Confession: when I first started working in a gym I didn't really know what I was doing and for the longest time I avoided the free weight area except to clean it. Because I was a beginner.
I had a very basic idea of how things worked from previous occasionally used gym memberships, but I'd never actually taken the time to really learn. For years I'd had an interest in becoming a personal trainer (makes total sense right?) and jumped at the opportunity to become a wellness coach at my local YMCA where I had been shadowing one of their trainers. My boss had just got done showing me how all of the machines worked and then told me to just play around with the equipment and get to know it. When I got to the leg curl machine I could not figure out how to get the doohickey to move the thing to get the whatchamacallit to do the stuff! A member ended up showing me how to use it and I was just like...
I made a good choice here.
I'll totally be able to teach members how to use these machines.
Every single one.
So that whole being a beginner thing? I totally get it!
It's really intimidating when you walk into a gym and there's all of these weighted hunks of metal and machinery that if used incorrectly could hurt you or maybe kill you a little (I'm exaggerating! Mostly). Then on top of that you're surrounded by people that obviously know how to use the possible injury death tools and you're just like...I'm not about to make a fool of myself. Nuh uh. NOPE!
So you play it safe and hop on a treadmill because at least all you have to know for that is to hit the "start" button. But then after a little bit the treadmill gets boring. Here's where your choice comes in. You could:
-leave the gym and say "hey, that was a solid 20 minutes and I've earned myself a break" thinking maybe you'll try something else the next day, but don't end up going back.
-ask someone for help (hint hint pick this one).
There are trainers or gym attendants there specifically to help you! Honestly, a lot of the time, if you ask someone else who is nearby working out how to use something they will probably help you. Suggestion: just try not to ask them while they are in the middle of an exercise.
Here's another tidbit.
Those people in the gym that look like they know exactly what they are doing were once beginners-just like you.
They didn't come busting out of the womb knowing the perfect form for a deadlift or how to do a proper push up. They had to figure it all out, and it's likely that they asked for help. And probably still do.
I've been a trainer for 5 years and have an exercise science degree and I still constantly look to other trainers and coaches so that I can learn more.
There is something I feel I need to mention, though.
If you're new to working out and the idea of going into a gym just does not seem enjoyable/makes you want to cry/has you reconsidering exercising at all or you've done it before (and gave it a fair chance) and you just really didn't like it...that's okay!
The cool thing about trying to live a healthier lifestyle is that you get to choose what
you actually like to do to be fit. So if you like dancing try out a Zumba class. If you like to hit things maybe you should try out a kickboxing class or some form of martial arts. If you don't like working out alone you can get a workout buddy or take a class.
There are SO many options out there!
The most important thing you can do to work exercise into your life is find something you enjoy.
As long as you're getting in some cardio (stronger heart and
lungs and improved sleep) and resistance training (building muscle and strong bones and improved mental health) and some kind of mobility training (better balance and coordination and maintaining range of motion in your joints) you are golden.
Sidenote: all of those benefits listed are just the tip of the iceberg.
Starting your health and wellness journey can seem super overwhelming, especially when it comes to the exercise aspect of things. The key is to not let your lack of knowledge keep you from doing something. No one knows exactly how to do something when they've never done it before. Sure, you can watch people doing it, watch videos of people doing it, you can even have someone tell you exactly how to do something and demonstrate, but until you do it yourself you're not going to KNOW like you need to know. So start out where you're at. It's okay to be a beginner!
If you want to start taking better care of yourself, but you're not sure how to start-hit me up! Having a coach is so helpful. The difference between trying to do it by yourself and having someone there to hold you accountable, encourage you, and give you guidance is huge! I'm not saying that because I am a coach, I'm saying that because I have a coach and I know the difference it has made. Take the leap!