5 things to keep in mind when going (back) to the gym

I’m going to the gym again. A lot.

I used to go every day when I was living in New Orleans, and for some reason when I came back, I just stopped. It’s been almost two years, but I’m back.
In order to make sure I do everything right I asked for help from a good friend of mine. She’s studying to get a trainer certificate and helped me make sure my posture/exercises are safe and set up a plan.

But now that I’ve been going for a couple of weeks there are a few things I’ve noticed. Things we all need to keep in mind when getting back into old habits (or when we’re just starting new ones). I think these tips are applicable to any new healthy habits you’re trying to adopt. So be sure to use them in any way you want or that suits your current situation, whether you’re going to the gym, eating healthier or trying to adopt a positive mindset.

5 things to keep in mind when getting back to the gym.

1. Give it time.

You haven’t been in a long time. You won’t be able to go as hard as the last time you went. It takes time to build stamina and muscle. Enjoy every step. Enjoy every time you can run a little longer or lift a little more. It’s a journey. Each next step is an accomplishment.

2. Don’t be intimidated

Going to the gym can be intimidating. All those judge guys and girls who have been going for so long. And you, trying to pretend you know everything and not looking like an idiot. It can be hard. But what if you change the experience? When someone looks at you with a judge-y look while you’re doing your exercises, just ask them “am I doing it wrong. I’m not really sure what to focus on here?” Positivity attracts positivity.

Also remember that everyone starts somewhere. The fact that you’re making the choice to exercise (again) is great. You’re taking active steps to improve your health. Don’t be discouraged simply because you have to start at the beginning. Just the fact that you’re going for it is admirable.

3. Ask for help

Much in line with the last point, don’t be afraid to ask for help! If there is a friend or family member in your social circle who happens to know a lot about exercising or who has more experience, just ask them. They’ll probably like explaining it to you as it’s something they already love. You’ll learn more about the skills you’re interested in and you get to hang out with a friend.

4. Keep track

Keep track of the changes you notice in your body. It’s part of what you’re doing it for (I like to imagine we’re not all completely focused on looks and appreciate the health accept of exercising, too). Don’t expect your body to change in days but be appreciative of the little changes; loss of fat, visibility of muscle or a more defined booty. Take pictures or if that’s not your thing, take some time to really look in the mirror. You can start to notice little changes which then motivate your further to bring about more.

5. Keep going

Don’t give up. There are days when you won’t want to go. Take those days as rest days. But don’t think that that means you don’t ever want to go again. Sometimes your body just needs some rest. I know one day two weeks ago when I was so tired and not at all interested in going to the gym. I told myself “today is my rest day, I’ll pick up again tomorrow, right now I just need to chill”. I had something to eat, turned on Netflix and surrendered to the tired-ness. All of a sudden, when the movie finished, I felt completely energized and wanted to go to the gym that evening, anyway. When you surrender to your low energy it goes away much quicker than when you’re pushing. And one day of rest isn’t going to get rid of all your hard work.
All habits take time so invest in a long term commitment. Quick fixes never work, and they’re not nearly as much fun!

Goodluck!

For all my Dutch readers out there: my friend Coco has a business where she helps people build up healthy routines. From food and exercise to healthy mindsets, she’s your girl. So for those interested: visit her website at https://www.cocochiara.com/

love, isabelle

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