Overcoming Gym-Phobia

Photo Credit: Irepkabl PD

The Centers for Disease Control declared obesity is a national epidemic. Many factors contribute to obesity, including unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Diet and exercise fads seem to be on the increase, perhaps to take financial advantage by selling lose-weight-quick programs and pills. Turn on late night television and you will probably see a few infomercials featuring diet pills or the latest fat-busting exercise DVD. Losing weight can be difficult. Some people need guidance and support to succeed. A gym is a place where those who need some help can meet others who are supportive. Staff and personal trainers can offer instruction to prevent injury and motivation to keep you going. Home exercise programs are a fantastic way to lose weight and get fit, but they don’t work for everyone. It’s too easy to put off getting started or lose motivation to exercise at home when the television and sofa beckon. Some people may avoid joining a gym because they are embarrassed about their physical appearance or feel like they won’t fit in. If you are anxious or reluctant to join a gym because you’ve never been to one, there are some things you can do to prepare for your first trip to the gym. 
Define your fitness goals and discover what motivates you to achieve your goals. Do you want to lose 15 pounds or even 30 pounds? Do you want to get a flatter stomach or firmer arms? Maybe you are motivated to lose weight and get fit because there is an important event coming up, like a wedding or family reunion. Perhaps you are motivated to get fit before your 20 year class reunion. Whatever your motivation to get started, the important thing is you are motivated. Once you get started exercising and eating a healthier diet, you will look better and feel better.
Avoid setting yourself up for failure. You may not be able to just walk into a gym and start exercising. People who have not exercised in years should prepare for the gym by building up their endurance. Walking is a great way to build endurance. Make a commitment to walk 10 minutes every day for one week. Walk for 20 minutes every day for the next week. By the third week, you should be able to walk for 30 minutes and more confident that you can do 20 to 30 minutes of exercising on a gym treadmill or elliptical machine. After your first successful treadmill or elliptical workout, you will come away from the gym feeling confident and motivated. 
Many gyms offer trial periods. Take advantage of the trial period to find a gym that works for you. A good gym will provide an orientation program designed to not only familiarize you with the gym equipment and policies, but also inquire about your current level of fitness, health issues and goals. A personal trainer at a gym offers personal instruction and can help you develop a realistic plan so that you meet and even exceed your fitness goals. 

Gym Exercise Equipment You Should Be Using

Photo Credit: LocalFitness.com.au

There are many different types of gym equipment designed to work out everything from individual muscle groups to your whole body. If you belong to a gym, or if you are thinking about joining a gym to get in shape, make sure that there are qualified personal trainers on staff. Get a complete check up from your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. 

Cable resistance exercise machines can help you tone and strengthen upper and lower body muscle groups. Cable machines maintain a constant resistance that your legs or arms work against. Cable machines can be adjusted by resistance and the muscle group you want to work. You can perform many different types of exercises on one of these machines, including shoulder presses, abdominal crunches, lateral raises and strengthening exercises for your biceps and triceps. Start out slow on one of these machines to avoid muscle soreness. Limit your first workout to about 5 minutes every other day. Skip a day between workouts to allow your muscles to heal and soreness to abate. Slowly increase the amount of time you spend on the machine as your muscles grow stronger and your endurance increases. Resistance bands attached to the wall or to a bar also provide effective strengthening opportunities. Resistance bands provide an intense workout and can be used in virtually any position; standing, sitting or lying down. 
A step machine can give you a better workout than a regular treadmill because it simulates climbing stairs. Step machines help you burn more calories than you would using a treadmill for the same amount of time, because you lift your legs and push down with your feet. You can work your glutes, hamstrings, calf muscles and your abdominal muscles. Start out slow on a step machine and limit your first workout to 10 minutes or less. Take a day off to allow your muscles to recover before you work out on the step machine again. 

Rowing machines work almost all your major muscle groups and provides a powerful cardiovascular workout. This machine closely mimics the motion of rowing a boat and works the upper and lower body. You can burn quite a few calories in just a few minutes on a rowing machine. The machine can be adjusted to more or less resistance to accommodate beginners to experts. The key to getting a good workout on a rowing machine is a smooth, continuous rowing motion.