For many people that don't consider themselves to be athletes or even remotely athletic, going to the gym can seem like an impossible task. The reason many do not join is that they feel they don't know where to start or they will embarrass themselves and look silly.
Before setting foot in a gym you can try bodyweight exercises at home in your living room, bedroom, basement, or even your backyard. Attempting bodyweight exercises is a great way to learn how your body responds to exercise, find your weaknesses and strengths, and build enough strength to lift weights with proper form.
I cannot stress enough how important is to listen to your body and recognize what is a "good" pain from working your muscles, and which is a "bad" pain that could mean injury.
Some ideas for your home workout:
This a great workout as the first step to a full gym schedule. The first week at the gym is going to be scary and you may feel awkward or out of place but with practice, your self-confidence will grow! Machines are a great option for beginners because often they have diagrams detailing where you can adjust the machine for your size and a picture of the proper form for each exercise. I know the gym I currently go to, Planet Fitness has QR codes on each machine you can scan.
You can quickly and easily watch a video of how to properly do the exercise. A common fear people have is looking silly and this discrete form of information can help you feel like an expert before even attempting the exercise.
Another great option is free group training which large gyms like Planet Fitness offer. I personally attended one of these sessions to see what it was like and even though I already knew how to do the exercises I found it extremely helpful to have a personal trainer critique my form.
Group exercise classes like Zumba, Pilates, and Kickboxing are fun workout options too! A group setting with others that are like yourself may reduce your anxiety and give feelings of belonging!
If you have some money to spend on equipment to workout at home, resistance bands are a great and relatively inexpensive option! You can also get kettlebells, dumbbells, and other fitness equipment for really cheap at a store like Five Below.
You can begin weightlifting at home by putting a video on or blasting some music and following a routine! I love working out along with fitnessblender.com because they have so many customizable options based on the area of the body you are looking to target, equipment you have and the amount of time you want to dedicate to your workout.
I feel like the best way to avoid feeling uncertain what to do next or silly at the gym is to have a plan. I like to either write the workout down on a piece of paper or in a note on my phone if you are familiar with the names of the exercises. Another option is to screenshot Pinterest or other workouts with diagrams and refer to those for each exercise. Workout labs on Pinterest have a ton of different exercise routines for different areas of the body and give rep and set suggestions which can be helpful for beginners.
Weightlifting is an individual journey and what you choose to do is all about preference. You may find that bodyweight exercises work best for you or you could fall in love with powerlifting. It is so important to incorporate resistance training into a balanced exercise program with cardiovascular and flexibility training for optimal health. Correct form is the most important part of weightlifting. It is also really important to recognize when something doesn't feel right and to take care of your body after a workout. There are so many resources online at your fingertips, from blogs with fitness tips to YouTube videos showing proper exercise form.
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