How to Enjoy Your Gym Experience
We are all guilty of it – sneaking a peek at our neighbors during a workout class or at the gym. How does she make it look so easy? Why is she so happy? Is that his resting position – how is he holding that pose so long? Group exercise has many benefits, but there can be downsides. Comparing yourself to others can steal away your joy and make you resentful that you aren’t as strong or toned as someone else.
Attending an exercise class can be daunting and mentally exhausting. In the worst cases, a class can be more stressful than fun.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Exercise should be an escape from your everyday life stressors; a time to focus on your health and unwind from work and the daily grind. That’s why it’s important to cultivate a supportive environment for working out. Exercising in groups is great to keep you motivated and hold you accountable, but not if you fall into the trap of being intimidated. If you feel good, you’ll perform better.
So the next time you’re tempted to compare yourself to other exercisers – thinking you will never be that strong or that fast or that fit – consider this:
Remember why you are here
You’re not at the gym to impress the other people in your class or the person on the treadmill next to you. Chances are, you started this fitness routine so you could get stronger, fitter or healthier. Remind yourself of that goal.
Accept that each of us is different
Each person has a different anatomy, pain tolerance and body structure. Even if two athletes undergo the same training regimen, they will almost always have different performance abilities. Do what is safe and effective for you; just because your partner can complete a movement doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Exercise for effort’s sake and the positive energy it brings to you.
Put in time and do the work
Put your best foot forward during your workout, and perform to the best of your ability. Not every workout session is going to be perfect, or even good, but continually showing up and putting in effort will help you develop mental toughness, which will assist you in many aspects of your life.
Set personal goals
Write down your aspirations and look at them occasionally to remind yourself what you value and where you are going. These are your goals – no one else’s – and you need to stay focused on what is meaningful to you. If you are having trouble setting goals, talk to one of our personal trainers or the group exercise class leader. We’d be happy to help.
Focus on your breathing and your surroundings. Check in with yourself by thinking about how you are feeling, how hard are you working and what your body is telling you. There is an incredible relationship between the mind and the body. The central nervous system controls movements, and by incorporating your brain into your workouts, you can see notable improvements in your performance and make great strides toward reaching your goals.
Focus on form
Perform exercises correctly, with precision. If you can only manage to lift more weight or do more repetitions by using poor form, you’ll not only cheat yourself out of a quality workout, but you’ll also risk injury. With most exercises, if you do them properly and with good posture, you will fatigue easily. But all too often, we look at the person next to us and try to do better. But here is the reality: That person could easily be doing it wrong, inspiring you to reach for an ideal that isn’t ideal.
Appreciate your effort
The body is an amazing thing and you should be grateful for all it affords you. Movement is freedom and we should never take that for granted. Too often, we focus on what we cannot do as opposed to celebrating what we can do.
Find your happy place
Find a place to exercise that helps you feel good about yourself, whether it’s a group exercise class or a park with a beautiful scenic backdrop. Also exercising with people who build you up instead of tearing you down is an important facet of success.
Fitness should bring us together, not pit us against each other. So the next time you are at the gym or on the running trail, give your fellow exercisers a smile and a thumbs-up for their efforts. Find your tribe.
Hybrid Athletic Club is a full-service athletic gym with expertise in personal training, group fitness, and individual workout programs. We are located just south of Madison off of Hwy PD. You can find out more about our programs or feel free to take a look at our upcoming calendar online atwww.hybridfitness.org. We also have a connected commissary and meal plan service called Fit Fresh Cuisine that can help with diet consulting and prepared meal options for weight loss and healthy lifestyle kickoffs. Find out more at www.fitfreshcuisine.com.