My first steps into the new 24 Hour Fitness facility were by far the most intimidating. As my eyes scanned over the massive room, my legs began to shake and my nose filled with the smell of sweat. I began to ask myself, “What am I doing here? ” but instead, I walked forward trying to leave my fears of uncertainty behind. I felt extremely uncomfortable, not quiet sure if I was using the machines correctly, wondering if people were staring at me.
The sense of indecision slowed me down, even keeping me from trying new machines, not wanting to risk making a foolish error.
After about 40 minutes, I called it a success and left. Soon school began and I would find more and more excuses not to go to the gym. As I noticed very little results in physical strength or appearance, I became less willing to keep going, until I stopped completely. It took another year for me to get back into the routine, but this time it changed my life.
The first major step I took was setting out a basic program that I would have to follow. It listed specific workout times, meal times, and even set workouts.
As I started to go at set times, I noticed the same people at the gym day after day. They began to notice me as well, correcting me on some exercises, and even teaching me new exercises for each muscle group. This is the moment when I really noticed myself fitting in. As my preparation and intensity grew, so did my knowledge in certain muscle groups. I went from working out unsystematically to an organized workout where I could train and focus on two muscle groups every day, one major and one minor.
I hit quadriceps/triceps on Monday, traps/back on Tuesday [this paragraph continues with detailed and technical information]…I also became fluent in the language and terms used at the gym. Each exercise would be divided into sets, then reps (or repetitions). There are usually ten reps in a set; a typical workout requires three or four sets. The more sets and reps you perform, the more endurance you are building. If you do fewer sets and reps, it is best to add more weight, this time building mass rather than endurance.
Along with understanding the terms, you have to learn the names of machines and exercises. People who don’t attend the gym regularly are already aware of common lifts such as …. On the other hand, people who work out on a regular basis are also aware of variations on each of those exercises. For example, instead of doing a simple bench press, a fitness guru would practice both incline and decline press, thereby concentrating on different parts of the chest muscle (upper and lower) and achieving a more balanced workout. The hardest part of the workout routine is getting started and keeping it going.
People with a competitive nature will find it less of an obstacle, but if you need that extra push, personal trainers and friends can always help you understand the right techniques… You will quickly begin to notice the difference between a regular gym member and the beginners who attend just to say they came. Besides just looking at how toned someone is, you will be able to separate the pretenders from the contenders by their incorrect form, the fact that they wander around and talk to friends more than they actually work out, and the machines they choose to work on.
Although the gym consists of many members, the majority of them don’t truly belong. Two people who may have completely different political beliefs, customs, and interests can bond together when they dedicate themselves to the common goals and values of the workout community. Once you enter this group, you are united not by words but by a sense of respect for other members and for the uphill struggles that each of us must face to work toward physical fitness… Working out is comparable to studying in the ways it improves you.
Most people put it off as long as they can, procrastinating until they feel it can no longer wait. Studying and working out are both often done incorrectly, giving you very little or no gain. Sometimes, even if performed correctly, it will take awhile before you begin to notice improvement for your efforts. Just like studying, the reward of working out is found in the process itself as much as in the results. Practice may not make perfect, but it will definitely make improvements toward your targeted goal.