Everyone loves a good exercise session in the gym. Individuals who exercise get to enjoy both the endorphin-fuelled highs and burning the excess calories away. Unfortunately, not everybody finds it an easy thing to get to that stage as taking that first step into the gym can be an intimidating affair.
Fret not, for such fears can be eliminated if you adopt the right mentality towards making full use of your experience in the gym.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others
Many beginners fall into the trap of unconsciously comparing themselves to people who’ve been training for a far longer period of time. Sure, there’s such a thing as healthy competition, but most of us end up having these comparisons beat us down instead of motivating us. The resulting negative self-talk — “He’s so much stronger than me! I’ll never be that big!” — can make any experience a negative one. A study on 261 exercise class-going women found out that those who tried to be the “best” in the class ended up enjoying it less.
2. Work out with friends
While some individuals prefer to work out alone, a lot of us overlook exercising with friends for fear of being judged by the people closest to us.
Ditch that mentality and instead adopt one that makes you feel like you're out with a group of friends in the gym. In one study of Oxford University rowers, it found out that when team members exercised together, their bodies released much more endorphins than when they worked out solo. Before extending any invitations for a workout session, consider which friends will make your exercising routine a positive experience.
3. Play to your workout personality
Finding the right training routine is similar to finding the right job.
“A lot of people say they hate working out because they haven’t found a routine that matches their personality style,” Lagos says. Take the time to map out what you like to do in the gym. Are you someone who's about workouts with free weights or are you someone who prefers doing Zumba? Do you prefer to be in a commercial gym or do you find more joy in lifting at a strength and conditioning facility? Or do you need some Zen in your life?
4. Take advantage of your strengths
People have a natural tendency to do things that they are generally good at and express distaste for anything that doesn’t come to them at least somewhat naturally. A review published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that people’s confidence in their exercise ability is the highest predictor of how often they exercise. While it is important to address your fitness shortcomings so that there aren’t any weak links, don’t do so at the expense of the things that you like. In fact, use your hobbyhorses to take your love for fitness even higher!
Being able to look forward to your time in the gym is a crucial part of keeping your fitness journey a sustainable one. Plus, you tend to put in more effort if the task at hand is something you enjoy. All in all, it can only lead to better results and a happier, healthier you!