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5 Steps for Confidence to Go Into the Gym

June 27, 2016

It's the moment that you have feared for a long time.  This exact moment is one that is giving you heart palpitations, the cold sweats from the inside out and anxious gas that you know only happens when you’re nervous.  You have avoided this moment you have made every excuse imaginable for this moment and now here you are...about to go into the gym to exercise.  *GULP*

Fear no longer! I have been exactly where you are. I have felt the cold sweats run down my butt crack and I'm here to tell you that you can overcome. You too can fall into a head-over-heels love affair with exercise that has changed my life, millions of others and will change your life too.

If you are saying to your computer screen, “that’s beautiful Lyss and all fine and dandy…but HOW DO I EVEN GET STARTED?!”

You’re in luck!  I am here to the rescue!  As a Certified Personal Trainer, Behavior Change Specialist as well as having the Duodenal Switch in 2010, it is my passion to help others find the joy and benefits of exercise that they enjoy and that they can incorporate into their hectic day-to-day life.

5 Steps for Confidence to Go Into the Gym

1. Exercise - Get There

Half of the battle of starting an exercise program is getting there.  Take that first step and show up.  People are motivated to exercise by different things.

  • Choose a buddy to go with.  If you have a friend who is a little more advanced than you are, you will have someone to push you and someone who will benefit from you pushing them.  When you have someone counting on you to be there you are less likely to talk yourself out of going.
  • Are you turned on by the sweaty eye candy that you see walking around the gym all beefed up and sweaty?  Go during peak hours to check out the people watching (hey - even if you’re married, it doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu!)
  • Work with a trainer.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to work with someone who knows how to assess where you are currently and can help you safely and effectively get to where you want to go.
  • Excuses are too easy.  Overcome any exercise excuses. EVERYONE has the time…you just have to learn how to manage it.

2. Start Small

Here is the ONE WORD ANSWER to your initial question - START!  Start by moving your own body weight.  How do you expect to lift anything until you can lift yourself?  If you are a newbie at exercising, this is a great way to get familiar with how your body moves, any muscles that might be tight that you weren’t aware of or any imbalances you may have (example: your left arm is stronger than your right arm).  Below is a beginner bodyweight workout to try (as soon as you read the rest of this article of course).

  • March in place (for one minute). Bring each knee up to your chest as high as it will go.  Use your arms like you are running. As you get better and better, start marching faster, time yourself and see how many you can do for one minute and make it a goal to get faster each time you do these for one minute.
  • Opposite toe touches (for one minute). Stand with feet shoulder width apart, raise both arms above your head like you are the Y in YMCA.  Bring your right arm as close to the outside of your left foot as you can.  Whatever your range of motion is now, make it a goal to be able to reach further each time. Bring your arm back up into a Y and bring the left arm to your right side.
  • Arm Circles (for one minute). Stand with feet shoulder width apart and lift your arms to your sides like a T.  Hold your arms there for as long as you can. Take a 10-second rest and put them to the sides again. When your arms are out to the sides make small circles with your arms.  Do these for one minute and count how many circles you are able to do.
  • Step-ups. Use the stairs in your house to step up and step down. Make it a goal to make it up and down the stairs FIVE times without stopping.
  • Chair-Sits (for one minute). Grab a kitchen chair and have a seat.  Make sure your feet are flat on the ground and your knees are at a 90-degree angle.  Put your hands on your hips and sit back down until your rear barely touches the chair and stand up again.  Do as many of these as you can for one minute.

3. It’s Okay to be a Gymphomaniac

Going to the gym is the best place to hop around.  It may be frowned upon in relationships and even jobs but when it comes to exercise…why bother committing to just ONE exercise when there are so many amazing options at the gym?  Below is a list of different types of exercise to explore that you can add to your to-do list:

  • Jazzercize
  • Water Aerobics
  • Zumba
  • Step Aerobics
  • Barre Class
  • Pilates
  • Cycling
  • Bootcamp
  • Kettle Bell Training
  • Martial Arts / Self Defense

This list should keep you busy for a few weeks, right?  How do you know you don’t like something until you try it?  You may fall in love and find a new hobby, new group of friends and a whole new motivation that you have been missing out on.  Who cares if you screw up, drop something or make a fool of yourself? You are doing this for yourself!

4. Educate Yourself

Let’s say you’ve booked an amazing vacation with your family.  You have booked the flight and you are going.  Is that where you stop?  I would hope not!  You need a plan, right?  You want to utilize every single second you have in a new place.  You buy a map, a dictionary, a review book, you talk to people who have been there, you research tips, advice and spend hours planning, preparing and organizing.  Going to the gym is the exact same concept.  You are traveling to somewhere brand new.  Make sure to take the time to research.

This is where a personal trainer would be a great resource.  As personal trainers, we go through quite a bit of schooling, training, and practical experience in order to help guide you through your fitness journey.  We live for the questions people ask us in the gym and out in everyday life.

Read articles, join support forums, ask questions to people at the gym about what they are doing if you see something new, watch YouTube videos, find books to read and support groups to follow.  No one is going to do the research for you or tell you what the best activity is for you, it’s up to you to make the effort to figure it out for yourself.

If you suffer with pain anywhere in your body when you move,  please make sure to clear activity with your doctor before trying a new type of workout.  Your doctor may suggest a physical therapist if your injury is hindering your ability to move correctly.  Talk to your physical therapist about activities to do to keep that muscle or tendon healthy and active.

5. Have Fun

Exercise is NOT a punishment!  Exercise is NOT an obligation.  Exercise should be fun, stress-free and you should be excited about it!  Exercise is a way to reward your body, not punish it.  I can’t tell you the amount of money I saved on therapy by putting in my headphones after a stressful day,  lifting heavy iron and leaving every stress, worry and concern in the form of a pool of sweat on that gym floor (I wipe it down don’t worry!).

When you find an activity that you enjoy and that you have fun doing, you are more likely to look forward to it and get excited for it! It isn't a "have to" but a "get to" mindset.

You aren’t going to be new at exercise for very long.  Once you lose your fear of the gym, you will wonder why you waited for so long!  Use the list (above) as your guide to get you started and before you know it, you will look back and wonder why you didn’t start years ago.

Happy Exercising!

lyss remaly


Lyss Remaly had WLS in 2010 after her highest weight of 350lbs. She revised from Lap-Band to a Duodenal Switch. After changing her habits, she became certified as a personal trainer and behavior change specialist to help others do the same. Lyss is a Bariatric Lifestyle Coach, Certified Personal Trainer and a competitive Natural Bodybuilder. Catch up with Lyss at FitnFabulyss

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