The Gym in January: Sharing is Caring

Here we are just 6 days into January and lots of people are complaining on social media with "funny" memes about how packed the gym is in January.  Yes, they are most definitely correct.  The gym will be busier than usual at the beginning of the new year.  We're all making goals and resolutions and just about everyone has some sort of goal to do with their physique.  Wether its to lose weight, gain muscle, or tone up, the goal usually leads them to the gym.

But, rather than hating on the new folks, let's remember what it was like to walk into a gym for the first time.  For me, it was terrifying.  Walking into that first Body Pump class, I felt everyone was staring at me.  I didn't know what I was doing.  I felt frumpy and alone.  I didn't dare make eye contact for fear of being sneered at.  I'd like to think that most of these fears were all in my head, but I'll never know.  

What I do know, is that it doesn't have to be that way.  You don't want to be the reason why someone doesn't reach their fitness goals.  Remember, you were once a newbie too.  So, rather than complain, why not be welcoming.  Why not be the reason someone does reach their fitness goals.  Just a little welcoming smile or a few seconds to lend a helping hand could make the difference.  That gesture could be what makes someone, who like me was terrified walking in, feel a little bit better about their decision. 

If you're new to a gym, don't feel bad about it.  Own it.  Sure, you may not know how to use all the machines, but neither did they when they first started going.  Don't let anyone make you feel bad for showing up.  Better yet, prove them wrong.  Show up again and again and again.  Before you know it, you'll no longer be the newbie and you'll be the one offering a lending hand or friendly smile.

For those of us who have been going all year let's try this: See someone who's looking at a machine with doubt, give them a quick tutorial.  The girl next to you at Body Pump looks scared, give her a reassuring smile.  Not only will you be helping them, you'll also feel so much better about yourself :) 

I am Enough | Dealing with Self Doubt

Some days I walk into the gym and feeling like a total badass.  I feel amazing, like I'm in my happy place.  I walk in feeling Comfortable and confident that I belong there.  I'm working hard and this place, this gym, is helping me reach my goals.  And then.  And then, there are days where I walk in feeling like its the first day of freshman year in high school and I can't find homeroom and I don't know how to open my locker.  I look around me and see only young girls with flat abs, hair & makeup done, and of course wearing a matching Lululemon outfit! I look down at my shorts and top that do not match, I can feel my hair already starting to frizz, and  well, let's just say there are no abs of steel here!  I'd love to say that I shake off those feelings and go on with my workout and kill it, but I'd be lying.  The truth is, those feelings of anxiety, self doubt, and pity linger on during my workout and beyond.  I begin to question everything I'm doing.  Am I working out enough?  Should I change my diet?  Why am I not seeing results fast enough?  Should I lift more?  Should I add more cardio?  And on and on and on.  If it's really bad, I'll even compare my progress with others.  I know this is ridiculous, but when you're feeling down, it's hard to think logically.   

What makes me snap out of it?  How do I get back to feeling like myself again?  It's tough, that's for sure.  It's hard to just say "enough!" and move on, but that's what it takes.  I just have to say, "Enough of this nonsense, I am enough" and believe it.  The believing, that's the hard part.  Believe I'm good enough, believing I'm working hard enough, believing in the process.  Yes, it's tough, but I'm tougher.  And so are you!  The next time you start feeling down on yourself or worrying that you aren't doing enough, just remember where you started.  I think back at the habits I had before and compare it to the habits I have now.  Sure, I have my days where I don't feel like a rock star, days I'd rather lay in bed and not workout, days I wish I could eat the whole pan of brownies, but they're only days.  They aren't my life.  Moments of weakness don't define who I am.  They don't make me turn back to who I was before.  A moment of weakness are just that, a moment,   a very brief period of time.  We all have our "moments", but it's important to keep them brief because we can't let a bad moment change the progress we're making.  

So, the next time I walk into the gym and see the 20-somthing girl with booty shorts and crop top walking confidently around the gym, I take a deep breathe (yea, I'm sucking it in) and think of how my body has given me 2 healthy beautiful children.  I think about how my body has carried me through 30-something years of life.  I think of how my body can take so much more than I thought it could.  I think about everything I've accomplished so far and I feel proud of who I am.  And then, I hold my head up high and I exhale.  I am enough.  


Have you ever felt this way? How do you deal with feelings of self doubt?  

Workout Wednesday | Survival Tips for Going to the Gym Alone

Earlier this week on my facebook page I asked if wether people preferred to workout alone or with a buddy.  I asked because a few weeks ago my husband and I were talking about it.  Turns out, I prefer to workout alone for the most part, while he needs a buddy.  As for the responses to my question on facebook, most people said they were ok with both.  Exercising or running alone was seen as "ME" time, while working out with a friend was also motivation to work a bit harder or a nice distraction from the miles ran.  

When I first joined the gym almost 2 years ago (WOW! I can't believe  it's been that long already!) I had to go with a buddy, usually my husband but also some friends of ours that would go in the evenings.  We tried to go regularly about 2-3 times a week but I found way too many excuses to not go and evening workouts took it's toll on our family time.  Kids ate before us, we rushed to get out the door, put the kids in the playroom, rushed to come home and shower and get them to bed and we would end up having dinner around 9pm.  It was not a routine we were accustomed to or one that worked for us.  I was paying a monthly membership and I am not one to throw money away so I had to get my money's worth.  I figured I had to find a way to make it work.  So, I put my big girl panties on and went to the gym alone one morning after dropping our oldest off at school and my daughter went to the gym's playroom.  I was so scared!!! I did a Body Pump class and although I was sore for days and felt completely inadequate compared to the other people in there, I kinda liked it.  I kept going and also tried out a few more classes until I found what worked for me and I created my schedule.  Soon, even though I was going alone, I knew I would see some familiar faces in my classes and I didn't feel so alone.  So, if you are scared to go to the gym alone, here are a few suggestions from me, someone who has been there, done that! 

  • Do Research.  Check out your gym's fitness group classes schedule, find a few classes you want to try out, and put them on your calendar.  
  • Be consistent. Don't give up on a class because you don't know the routine.  It will take a few times of going to figure it out and get into it.  If there was something about the class you liked, try it again.  Don't give up.   
  • Make gym friends.  We are all creatures of habit and tend to stick to what we know.  So, let's say you found a class you liked and you go for your second try.  Stick to the same general area where you were stood the first time.  Why do I say this? Because the other people will probably do the same and you'll start familiarizing yourself with them.  I'm not saying you have to become BFFs with the lady standing next to you at Zumba, I'm just saying a familiar face is nice. And, if you happen to grab a juice together and become BFFs, well, you can thank me later :)  
  • Have a plan.  If group classes aren't your thing, that's ok.  Put a workout routine together (there are tons of them on Pinterst and I even have a few on my Workout Motivation Board), save it to your phone, and walk in there like you own the place.  It's ok to look at your phone to see what's next, I do it all the time!  Oh and have a backup plan or don't be afraid to go out of order in case the machine you need is being used.

Well, there you have it.   My tips on surviving the gym alone!  Oh and I know that I am very lucky to get to go during the day, so if you have to go in the evenings, I suggest going directly after work if you can.  This way, it's done and out of the way before all the demands of home come flooding in :)