It’s the fall. Which means that you’ve probably fallen off the wagon and are just starting to try to get back to the gym in order to prepare your body for the buffeting that it would get during the upcoming holiday season.
Going to the gym and trying to be more healthy is not a bad thing, but there are a few things that those just returning to the gym should try to remember – practical tips and otherwise. Please note – I am not a personal fitness expert, these are just tips from my own experiences.
First things first, what was it that drove you to stop going to the gym in the first place? Lack of proper scheduling? No motivation? Self-consciousness at the gym? Figure out what it was in the first place that made you stop going previously and do something to directly combat that. Schedule yourself to go to the gym at a quieter time, when there aren’t so many other people if you were feeling self-conscious before, go with a friend or hire a trainer for the first month so you can’t find excuses to slack off. Plug all the holes that you allowed yourself the last time ’round.
This is something that a lot of people seem to forget these days, especially the carbs situation – though a lot of times the water slips me by as well. Carbs are fuel. If our body doesn’t have fuel, it won’t properly run. It’s that simple. If you don’t eat carbs, or if you don’t eat enough carbs, you aren’t going to be able to get out of the workout what you should be.
As for water, when we exercise, we sweat. You want to be able to actually sweat and stay hydrated. Water is obviously key to that whole situation. You actually only feel thirsty after you’re already dehydrated. So don’t wait for that signal from your body – just keep drinking water. Especially if you want to do something like hot yoga – in which you sweat a great amount – you’re going to want to drink as much water as you can. Don’t want to faint in your yoga class, now do you?
It’s one of those things where you always find excuses not to go to the gym – but don’t listen to that voice. For the first few weeks, for the first month – find yourself an excuse-free time to go to the gym, and stick to it. We are creatures of habit, and once you get into the habit of going to the gym and exercising, you’re already 90% there. Worry about goals and what you want later. Worry about actually going through the motions first, and once you’ve got that down, figure out what you want to get out of it.
You don’t just have to go to the gym and be a treadmill hamster or deadlift weights to exercise. There are a lot of other things that you can do to enjoy your time – in and out of the gym. Most gyms will offer a plethora of classes (though sometimes it is a question of if you having the motivation to wake up to take the class) and if it isn’t offered, then you can go out and find it – ski, kayak, snowboard, rock-climb, hike – the great outdoors is calling. Or play sports with a local club – soccer is one of the most consistently carb-burning sports out there. (I mean, come on, look at David Beckham).
A lot of people “eat their feelings” when they are stressed or emotionally unwell, but it might be time to take a different tack. Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins are great for stress relief and bettering your emotional mood. Try it the next time you feel stressed or tired – and the link between exercise and stress relief will be one that will serve you quite well in the long run.
image credit: ESPN Body Issue