It’s almost time to start the New Year which means it’s also time to think about your New Year’s Resolution. Like most people, you’ve probably chosen to get more fit in 2017, which is great! The problem is that, also for most people, there’s a good chance that this resolution won’t make it to February. If you really want to make a habit out of going to the gym, this list will help you do it.
1. Buy a gym membership
This might seem obvious, but it is also crucial! Even if you have access to a free gym in your neighborhood, apartment building or even at your college, you should not skip this step. First of all spending money on a membershipwill guilt you into using it. If you don't go, you're wasting your money and this will help motivate you. Secondly, most free gyms don't have enough equipment to help you develop as a frequent gym member. This will limit you to some cardio and a few weighted exercises whereas a normal gym will not only have more tools for you but also more space to work out.
2. Get cute and comfortable athletic clothing
When you look good, you feel good. This is also true with athletic wear which means some new clothing could encourage you to go to the gym if only so you can show it off! Feeling good in the gym will reinforce positive feelings at the gym, so you'll be more likely to keep your resolution all year long (and hopefully beyond that).
3. Lift Weights
Let's all be honest: cardio sucks. But if you're trying to lose weight, cardio burns fat and is therefore necessary. However, it shouldn't be the only thing you do at the gym. If you're trying to tone weight lifting, with the help of cardio, is the way to go. The free weight section may seem daunting to some girls who don't want to bulk up, but don't be fooled! Bulky men and women have worked extremely hard to become that way through their training regimen and diet. You won't wake up with bulging biceps just because you do bicep curls a couple of times a week. If you really want to tone, a healthy balance of weight training and cardio will do the trick.
4. Choose your training split
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It gets boring when you do the same six machines at the gym everyday. Plus, it's not really great for your muscles either. Make sure decide how to split up your muscle groups so you don't work the same ones everyday. One of the more popular splits for beginners is to divide your muscles by body parts. For example: arms, shoulders, legs, chest, back. This way, your arm muscles have four days to rest before its time to work them out again. Another common option is the "Push, Pull, Legs" method. This system divides your workouts by the excercise itself. If a movement requires you to pull, like a bicep curl, you would do it on the same day as a deadlift, which requires you to pull a weighted barbell up from the ground. Push days normally include shoulder and bench pressing and most tricep excercises. Having a workout split is not only good for your muscles, but it also helps keep you from getting bored in the gym because you have different muscles to hit every day.
5. Make a plan
The worst feeling in the gym is not knowing what you're doing. So, after you've chosen your split, figure out what you're going to do that day. If you're hitting legs, make sure you know enough exercises to keep you busy and always have backups! The squat racks are not always available, so you might be waiting around for them. Make sure that time is put to use with other workouts. Bodybuilding.com is a great resource and you can screenshot the pictures on their website to double check your form compared to the demonstrators on the website. If you know how you want to workout, you avoid any awkward feelings of just standing around and, on top of that, you look like a pro.
6. Try not to feel self-conscious
As a first-time gym member, most people feel like they're being judged by everyone else so much that they can't even focus on their workout. While this is a common feeling, it's also not true. Everyone at the gym is trying to better themselves, just like you. While you may think the buff guy at the benchpress is staring at you, it's more likely that he's staring at himself in the mirror. Gyms tend to be judgement-free (and not just Planet Fitness). But while some people may complain that the squat rack is taken or there are no free benches because of the "Resolutioners," the only way to prove that you aren't also a resolutioner is to keep coming back all year long.