. Treating your body with respect also means – don’t over-train! I worked out 6-7 (usually 7) days a week for 5-6 months when I first really got into it. Granted I was pumped and I had big goals and I was enjoying it – but I also was seriously stressing my body out. I realized that my back and legs ached when I would go to sleep, and then I had the epiphany that pain and exhaustion isn’t my goal! I want to look good AND feel good! Build rest days into your routine and don’t feel guilty or lazy about it. It’s like they say in yoga – savasana (laying still at the end) is the most important pose. Your rest day is when your body can collect itself, rebuild, and repair from past workouts. Not only do you get a mental break from the gym, but you also get a physical break which means you can go back in full force the next day.
- Be patient. Body composition changes won’t happen overnight, but they will happen if you are consistent. One of the reasons leading a healthy lifestyle is so rewarding is that when you do begin to see changes you can think to back to all the good decisions you made in the past. This will make you feel SO good about yourself, but it’s a feeling that only comes with time so enjoy the process. Good decisions will become a healthy habit, and seeing results will reinforce that habit. Stick to your nutritious foods, move your body a lot, cultivate positive thoughts about yourself and your future, and the changes you seek will come your way.
To recap, here are 5 big mindset changes I’ve made about the gym since I started working out.
Ask for help when you need it.
Do every exercise so you feel it.
Invest and get your wardrobe right.
Treat your body with respect.
If you’re a gym pro, I hope you resonate with these lessons that I’ve learned . If you’re new to working out, I hope these help you move confidently along on your fitness journey!