Sunday, 01 August 2021

F Faith and Fitness

Getting Over Your Fear Of The Gym And Working Out

Intimidated by the gym because of all the strange equipment, machines, silent rules and huge mean-looking guys? You are not alone. There are plenty of other people who avoid the gym on a daily basis just because they don't feel comfortable going.

One of the main reasons is due to intimidation. If you already don't feel comfortable with your body, how are you going to feel when you are surrounded by people who work out all the time?

There is no reason for you to avoid getting a good workout because you are embarrassed to go to the gym! Keep in mind that everybody has been in the same spot as you. Nobody was born with a perfect body.  Everybody has been right where you are at some point.  The people that go to the gym everyday had to start somewhere, just like you! And there are also people there who are just getting started as well.  Here are a few tips that will help you get over your fear of going to the gym.

1. Exercise Outside Of The Gym:

If you feel like you are way too out of shape and are simply too embarrassed to go to the gym at all, try exercising outside of the gym. You don't need a gym to go running or biking!  You don't need a gym to go walking or running. If you want to build some muscle, start doing some push-ups, squats, sit-ups, dips, lunges, etc at home every day. Go grab some exercise DVD's at your library or movie store for some good ideas. Once you feel more comfortable with your body image, it will be a lot easier to get back into the gym.

2. Bring The Gym To Your Home:

Look on Craigslist (or your local classifieds) for some great deals on used exercise equipment. You will be shocked to see some of the great deals you can get on a piece of equipment that was hardly used.  I bought a great weight set for about $100 that had everything I needed. It wasn't perfect, but it has lasted four years in the backyard and still works like new! Getting your own equipment can even have some advantages over the gym. You avoid the commute, the parking, the membership, etc. You might be more motivated to exercise if you know your equipment is in the basement rather than across town.

3. Select A Gym That Is Appropriate For You:

Choose a gym that is open when you want to go, has the equipment and classes that you need and is located close enough to your home so that it isn't too much effort to go. Also, there are probably more types of gyms than you think.  Most people picture a gym as a place with a bunch of weight sets and gym rats, but there are some which are far from that.  My gym is one where there are people who range in age from 12 years old to 78 years old!  There are firefighters, stay at home moms, nurses, doctors, teachers, office clerks, you name it!  Everyone is there for the same reason....working hard to get healthy and get results!  No one is there to compete or show off.  It is a great group of people who are very encouraging and uplifting to one another!

4. Avoid Peak Hours:

Try going at odd-ball times when nobody else is there. These hours vary from gym to gym, so call a few places and just ask. The attendant will just assume that you are trying to get a better workout and will tell you when the slowest times are. Unless you are speaking to a brand-new employee, any gym attendant will know what the slowest times are on their shift.  At my gym in college, the morning was the slowest time. If you went past 6PM, you usually had to wait in line. In some other gyms I have been to, it is a ghost town after 8PM. Go out of the way to avoid peak hours until you become more comfortable.

5. Don't Compare Your Body To Other People At The Gym:

This is much easier said than done, but is also very important. If you want to feel good about your body by comparing yourself to others, go to McDonalds.  While at the gym, simply stay focused on your own personal improvement and goals. It is really easy to find yourself comparing your body to someone else's. I would often look at the obviously fit people when I first started going to the gym.  I realized that their level is irrelevant to my own personal development, and thinking about it would only slow me down.  Remember not to be intimidated by the members who look like they are far beyond your wildest dreams; at one point, they were in the same place as you - a newbie to the gym! Personally, every time I see newbie just starting out in the gym, I get excited for them. I know that I was once in their shoes and if they keep at it, they will be very satisfied with the results! 

6. Don't Be Afraid To Try New Machines and exercise techniques:

Some machines look complicated, but don't let that stop you from utilizing them. You can usually figure them out by looking at the diagram. If there is no diagram, don't be afraid to ask for help.  If you are working with a personal trainer, they will help you. It's their job and they will be happy to help you and make sure you are utilizing it in the right manner.  There will also be exercises that you feel would be impossible for you to do.  You have to start somewhere!  I tell my clients daily when they feel they can't do a certain exercise...."it is a progression.  The more you do it, the stronger you become, and the better you will be able to do it!"

7. Always Keep Safety In Mind:

Don't lift weights that are too heavy for you. If you don't know how much you can lift, always try to make a conservative guess: don't overestimate. Start low and work your way up. Also, make sure you aren't dropping or slamming weights down unnecessarily. Not only is this annoying, it can cause damage to the weight room and the weights, but is also unsafe.  If you are working with a personal trainer they will guide you in this process.  They will assess your ability and strength and know what weight to start you with and how to have you progress with the weight.

9. Enjoy Yourself:

Although your first work outs will feel like a struggle, if you are consistent in working out they will become enjoyable.  Working out is great stress relief!  Although it can be a challenge, it can be enjoyable at the same time.  The gym is a great place to make friends and be encouraged! (and be an encourager!)

Always keep in mind that you have to start somewhere. Nobody was born with a perfect body, and nobody was born a master of the gym. Follow these rules to make the transition easy on yourself. Once you get into the gym a few times, you will feel a lot more comfortable going on a regular basis.

Starting is the hardest part, because it is a lot easier to keep it going once you get started. Once you are locked into a good routine, you will feel uncomfortable not going! How is that for a change?

Columnist: Kellye Davis Williams

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Kellye Davis Stellman is a personal trainer, gym owner, and certified Life Coach who focuses on the health and well being of her clients as well as coaching them to make positive changes that will impact the rest of their lives.  She helps them achieve their health and fitness goals as well as encourages them to strive for and achieve their “life goals” with her message of hope. 

Kellye resides in East Atlanta with her husband Keith.  She has 4 daughters and 3 grandchildren.  She is an active member of The Tabernacle Church.  In her spare time she loves traveling, spending time with her husband and daughters, shopping, and simply enjoying coffee with friends. 

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