Are fitness goals part of your New Year's resolutions? You're not alone — exercise facilities become extraordinarily crowded during January as people resolve to finally build muscle, improve their endurance, or lose weight. It's the best time of year to join a gym, since everyone's running specials. Joining during January is also great if you're afraid of looking like you don't know what you're doing at the gym — most of the new members won't know what they're doing either.
If you've finally decided to start attending a fitness center regularly, here are three tips for first time gym-goers to ensure that you're getting the best possible results from your new resolution.
1. Attend Classes
The start of the year is a great time to sign up for fitness classes. Instructors know that there's a huge influx of new people in January, so they offer more beginner options during this time. Starting your gym session with a beginner aerobics class is a great way to warm up before strength training, and beginner yoga classes are excellent for winding down after your day at the gym.
You don't have to worry about feeling lost in these classes, since you'll be with many other people who are also new — instructors will go out of their way to explain all of the movements that they're doing and help you out. Attending classes at the gym is also a great way to meet workout partners. Seeing people you know and having the chance to catch up with them after you're done working out provides you with a great reason to keep exercising.
2. Take Personal Training Sessions
It's common for exercise facilities to offer specials on personal training sessions in January. They may offer one free session with a personal trainer or a discount on a training package. It's a good idea to take advantage of these offers, because you'll need to learn proper form.
While form is most often associated with lifting free weights, it's important when you're doing cardio and when you're using strength training machines as well. Improper form can quickly lead to injury — overuse injuries from aerobic workouts or painful joint damage from strength training. Whether you're going to the gym to lose weight or to build muscle, you won't be able to do either when you're injured. It's important to learn proper form and maintain it throughout your entire fitness journey.
3. Keep Going After January
The truth of January gym-goers is that most of them stop going after the first few weeks. Exercise facilities are packed with people in January, but the crowds thin out significantly when February rolls around. Any fitness goal will take more than a few exercise sessions to achieve — you need to be in this for the long haul.
One simple way to trick yourself into going to the gym is to simply show up. Make it a part of your resolution that you'll bring your exercise clothes, pack your towel, and head to the gym, even if you wind up not doing anything. Once you walk in the doors, you'll likely start working out. The hardest part of going to the gym is walking in the front door — compared to that, exercising is easy. Showing up repeatedly helps make fitness a habit that you'll stick with for the rest of the year.
If you haven't signed up yet, find a gym in your area that's running specials. Exercise facilities know that January is the time when they get the most new members, so they all compete with each other for business. Find a exercise facility near you that has a reasonable membership fee and that offers equipment and classes you're interested in — signing up is the first step in beginning your fitness journey in the new year.