1. Have a plan. Don’t sit on your phone texting or mindlessly move from machine to machine doing 1 set. Hire a trainer who will work with you to set up a program, or view exercise videos online and write down your routine for the day (exercises, reps, sets). Aim to hit each muscle group twice per week. A pretty standard start would be 4-6 different exercises per muscle group and 8-12 reps for 3 sets. Machines may be taken, especially in January, so have back up plans for your exercises. Use the cable machine, dumbbell or barbell variations for your exercises. Having a plan will also help you get over your “Gym-barassement” and “Gym-timidation” The gym is for EVERYONE, not just the “already fit.”
2. Wear proper clothing. A loose t-shirt, loose shorts or stretchy pants. Jeans are not appropriate gym wear.
3. Get some headphones and plug in your favorite music. This will help not only motivate and excite you during your workout, it will also help you tuneout those around you and help you feel less self conscious. You can even get a hat and wear it really low. But the blinders on so you don’t notice people and can focus on the task at hand. Don’t focus on what other people are thinking. Trust me, everyone is worried about themselves, not you. I felt really awkward and embarrassed at first, but believe me, you will get used to the gym and you will get used to and get better and better at the exercises
4. Warm up before starting. This will give you a chance to get your muscles nice and warmed up, preventing injury and you can also survey the gym as you stretch.
5. Stay hydrated. Don't forget to bring a stainless steel water bottle with you and drink throughout your workout.
6. Set performance goals that are not related to your scale weight or your appearance.
7. Ditch the junk food. Get the junk out of your house and stock up on fruits, veggies, lentils, legumes/beans, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, etc. Don’t waist your hard work at the gym by eating junk food at home. Meal prep as well. Every time you cook you should be making enough for 2 or 3 extra meals. I love using the slow cooker for my beans and lentils. Just set it and forget it.
8. Stay consistent. Building muscle is like growing an old red wood tree. It takes a long time. Start easy and progress. If you try to go all out the first week, you will suffer “Beginner Burn out” and are more likely to quit after the first 2 weeks. You are in this for the long haul so enjoy the process.