Learning the Fitness Ropes

Learning the Fitness RopesA gym membership isn’t going to be any help to your weight loss if you aren’t going to use it, but some people have a serious aversion to hitting the gym and locker room. Many adults still experience gym class flashbacks—nightmares from when you tried with all your might to climb that rope in front of your friends to no avail, or memories of being the last one to finish the lap around the track.

Your history with physical fitness may have been rough, but it doesn’t have to leave a lasting impression. The gym is there to help men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes improve their health and build their strength. It is there for you to use too—you just need to get yourself there to see what is going on.

Prepping for the Gym

Being prepared for the gym can improve your overall workout experience. This doesn’t just mean having a good pair of shoes and loose clothing—though that is the best place to start. Prepping for a workout is both physical and mental. Before you head to the public sphere it pays to take some time and figure out what you plan to do when you get there.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before putting on your sneakers:

  • What part of your body do you want to focus on today? Your answer may include your upper body, lower body or core.
  • How long do you plan on staying at the gym? Well-defined time limits will help you maximize your workout.
  • Is there a schedule to consult? A lot of gyms offer classes and personal training sessions that are included with your membership. Check those out to see if there is one that sounds good for you.

Once you have these questions answered, you can create your workout plan. A good way to organize your workout is to split it up into two sections: cardio and strength training. Before starting either of these you can take a few minutes to stretch and warm up, and then at the conclusion of your workout you can cool down with a couple of simple stretches again.

Most gyms have stretch areas that are dedicated to warming up and cooling down. If you live within walking distance of your gym, then walking to and from will suffice.

Keep in mind that gyms are usually filled with like-minded people. Most the people you will come across at the gym will be thinking about their health and fitness goals—not yours. Don’t assume people are judging you or watching you. Stick your headphones on and do your best to concentrate on the task at hand. A positive attitude toward improving your health will give you the best results.