Is your New Year’s resolution to get healthier, back in shape or lose weight? Then you’ve likely made the monumental decision to reacquaint yourself with (or introduce yourself for the first time to) the gym. Congratulations on making such a positive change for 2018! No doubt, you and the gym will soon be BFFs, taking sweaty selfies together.
“January represents a fresh start for most and the ‘new year, new you’ mentality kicks in,” says Latreal Mitchell, celebrity fitness trainer, Previnex ambassador and founder of Fitness Bunch Foundation, a nonprofit organization fighting childhood obesity. “People feel like they have an opportunity to clean the slate and start all over again.”
Buying new exercise gear, loading an upbeat playlist to your phone and purchasing a gym membership are great first steps on your journey — but at some point, you just have to bite the bullet, step into the gym and climb onto some strange-looking machines. Of course, the foreign environment can make anyone a bit self-conscious. And once you factor in the muscle-clad gym-goers surrounding you, it could be enough to scare any newbie right back into the safety of the locker room (or even his or her couch).
Don’t let yourself get frazzled by a new experience. What you may not realize is that many regular gym-goers started off just like you — unfamiliar with what they were doing and worried everyone was staring at them. Plus, if you really survey the gym, you’ll find plenty of other newbies who look as awkward as you feel. According to a survey conducted by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), 12 percent of all gym memberships are sold in the month of January. See? You’re definitely not alone.
Thankfully, following a few simple rules will have you (yes, you!) parading around the gym like you’re a pro by February. As the saying goes, you’ve gotta fake it till you make it. Start here:
“It will be hard, but don’t be discouraged,” Mitchell says. “All gyms are different, so hopefully your local gym is as welcoming and accommodating as mine. If not, don’t worry about it. It’s your body, your goals — you got this. Just remember the road to a healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. Set realistic goals, be patient and never give up on yourself. You’re worth it.”