Posted on 27 January, 2020

How to Get Started at the Gym

By Jacob Andreae in Belief, Challenge, How-to, Health, Fitness, Exercise, Change, Lifestyle, Mindset, Success How to Get Started at the Gym

Whether you just signed up for Crossfit, F45, a Yoga studio or just to use the weights at iFitness, you may be anxious. Chances are, you know you’re not in your best shape — that’s why you signed up. Here’s my suggestions for how to ease that anxiety and get started.

I get it. Entering a new environment is scary. It’s confronting. It’s uncomfortable. Your brain is going a million-miles-an-hour asking questions, making excuses and seemingly trying to convince you not to do it. That’s okay. This is normal. Your brain is trying to protect you from immediate pain and potential danger. Tell it, “Thank you, but I got this!”

All change begins by a change in mindset.

And you do! You got this! Whether I know you personally or not, you have me in your corner cheering you on. And if you ever want to find out, email me [email protected] and I’ll prove it.

How to Get Started at the Gym

Don’t rush out and buy new gym clothes. Look, if you really want to, go and get new clothes. But you seriously don’t need to. Find any comfortable shirt, singlet, shorts or leggings and go. You don’t need to rush out and buy more clothes. Use getting new exercise clothes as a reward once you’ve completed your first month.

Give yourself a break. If you need external validation, like many do, I’m giving you permission to be kind to yourself. Just because you should be fitter, for whatever reason you’ve made up in your head, this is where you’re currently at in your journey in life. We all, no matter how fit we may be or have been, have been where you may be at — not in our best shape — and trying to get back into a routine of exercise, wrestling with our monkey-mind and trying to get started again.

Don’t compare yourself. This is easier said than done. We all do this. It’s only natural. But when you do, if you do, follow up that thought with a more self-serving one. Remind yourself of where you’re at in your journey and use that person as motivation and inspiration. Don’t fall into the trap of negatively judging them and tearing them down, even if it is in your own head. Give them credit for what they’ve achieved and tell yourself you’ll look that good, and be that fit, one day; maybe even better.

Set targets. One of the places I get my clients to start is with setting a target for their first week and a target for their second week. These targets are all variables they can control. And we don’t overdo it. Typically, most people can commit to two or three workouts a week. I always lean towards less to make it easier to experience success and hence, increase motivation. Then, the second week isn’t a new week. It’s an extension of week one. Therefore, the target for week one might be to complete two workouts and the target for week two might be to complete four workouts in two weeks. This means, if we don’t achieve our target in week one, we just shift our thinking and we can still achieve our week one and two targets, just together.

Practice the micro-behaviours of exercise. Exercise is a macro-behaviour. It is made up of many micro-behaviours — for example, getting your exercise clothes out, packing your gym bag, filling your water bottle up, possibly waking up at a different time, setting your alarm for a new time. Ultimately, what you’re trying to achieve by going to the gym is behaviour change. And unfortunately, most people don’t give enough, if any, consideration to actually trying to practice changing their behaviours. They think that if they just “go to the gym”, they will get fit and life will be good.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I’m assuming that if you’re going to the gym to get fit, you want to stay fit. You don’t want to lose weight and put it all back on again in six months. Am I right? Therefore, you must — you absolutely must — practice changing the routines in your life that encompass a healthy lifestyle. 

Thankfully some very smart people — behaviour change experts like BJ Fogg — have researched this and discovered what needs to be done to scientifically change your behaviours. And people like me have done the hard work in interpreting that information and putting it into a system specific to health and fitness, so that you can finally feel better about yourself, feel better in and about your body, get to your ideal weight and maintain it, have more energy, and feel confident.

This system is a 5-day challenge that uses the Tiny Habit Framework. It’s where I encourage everyone to start. It’s about setting the foundation. We don’t even do any exercise in this first 5 days. It’s about changing your routines and habits around exercise and healthy living so that they become an integrated part of your life. This is essentially brain and nervous system training. And it has life-long benefits.

The 5-day challenge to Make Exercise a Habit is part of my 2-week Intro Package, and best thing is, IT’S FREE! Plus, you get access to a coach who will personally connect with you to discover your unique situation and plan your success specifically for your needs. You can still go to the gym. We'll just be there to help you.

Book Your Free 2-Week Intro Package Here

Getting started at the gym can induce anxiety and lead to all sorts of negative feelings and responses in the body associated with that. If severe enough, it has the potential to stop you before you even get started. Acknowledge that this is just your brain trying to protect you. Thank your brain for that and set about getting fit and healthy by training your brain first. All change begins by a change in mindset.

Tell me about your experiences, whether successful or not, with getting started at the gym… 

Photo by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash

About Jacob Andreae

About Jacob Andreae

I write and speak about Fitness, Nutrition and Mindset. 

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How to Get Started at the GymA quick start guide to losing weight and staying on track. Learn the strategies I use to eat and move for optimal health. Includes worksheets to enhance your motivation, commitment and discipline, along with a sample eating plan and exercise program.