I can never recall my feelings or reactions from the times I started a gym because months pass and in my experience, I forget all of the emotions that go into it.
Yesterday, I started my first day at Planet Fitness. I know what you’re thinking because I have thought it, too. In my time at Crossfit, I have learned Planet Fitness is a dirty set of words and speaking about them positively will warrant a few eyebrow raises around the room. Now, the same goes for Planet Fitness. It’s not a place that is welcoming to Crossfit members either. This two year understanding brought me to the idea that I don’t need to impress or please either gym in my dedication.
I can tell you that Crossfit is the most high intensity workout I have ever experienced. It works. But, it works for me. It doesn’t work for everyone. I love the community and that they cheer you on till the last second. Crossfit is good for you if you want a challenge, want to work hard, and hustle through workouts with some great friends.
I can tell you Planet Fitness is a great starter gym if you haven’t been before. They do a few things that I don’t agree with (Pizza and Bagel Day) but they are a great place to go with a whole host of people of different ages, sizes, and workout styles. Planet Fitness is a good place to go if you are just going to workout and want a place that has machines that are capable of getting you to your goal.
TL;DR – No gym is perfect for everyone. But, there is always a workout/gym that is perfect for you. If you’re not sure what is best for you, try something new every week till it ‘clicks’.
Most gyms, Crossfit especially, will give you a free trial run. Always give it at least a week (3+ workouts) to really figure out if this is right for you.
If you’re new to a gym, you might be nervous.
You might sit in the parking lot all dressed up in your gym wear and make excuses to not go inside. You might drive around instead and waste the time you could be at the gym. You might make an excuse that your phone needs to charge in order to work out.
I know. I have been there.
But, let me tell you, once you walk in and say hello to the front desk/coach and you realize everyone is there to just workout? It becomes easier. You just have to take that first step into the facility. Once you do, it’s a cake walk.
If you’re new to a gym, you might be super excited.
And that’s awesome! You should be excited! You’re on your way to a healthier you!
If you’re new to a gym, you might only be focusing on fitness.
A LOT of people make this mistake. Losing weight comes from not only diet but your eating habits and visa versa. You need to make sure you’re eating right, drinking plenty of water, and exercising. Don’t lose sight of that!
Most importantly, listen to your body. There’s a difference in feeling of, “Oh this is challenging!” and “Please stop. This is too much.” You don’t have to workout 5 hours a day, 7 days a week to achieve your goal. Listen to what your body has to say.
If you’re new to a gym, you might feel intimidated.
When I started with Crossfit, it was the most intimidating first day of my life. I looked around and realized that everyone was in shape and I wouldn’t be able to match them. This is a normal feeling but I am here to tell you why you shouldn’t feel intimidated.
Everyone is at a gym for one goal – to work out. They’re not there for anyone else. They’re not there to mock other people. They’re not there to single you out. I have heard one or two stories where there has been a situation like that in 30 years of my living life. I can’t promise you that people won’t be jerks but I can tell you that it is insanely unlikely that they will be.
I have done Crossfit, a Global Gym, a College Gym. In my experience, I have never seen someone be mean to another person. In fact, people are actually helpful. My first day at Crossfit, one of our CF Friends Angelo, noticed Mike had a knee injury. He promptly walked over and said, “I noticed you had a knee injury. Let me show you how to do squats in a way that won’t mess up your knees.” This is very much the same across the board at most places.
The short version of all of this is that people just want to go to a gym to workout. No one is there for you. You are there for you.
If you’re new to a gym, you might not want to ask questions or you want to seem knowledgable (You’re not and that’s okay).
To prevent injury, it is the smartest idea to ask questions. If you don’t know how a machine works or you don’t know how a movement goes, ask someone. Planet Fitness has a reputation of not knowing a lot about fitness. If you’re in a gym where staff doesn’t really know, ask someone nearby. Again, people are willing to help you.
This prevents injury. If you’re unsure, just ask. When you get home, you also can research online or through reading material, too.
I also have a few fitness kids on retainer which is helpful as well.
Do not crowdsource on social media as it will end very poorly. A friend of mine crowd sources everything from diet to fitness to everything in between. Do not do this as it will end up with 100 voices screaming over each other on what works best for them. You gotta do what’s best for you. Ask someone who knows what they’re talking about.
If you’re new to a gym, you might be intimidated by your choice of all the machines.
I find that exploring a gym is the fun part. I hate the treadmill but love the elliptical. Don’t try to do a ton of machines at once. Take a walk around, make note of what you want to try, and then give it a go after you understand how it works.
You should try everything in your gym at least once. You might find that you like something that you thought you would hate!
If you’re new to a gym, you might want to exhaust yourself.
When I go into the gym for the first time, I go at it like a bull. I want to run 50 miles, lift 8,000,000 lbs, and so on. It’s very exciting to get healthy again, I know! But, take it slow if you haven’t been to the gym or been active in a long time. You don’t want to overdo it.
Last night, I simply walk/ran on the treadmill for an hour. Nothing crazy.
Remember, your body needs rest days. Working out 5-6 times a week is good but you have to have a day for your body to relax and recoup! I know a few friends who do 7 times a week which is a little too much but if you’re hell bent on doing 7 days, do light work on day 7 like yoga or a light walk.
If you’re new to a gym, you might want to buy everything in preparation.
I researched Planet Fitness and found out they have lockers, but you have to provide your own pad lock. I went to CVS, bought myself a $5.00 padlock and headed to the gym.
I purchased a gym bag today on Amazon for $20.
Water bottle? I already had. Gym clothes? Already had.
Start slow on buying things. I find that when I finish a month or two of working out and eating healthy, that I reward myself with a new item. New outfit, new workout bra, new shoes. You name it. Some people even do the $1 per workout and then take the money to buy things. If that works for you, do it!
For working out, I can tell you the most important item you will need is good shoes. Good shoes will support you, help you do cardio a little bit better, and will lower back pain and leg pain. I learned this the hard way when I used old, beat up sneakers for my first day at Crossfit. A month later, I got a good pair of running shoes from Nike. It was a life changer. So, if you’re going to buy anything, buy a new pair of kicks. You back will thank me!
If you’re new to a gym, you might beat yourself up over failing.
I have met quite a few athletes in my day. I can promise you that each and every one of them, no matter how fit or healthy they are, slip. I have never met a person who didn’t skip a day at the gym or who cheated on their diet.
And no one judges you on that. I have slipped. My Instagram partners have slipped. My coaches have slipped.
If you mess up, try again the next day. It takes 21 days for our bodies to form habits. If you can crush that first month, it’ll just be easier in time. I know you can do this, keep at it.
If anything, if you’re new to the gym – go you. Stick with it and you’ll be happy with the results.