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The Beginner’s Guide To Hitting the Gym

Last month, I decided to do something I’ve never done before: Get fit. 

I’ve always been sickly and weak as a child, and my poor immunity was carried into my adulthood. Seeing all my friends get stronger over the years as I got weaker didn’t feel good, so I decided to start hitting the gym to #getripped, (just kidding, I wanted to get off the couch after feeling guilty for binging Netflix…)

My friends had given me the usual advice like, “drink lots of water,” “eat nutritious food,” and, “wear something comfortable”, but I wasn’t sure if I would stick it out in the end, so I started to note down things I did that worked and got me coming back.

So, here are some tips for all of you who want to #getactive but are still afraid to #getstarted.

1. Set Goals

The biggest challenge in hitting the gym is to actually go to the gym. Set a goal to hit the gym at least once a week, for starters. It always feels great when you ‘accidentally’ go twice a week.

2. Tell Your Friends About It

It helps if you tell your friends about your goal. You can trust them to shoot you a deathly glare while saying, “Aren’t you supposed to hit the gym today?” whenever you miss a goal. That being said, it’s also totally fine to keep this to yourself. But I recommend keeping a journal or something, just to hold yourself accountable.

3. Start Small

Set small goals like, ‘brisk walk for a mile’ or ‘cycle side to side without stopping’. It’s okay to start with small exercises and work yourself up to greater challenges as you get stronger. Don’t push yourself too hard in the first try or you might start avoiding the gym because of the pain it’s causing you.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Don’t know how to start the stationary bike? Not sure how to adjust the seat height? Ask another gym-goer for help. They won’t judge you for not knowing what to do; after all, everyone has to start somewhere, and they might even admire you for committing yourself to hitting the gym.

5. Get a Gym Buddy

While I personally prefer to work out alone, (because I don’t want to embarrass myself as a rookie), you can also invite a friend to the gym to work out with you if you prefer the company. That being said, try not to invite that one friend who’s #ripped or ‘likes a challenge’ at the gym. You might end up feeling worse than you initially did about hitting the gym.

6. Plug In and Play

Listen to some music or watch a movie while you’re running on the treadmill or cycling on the stationary bike. Distracting yourself may help you become less aware of the physical exercise you’re doing and stop you from demeaning yourself. I find that I often start off okay when I try to run on the treadmill, but an inner voice would say things like, “You can’t do it,” or “You’re too tired, just stop.” It’s super tempting to just give in, but I try not to listen to those voices and instead just focus on the music. It blocks out the inner voice and even gets me feeling more motivated to continue!

7. Get Yourself In Your Activewear

We tend to want to delay our trip to the gym, or we might feel lazy even though we’ve promised ourselves that we’re going to hit the gym today. In those times, I find that getting into your activewear helps a lot. Changing into your workout clothes is such a simple and quick thing to do, and when you’re in your gym clothes, you’re already halfway to the gym. It’s worked for me Every. Single. Time. 

8. Celebrate Small Achievements

Ran a mile 30 seconds faster? Added on a few pounds in weightlifting today? Increased the difficulty on the stationary bike? Time to pop the champagne and celebrate your victories! Always aim for improvements and celebrate every one of them to help motivate yourself! That way, the next time you think of the gym, you will associate it with victories and happiness instead of failure and dread. Every improvement is a victory!

If a couch-potato like me can do it, you can do it too!

I’m well into my second month of hitting the gym regularly, and I’ve been going twice a week for the past two weeks now. I’ve definitely felt stronger, fitter, and healthier the more I exercised. I even hiked ‘A’ Mountain last week! 

Tell us what keeps you going, and share your gym experiences with us!

I am Samara Gan. I am an exchange student from Singapore who just moved to Arizona for the Spring semester. I am a third-year Communications major with an interest in Journalism and Media Studies. I hope to write articles that will be helpful, relatable, and joyful to readers. 
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