Getting Back Into the Gym

Thanks to the restrictions being lessened, I am able to return to the gym. And by return, I mean actually go. I used to "go," but very sporadically so there weren't many long-term benefits to my body. When the restrictions shut the gyms down for a few months though, it made me realize how nice it felt when I went and it motivated me to get back into it when they were to open again!

I'm not sure of other gyms' restrictions, but mine is for an hour time slot and you have to book it 22 hours before to be able to get in. They book up within the first minute, so being able to have a reservation confirmed is a reward in itself.

When I did go to the gym, I would go with my boyfriend because I wasn't very confident in myself to go alone, nor did I know how to use a lot of machines properly. Of course, I couldn't just sit there and look at how they work because I was too embarrassed to be the "only one" who didn't know what they were doing. So thanks to my boyfriend, I was able to learn about a lot of machines and when to use them for the workouts I wanted to do. I still don't dare use the squat racks though without someone else there to show me because I can't seem to get that right.

So the gyms opened last week and I was able to book in a time...but without my boyfriend, since he was having troubles with the website. I was really nervous since it was my first time going alone, but I made a plan before going of what machines I wanted to use so I wouldn't feel as lost. So I put on some workout gear that I kept buying through the lockdown (for who knows what reason) and I went.

It was a very rewarding experience.

I decided to work out my legs as my first time back as those are my favourite workouts and what better way to get motivated than through doing something you enjoy. It was great. With the restrictions, minimal members are allowed in the gym at the same time so I actually sat on the machines reading the how-to's without any fear of looking ridiculous since there was barely anyone around. I made sure I understood the machine I was using before I began and followed my plan for what ones to use. I turned on an empowering playlist (shoutout to HCWLU's Head Editor Megan for the great playlist) and I did my workout.

I have gone four times this week now, which is a lot more than I would regularly go in a month and I feel pretty good. I have been struggling a lot this semester to get myself out of bed. My mental health has plummeted over the last couple of weeks and while I'm still in a bit of a slump, I can say that giving myself something to do that isn't school, as well as something that's beneficial to my body, has been a huge help. It's very motivating.

So if you were needing a sign to get into the gym again (if you feel safe and comfortable to do so) then here it is! My recommendations are to go at a time that would motivate you, as well as plan ahead for what you want to do so you don't get stressed (if you're like me) and don't waste time if you don't have a long timeslot! If you are needing some workouts to do, here is my very beginner list for some ideas to get you started!

I always start my workouts with a little cardio, but I personally enjoy the elliptical the best!

Legs

Leg press, angled or sitting

Leg extension

Hamstring curls

Inner Thighs

Outer Thighs

Calf raises (you can also do this on a leg press machine)

Hip Thrusts

Lunges with a lightweight in my hands

Arms and Shoulders

Bicep curls (on the machine or free weights)

Triceps (on the machine or free weights)

Lateral raises (I call them birds because you'll look like your flapping your wings)

Front Raises (AKA zombies because you'll look like a zombie) You can combine this with lateral raises and alternate between workouts because they're done in the same position!

Bent over rows

Bench dips

Back and Chest

Deltoid Fly

Pec Fly (there are a few machines that have both Deltoid and Pec flies!)

Seated Rows

Lat pulldowns (I found out there is a few different machines so whatever one you feel most comfortable with!)

Assisted Chin Ups

Abs

I basically do all my ab workouts on a mat, but here are a few:

Crunches (I do a few different kinds like cross one leg over the other, bend both legs to one side, etc. to target different parts of my abs)

Toe touches

Planks

Leg raises

Scissors

I also watch a lot of Chloe Ting videos for ab workout ideas!

Here you have it! It's not very extensive as I'm still learning myself but if you are interested in going to the gym, search up these workouts on youtube to understand how to use them properly, especially if you don't recognize the workout based on the name I listed! Hopefully, these help you to make a plan for when you go! There are a lot of other machines so if you go and see one that's not on this list definitely try to use them! I also recommend following some fitness Instagrammers as a great way to get ideas for how to start but only do this if you feel comfortable watching them. It can be hard to watch people who seem to know what they're doing and have their whole life together when you may feel like you don't. I know that's how I feel sometimes. Also, they may do workouts you literally cannot do, so don't feel discouraged if you can't! I recommend trying to find an alternative workout that can supplement it!

Good luck and get that work out in!