Anxiety. Doubt. Fear. Certain death. Embarrassment. Being awkward. Can’t get rid of that extra fat. Alone. The last time you tried was a nightmare.
Getting started is the hardest part of any fitness program. Other people make it look so easy. They just glisten and sparkle when they sweat, looking like a Gisele Bündchen selfie. Then there’s you, sweat pouring off as you grunt and groan in front of the trainer. This is just to get started and justifies a legitimate reason not to go try it out, right?
Nope! That is the exact reason you need to jump off the couch and head out to that new fitness class or training session. OK, maybe not the exact reason, but trading a lifetime of health because of a little embarrassment isn’t a valid reason. Your trainer doesn’t care how awkwardly you move or if you sweat like crazy. He or she is truly interested in getting you started on your fitness journey. They’re trained to work with beginners—yep, that’s you—and make them feel more comfortable in the gym as they learn and progress.
Here’s the catch, you have to be consistent with the program to get better at it. Fitness is like any other skill that you have to work at. If you continue this program with consistency, you will improve.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and everyone has been new to the gym at one point. You are the only thing standing between you and your potential self and a life with more possibilities. I’ve seen it happen countless times: fear takes over and freezes you so you avoid trying something you’ve been interested in. Then you feel guilty about not going and unworthy of the next class. It’s a vicious cycle that only you can break. So whether you’re new to the gym or heading back after a long break, here are a few tips to help you find the confidence, accountability or just the will to try!
- Go with a training partner. Consistency is key with any fitness plan. Without accountability, it’s hard to stay consistent, so make plans to meet a training buddy. Knowing you made the commitment to meet your training partner will make you more likely to go. Plus, telling people your goals and intention holds you more accountable and you are more likely to stay committed.
- Plan it out. Write it on your schedule and add it to your calendar. Plan what class and time you will attend. You’re less likely to bail if you see it in your planner. Schedule out what days you will go for a minimum of a month.
- Be prepared. Pack your gym bag the night before. You don’t need all the newest gadgets or trendy fitness gear, but a new outfit does help get you excited for the big day. Pack a water bottle, athletic shoes, socks (especially if you wear heels to work), an easy snack and a hair tie.
- Have a good attitude. This goes far. You don’t have to believe that you are the new Wonder Woman of Fitness, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up, either. Simply say yes to trying new things and celebrate the small accomplishments. You earned it.
- Work for a reward. I’m a huge fan of this method. Schedule your 30-day plan and predetermine your reward for staying the course. This can be anything you want — that pair of shoes you’ve been coveting, dinner at that restaurant you’ve been meaning to try, or those new running shorts that have your name written all over them. Whatever the reward, keep it in eyesight and stay focused on the prize.
Fitness is fun if you make the decision for it to be. Go try something new, and you’ll discover a lot more about yourself than you bargained for. It starts with getting off the couch and allowing you to embrace the awkward beginning.
Christmas Abbott is a CrossFit competitor, Olympic lifter, trainer and most recently a NASCAR pit crew front tire changer. She is the owner of CrossFit Invoke. You can learn more about her on her website, ChristmasAbbott.com, or follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @christmasabbott. You can also follow her on Facebook.