I’m certainly not a fitness expert, but I am an overweight, out of shape middle-aged woman who has been hitting the gym regularly and killing it. Today I’m going to share with you what’s working for me and how I’m kicking ass at the gym. If you started the year off strong and are starting to slip back into old habits, or if you are just now trying to lose weight and become healthier, try some of my tips and tricks for getting your money’s worth out of that gym membership.
You can do this, even if you’re out of shape
If you have visited my blog before you probably know that I had both of my hips replaced in 2015 due to severe osteoarthritis. Although I’m young to have joint replacement surgery (I’m 44 now), my arthritis was affecting my quality of life and I had to do something. My latest surgery was at the end of September and by Christmas I was feeling better than I have in years.
Once I finished with physical therapy, I joined the gym with all the other New Year’s resolutions people. I’ve been working out at the gym 5-6 days a week. I’m not obsessing over my weight at the moment – I’m just trying to become stronger and more flexible as I slowly but surely regain more and more mobility. Trust me, if I can do this, you can do this, no matter what kind of shape you’re in.
Here are my tips for making the gym work for you…
Go at the same time every day
I love starting my day with exercise, which means I have to get up uber early to make it to the gym before I get ready for work. I have been getting up at 4:30-5:00 so I can get in a good hour, hour and a half workout each day. You don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to make the gym part of your routine, though. Find a time of day that works for you and always go at that time. Making exercise a habit is a great way to stick with it. In not much time at all you’ll find that you want to stick with your new, healthy routine.
This one is hard in the beginning, especially if you are unhappy with your body. One of the best things we can do for ourselves in a gym setting is to really not care what anyone thinks of you. Believe it or not, no one is paying that much attention to you. They are there to better themselves, just like you. Don’t worry about if others are looking at you at the gym. Only worry about getting the most out of your workout and you will soon be feeling a lot less self-conscious everywhere you go.
Get into the groove
Good music makes everything better, including your workout. If your gym doesn’t play good music, be sure to bring your own tunes. If you’re like me – the only person on Earth who doesn’t own an iPod – download the Pandora app to your phone and make some stations that play great workout music. In my gym the cardio area plays pop/dance music and the heavier weights area plays hard rock/metal. Whatever style of music gets your blood pumping, use that to help you rock your workout.
Work your whole body
If you really want to get in shape and look and feel great, you have to work your whole body. Some body parts will be harder than others and that’s okay. You do the best you can on each part, but you do it from head to toe. There are different ways to make sure you work all your parts – toning classes, cardio, assisted weight machines. Pick one or more that you enjoy and do that. Strengthening your entire body will increase your stamina and allow you to work out harder and more effectively.
Keep pushing yourself – or have a friend do it for you
Not everyone has a friend they can meet at the gym. I’m fortunate to have a friend that I meet there most days. Working out with her is definitely more fun than doing it alone and I recommend finding an exercise buddy if you can. If you don’t have someone to push you and encourage you, however, you can do it for yourself. If you’re not feeling it that day, make yourself commit to 10 minutes on the treadmill, or something that’s super easy for you. Most of the time you’ll find that once you get there, you’re over the hump and will get in a full workout. If you want to increase your speed/ miles/ weight, tell yourself “You can do it“. Using an affirmation is a great tool to encourage and propel yourself forward. Check out inspirational quotes online and pick out one or two that resonate with you. Bring those positive thoughts to the gym with you to give yourself that push you need.
Remember the benefits
After all I’ve been through these past couple years, from debilitating arthritis to two major surgeries in one year, I’ve vowed to never again take for granted my ability to move. Losing it has shown me just how very valuable physical activity is to my health and well-being.
The benefits of exercise are many. Some of the benefits I’m experiencing now are increased energy and alertness, better sleep and, of course, more strength and flexibility than I’ve had in years. I not only feel better physically, but I feel happier now that working out is part of my life.
Just about anything that ails you can be made better through diet and exercise. All you need to do is decide what it is you want to gain from your workout, and get started. No matter what kind of shape you’re in, no matter your weight or your age, you too can kick ass at the gym!