Project Body Smart | 10 Tips for Fitness Newcomers
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10 Tips for Fitness Newcomers

Who Want to Do It Right

Starting to exercise regularly at a gym or fitness studio can be a lot for anyone and particularly for people over 50. Maybe it’s been years since you worked out regularly, and the numerous machines and confident gymgoers give you some hesitation.

Don’t worry. It’s perfectly natural. Newcomers naturally will have questions about equipment, etiquette, and best practices to make the most of your time, get the best workout, and enjoy yourself.

Our facility is so much more than a gym. With a full Yoga program, Tai Chi, fitness classes every day of the week at various times of the day, racquet sports, athletic therapist, kinesiologists, functional ageing specialist, trainers, and coaches. we have a wide variety of fitness levels and specialty programs like learn to play racquetball or squash or tennis. Our members are a range of ages with all kinds of interests from kids programs to functional ageing sessions.

We have free FitCoach sessions with a trainer to help you get acquainted with our facility. We want you to succeed, no matter what your age or fitness level. And we are here to help, so never hesitate to raise a question or concern, or to ask for assistance.

A little “gymtidation” can be natural – and not just because you’re new or over 50. Don’t let it bog you down. Here are a few pointers to help get you started on the right foot.

  1. Think positively. You made it here! That’s awesome. Now, remember to smile, repeat your “why” to yourself – and state affirmations to yourself in positive language rather than a punishing tone. For example: “I’m working out because I want the continuation of my life to be even better than it has been so far.”
  2. Be sure to get a tour and or FitCoach Session. We will explain what various equipment is for, and what classes are available. Talk to us about using a personal trainer, individually or in a small group, at least for your first few sessions.
  3. Always stretch and warm up before you start your workout to elevate your heart rate, loosen up your muscles, and get your head in the game.
  4. Move beyond the treadmill. We get it – sometimes it feels safe to stick with what you know, and walking is supposed to be “good enough,” right? Not quite. It’s a good start but there are so many benefits to going beyond the treadmill.
  5. Lift weights. For Everyone but particularly After age 50, resistance training is a must, whether you like free weights, machines, resistance bands, or body-weight exercises. You will NOT become huge and bulky. But you will improve your balance, maintain muscle mass, improve bone density, and burn fat. Plus, you’ll sleep great.
  6. Choose the right time of day. When’s good for you? Gyms are generally busiest from around 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., with people arriving after a typical workday. If you have more flexibility in your schedule, make the most of that privilege.
  7. Dress for comfort. You probably have plenty of clothes to get started, so don’t worry about making a fashion statement with the latest styles. We’re just glad you made it here. But we do recommend investing in a good pair of supportive athletic shoes that you only where inside or at the gym.
  8. Drink plenty of water. 20 minutes before, sip during and drink lots after. Don’t wait till you’re thirsty.
  9. Learn basic gym/studio etiquette. Ask us if you’re not sure. But among some universal truths: Individuals shouldn’t “hog” a machine or weight station, so don’t sit on it in between sets when others might be waiting. Also, return weights to their racks, and all other equipment to its proper place in the gym. Give the equipment you used a wipe down when you’re done.
  10. Be fully present and enjoy yourself. Pay attention. Make phone calls elsewhere. Observe respectful boundaries. We believe exercise for people should be effective, safe, and fun.

Every journey starts at the beginning. We’re glad you’re considering or have chosen us to begin or continue your healthy path to living better.

Gordon Palmer, Personal Trainer, Functional Ageing Specialist and Fitness Coordinator for Global Fitness & Racquet Centre, Kelowna, BC Canada.

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