HEALTH AND FITNESS

A Mom's Guide To Her First Time At The Gym

Tuesday, April 25, 2017



Summer is upon us, which usually means a lot of people will be hustlin' for that "beach body". Most moms would familiar with this feeling - you don't even have to wait around for summer especially if you're a new mom, since a lot of us start wanting it as soon as we see that deflated belly that looks more like a war zone after birth, hahaha! You know what I'm talking about, craving for your pre-pregnancy body is perfectly natural and very common *hug*

WELCOME TO THE GYM!
So, if you're a mom who recently signed up for a gym membership - congrats on taking a step towards getting fitter (note: NOT necessarily slimmer *wink*) I remember walking into a gym back in college and I felt like a fish out of water - I was clueless, intimidated, and just felt so out of place. Fast forward to a little over a year ago when I decided to take weight management seriously, I joined my husband on his weekend workouts (we're nanny-less, and the grandmom can only babysit on weekends). For the last 8 months, I've been going even on weekdays since we've thankfully managed to work on a sched to take babysitting shifts.

Feb 2016 - First time back at a gym since college LOL
In any case, I've seen countless new gym members who remind me of my first few visits at a gym - also looking clueless, intimidated and lost. Well, if you're one of those, I hope these can help you get started, and ultimately, stay motivated to keep on track :)

1) RESEARCH - Online information is abundant and free. USE IT. Check for beginner's workouts, which to do for which goal, how to do those exercises, how much of them to do, etc. This will help you gain an idea of what you will be encountering and help you be more effective in working towards your specific, personal goals. Some good sources you might want to check is Bodybuilding.com - they have narratives and clips of how to do exercises, tons of free programs, plus a forum where people share workouts that worked for them. You may also want to check Youtube.com. One of the first people I followed with simple enough sample programs is Heidi Somers (below), but there are a ton others that are very helpful as well.


2) HAVE A PLAN - This is probably one of the most important points that will not only help you feel more confident walking into a new environment, but it will also help you use your time more efficiently and more productively - a.k.a. no senseless wandering around feeling like all eyes are on you. If your gym offers a free personal trainer service for the first few visits, take advantage - ask about equipment use, pay attention to the basic program or exercises you will be taught, etc. If this isn't offered, Google for beginner's workout plan and bring it with you so you have an idea of the general flow that your session will have.


3) WEAR SOMETHING COMFORTABLE - The last thing you want is to feel self conscious and tugging down skimpy shorts, pulling up your sports bra, or having your clothes restrict your movement in any way. Cute gym clothes can be a good motivation, but comfort over fashion on this one, k?

4) WARM UP  - Seriously, even long-time gym goers forget the importance of warming up & stretching. Whether you only plan to start with simple cardio on the treadmill or dip your feet in weight lifting, start out with a warm up. It will build a good habit, mentally prepare you, and most importantly, prevent injuries.

5) EASE YOUR WAY INTO PROGRESS  - If you're a beginner, even if you're not a mom, male/female/young/old - whoever - don't feel intimated or pressured to keep up with the other people you see there. If you see someone impressive and for some reason it makes you feel like a loser of some sort (which is wrong, but like I said, I know the feeling) - KEEP IN MIND THAT THEY WERE ONCE BEGINNERS TOO. They all started off where you are now and you need to focus on your own progress - it's not a competition in there.

Ask for help when needed & take it slow
6) FORM AND TECHNIQUE IS KEY - In relation to #3, master your form and technique before piling on the weights or ramping up the speed (for cardio exercises). With weightlifting especially, you may get tired or sore, but you may not hit your intended target muscle/s correctly. Master the proper form and technique and not only will you keep injuries at bay, but you will get more optimal results as well.

7) DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK - Approach the staff or a trainer on duty if you need help figuring out how to use certain equipment or how to do a certain exercise. If they aren't available, ask another member - it's nothing to be shy about. I have never met a member in any of the gyms I've been to, who will snub you to your face or get annoyed for being asked for quick help.

8) GO WHEN YOU HAVE THE MOST ENERGY - I put this on last because I know how schedules can be tricky as a mom, whether you have a full time job at the office, work at home, or you're a full time stay-at home mom without house help or a nanny (#TeamNoNanny FTW!). But since you managed to sign up for a membership, I'm assuming a certain level of commitment here - LOL. In any case, if you do have the luxury of arranging your schedule, maybe you can go early in the morning before the rest of your to-do is underway, or at night if you feel more at ease to go after everything else is done. If you DON'T have the luxury of choosing a timselot (basically me haha), having a filling meal with enough carb and protein at least 2 hours before you intend to go should help with packing some energy.




Stay fit, stay motivated, and stay safe, folks!


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