5 Tips for Returning to the Gym

So you haven’t been to the gym for awhile, right? We definitely say go for it, but before you do, keep these things in mind.

Start Back to the Gym After Some Exercise. If you have let your gym membership go for a long time, you might want to work up to rejoining. Begin exercising again by walking outside  for the amount of time you might spend at the gym. This way, when you return, it will not be a shock to your system.

Choose Activities with Caution. If you dive in head first, you will surely either hurt yourself, or will be very sore. This might even work against you because you will avoid the gym as a result. Start with easier exercises. A personal trainer can help you select the best routines for your level of fitness.

Gradually Increase Frequency. Recognize that you need time to get back in shape. You cannot do this overnight so take your time. If you were working out six days a week in the past, and want to get back to it, start with three days a week and work up to it.

Stretch. We can’t emphasize this enough! Stretch before your workout and after your workout. This will help prevent injuries and is particularly important when you are just starting out.

Reward yourself. This might be something along the lines of buying a new iTunes song to run with, or it might be a pair of running shoes after you hit a certain goal. Small rewards help keep you motivated.

Not Getting Results at the Gym? Consider What You are Eating (Part 4 of 4)

This is the final blog post in a series where we address issues at the gym. Of course, if you belong to a gym, you certainly want to get the most out of it.  If weight loss is a primary goal, and your body seems to be staying the same, then you need to consider factors that go above and beyond the fitness club.  Activity is only half the weight loss equation. The other half is related to what you eat.

If you have done everything you can as far as your routine, and are expending a lot of energy, and are truly sticking to everything we discussed so far,  it just may be a matter of not burning enough calories for the amount of calories you are taking in. If it turns out that this is the case, you can do one of two things: either exercise more frequently, or cut down on calories.  It is a simple thing really, but it is the truth.

Weight loss is a calories in/calories out equation. If you are continually going to the gym but are not cutting down on calories, you are probably eating more than before you started exercising. Yes, you can expend calories and eat more food, but you may not lose weight. You may just stay the same. Make sure that you take in sufficient protein and vitamins for good health, but cut back on volume.  Eat quality food and engage in a quality workout and you will see results.

Fat Isn’t a Feeling

Come on, we’ve all said it or we’ve heard someone utter the phrase “I feel fat.” But you know that fat isn’t a feeling, so when you say that, what are you saying exactly? Because many people think of fat as inert, you may be saying that you feel lethargic. In fact, the perception of feeling fat may simply be tied to inactivity.

You know how good it feels after you work out. You experience your muscles functioning well, and this sensation lasts for a couple of days. When you don’t move your body, your body is not working at its best. So when you feel fat, it is unlikely that you just had a good workout.

Another reason why you may “feel” fat is tied to physical issues such as water retention or sensations created by clothing that does not fit. If your clothing is too tight—or too loose— it can trigger a memory of being overweight. In fact, if you recently lost weight, you may perceive fat that is no longer there as still being a part of you.

Of course, sometimes we feel fat because we are. That is, being overweight can be a part of the equation. But whether you are a size 6 or a size 16, the feeling is the same. In either instance, it may be your body talking to you. It is telling you that you need to move.

When you feel fat, do something physical. If that doesn’t do the trick, look in the mirror. Do you like what you see? If you do, then realize that the fat feeling has a psychological origin. Go to the store and try on some new clothes. Do your hair or nails. Go outside in the sunshine and take a walk. Do anything that feels good. But if you don’t like what you see in the mirror, take action. You deserve to feel good about yourself. In the end, feeling fat may not be a feeling, but it is a sign that you need to do something. What that is, is up to you.

Not Getting Results at the Gym? Maybe You Need to Up the Level of Intensity (Part 3 of 4)

Are you going to the gym but feel like you are not making any progress? Have you done everything you can when it comes to exercise and are still not feeling fit? First, examine how much effort you put into your routine. Are you sitting on the stationary bicycle while reading a book or talking on the phone. Really?

When you exercise, work out hard. Focus on what you are doing. Check your heart rate. Is it going up at all? Are you visualizing the muscles you are working? Do you feel good when you finish your workout? These are questions you should be asking yourself and you know the right answers. If you go to the gym but feel as if you are not getting a good workout, you might need a personal trainer to address the issue, or you might need to just really look at what you are doing.

If you are on the elliptical machine but your heart rate only goes up to 110, you may not be working out hard enough. Before you increase your effort, do check with your physician, particularly if you have health concerns. But if you have a clean bill of health, do try to ramp up your activity level. The amount of effort you put into your routine will reward you with the desirable body you want to create. Next week, we tackle the issue of weight loss. If part of your goal is to lose weight, you will want to read that post!

Not Getting Results at the Gym? Maybe You are Stuck in the Same Routine (Part 2 of 4)

Last week, we talked about the fact that for many people, the gym is a social activity, but that is something that can hurt your progress. You may be going to the gym and not getting results because you are talking more, and moving less, but even if you are not a social butterfly, that does not mean that all your hard work will result in success. What else might trip you up? It could be that you are simply spinning your wheels because you are doing the same thing over and over again. While repetitions are good in respect to exercise, that does not mean you should be doing the same thing month after month, or even week after week.

Even if you diligently go to the gym, and have a routine, when was the last time you changed it? A routine is only good for several weeks. After that, your body adapts, and you will not see results. What can you do? Invest in a personal trainer or read about weight training. Do some research and change up the routine every few weeks. In our forthcoming book Change Your Mind: Lose Weight, exercise examples are provided to show you how to change the routine in order to get the results you want.

It is also important that you do the correct exercises. You must learn how to shape your body. Otherwise, your effort will be for naught. Knowing what you are doing, and then doing the required exercises, will make a tremendous difference in the outcome. Part 3 of this series will appear next Thursday when we address increasing your intensity level.