So last night was my first day back at the gym! Hmmm, where do I start. After blogging about getting back in the gym yesterday…. Well, I pulled up at my local planet fitness around after 11pm. Put my bag down, throw my jacket in the locker and made my way straight to the treadmill.
I started slowly and work my way up. Once my blood start flowing I literally felt my muscles getting loose. I spent about 45 minutes walking on the treadmill and went into the weight room and start loosening up, and to be honest it doesn’t feel all that great. I am beat!!! I’m resting tonight and will back tomorrow. According to expert advice of Equinox pro-trainer Stephanie Irvin, these tips should help to ease the transition and get you back in fighting shape in no time. You never know — this could be the year that your resolution sticks.
Make a plan.
On the first day back, it’s important to go into your workout with a solid set of objectives and a routine in mind. This helps prevent you from getting overwhelmed by the vast array of options (not to mention sights, sounds, and smells) that can make going to the gym so intimidating. Even better, it forces you to think about what you really want to accomplish. Irvin says, “Don’t wander aimlessly; you just look lost. Think about what you want to do and why you’re there, and plan around the goals you set for yourself.”
But, while it may be tempting to go all-in on that resolution, Irvin recommends a bit of realism. “When you have a goal, the most important thing is for it to be attainable,” she says. “Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure.”
Do your cardio first.
We know — we hate it, too. Especially if it’s been a while since you last interacted with an elliptical machine, make sure to hit the cardio zone first thing. Even if your goal is not necessarily weight loss, it’s super important to get that heart rate up and to do it regularly. Increasing your overall cardiovascular fitness will make future workouts, whether cardio, strength training, or yoga, more painless — and productive.
Try different classes — and don’t get discouraged.
The gym isn’t just for treadmill fiends anymore. The list of classes offered by many neighborhood gyms gets longer and longer every year — from spin to pilates to striptease aerobics.
We recommend trying as many as you can to tackle the inevitable boredom that comes from hitting the gym with the same routine day after day. But, it’s important to ease yourself into it. “Especially if it’s been a while, people can get discouraged, and leave in the middle of a class — or just never go back,” Irvin says. “Ease yourself into it, and know what you’re getting into.”
Maximize your workout
One of the things we hate most about the gym? It requires a lot of time out of our already crazy-hectic schedules. But, depending on your goals, certain habits can help you accomplish more — in less time.
Our favorite pro tip? Muscle burns waymore calories than body fat. Focus on your legs — they’re the largest muscle group in your body by far and thus have more potential to positively impact your metabolism. A little time on the leg press can go a long way toward making that elliptical session more productive (not to mention the wonders it can do for your butt).
Be kind to yourself
It’s relatively easy to make the decision once to go to the gym. Keeping your commitment to keep going, week in and week out? That’s another story. The secret: Take care of your body to minimize the risk of running out of steam the first few days.
Stretching is key here. Yes, we know — it’s the most boring part of your workout, which is why so many of us skip this crucial step. But, getting back into the routine can cause serious soreness that can last for days after your workout, especially if you’re trying out a new class or exercise. A few minutes on the mat, whether using traditional static stretches or with the help of a foam roller, can work wonders in terms of your body’s recovery time, making the idea of going back the next day considerably less intimidating.
And, don’t go all out all at once. “If you haven’t been working out in a while, start with two to three days a week, spaced out. Ease yourself into it so you don’t burn out.” Amen to that.