A lot of folks have been asking me about how to get back into the gym recently, and I’ve decided to write a post about the basics for people new to the gym (or returning).
Many people assume that going to the gym is this amazing feat, and have all of this fear and worry about it. Or they come up with reasons not to go, such as time, or money, or whatever.
Going to the gym, like most things in life, is as easy or as hard as you make it. It is largely a mental game. Why do you think pre-workout supplements, which are generally glorified caffeine, do so well? It’s because they help put people in the right mental state to have a good workout.
I do realize though that there will be some questions on … well what do I do once I get there? Don’t worry, I’ve got the basics covered.
As mentioned, a large part of getting into the mindset of going to the gym is mental. An object at rest, tends to stay at rest, right?
We are a habit-driven species, and unused to change. This phenomenon is known as homeostasis. Our bodies adapt to the current situation – and if the situation is not going to the gym, we get used to that. An object in motion, tends to stay in motion – let’s get there.
Treat the gym like other items you do in life. Set goals, but in a realistic manner.
If you are trying to improve your financial life, do you go ahead and jump to “let’s become a billionaire?”
You need steps, or milestones. The gym is no different – so start simple.
Your first goal could be as simple as: “Go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and spend at least 20 minutes being active.”
Making The Gym A Habit
The gym has to become a habit for it to become part of your life. What habits do you have? Do you brush your teeth? Shower? These are things you do to take care of yourself. The gym is no different.
The key difference between some of these things and the gym, is that the gym takes more time and effort. I’m not sugar coating it for you, being new to the gym can be an uphill battle. But there are ways to ease into these issues and make the transition easier and more natural.
First off, a lot of my friends go into the gym and give it 110% on day one, and get super sore. They get hit with DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness), and can’t work out for another five days. There’s no reason to do this so early on. As someone new to the gym, this isn’t your goal. It will only serve to demotivate you from going regularly.
Don’t over exert yourself too much in the beginning, take it extremely easy. On a scale of one to ten, work at a five initially. Don’t even push yourself very much. Maybe you won’t even be sore, or barely sore, and that’s ok. In a day or two – you can go to the gym again.
And after a week or two – when you’ve gotten closer to making the gym a habit, you can begin to push yourself.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you push yourself really hard the first time, you’ll get to your goals faster. You won’t in the long run.
Going to the gym can be daunting. It’s no different from any social situation that causes a little bit of social anxiety. And it’s OK to be a little scared, and natural.
But like any situation that is new to you, you have to get used to it at your own pace.
Be kind to yourself, and ease into it however works for you.
Find out what you need to focus on you. A lot of people, including me, like music. It helps me zone the noise out and focus on what I need to do.
Is it self-consciousness?
Listen, everyone is at the gym for different reasons, and many people are there to improve their self-image. You are not the only person there for this reason. Everyone there is training for improvement. You are not alone.
Basic Strength Training
Alright, so are we ready to do some training? I’m assuming at this point you’ve committed yourself to going to the gym two or three times a week, just for a short period of time. Maybe 20 to 30 minutes. Of course, as you get used to the gym, weeks down the line, you’ll slowly increase your training time. But for now, that’s not the goal. The goal is to make it a habit and to stay motivated.
But what do we do once we get there? Let’s go over some of the basics, like common sense.
I feel that for the vast majority of people, gym failure results from a faulty approach or improper goal setting.
Be kind and patient with yourself, and don’t expect immediate results. If you are trying to learn a new language, do you start with difficult scientific jargon? If you are trying to study a new subject, say physics, do you start with quantum theory or rocket science? No. You start with the basics and build a foundation.