Written by: Holly Mosack, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
With the start of a new year, thousands of people will commit to a fitness resolution, only to break it by the end of January. Thousands more, though, will keep those resolutions and become better versions of themselves. Check out these tips and set yourself up to smash those goals!
1. Know your obstacles.
Write down all the things that could keep you from working out. What does your work schedule look like? Do you have kids that will need a babysitter? How far are you willing to drive? Do you worry about exercising in front of other people? Knowing all of your obstacles is important so you can overcome them before you even get started. Sure, your friend may love a certain gym, but if it’s 30 minutes in the opposite direction of your after-work commute, heading home is going to look a lot more attractive than an hour roundtrip drive. If you have kids, find a place that is kid-friendly, or perhaps you need to have a home routine for now. There are so many great online work-out options available, don’t let not being able to go to a gym stand in your way.
2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Whether you’re already a fitness enthusiast or just getting started, don’t try to do everything at once. Eating clean, eliminating soda and alcohol, drinking water, getting plenty of sleep, and regularly exercising are all great things, but trying to do them all at one time (or even trying to do two of them at one time) isn’t ideal. Instead, pick one and really focus on it. When you feel like you’re being successful with one goal, add another into the mix.
3. The scale might not be your friend.
Plenty of people decide they want to lose weight. They start exercising and eating better, but the scale doesn’t reflect their efforts, so they quickly grow frustrated and quit. Rather than focusing on the numbers on a scale, focus on how you feel, how your clothes fit, or how your body is changing.
4. Learn the equipment.
If you’re just starting out at a new gym, ask for a tour. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or write down the names of the different machines. When you get home, you can always look up YouTube tutorials on each machine, what they’re used for and how to use them correctly. If you’re starting a new class or CrossFit, tell the instructor you’re new and ask if they can review movements with you. Most CrossFit gyms will have an introductory phase to help you learn the proper technique.
5. Fit the vibe.
Most gyms have their own vibe and often vary based on the time of day. If you have the option to shop around (see point #1), check out a few gyms before you commit to a contract. Some staff members are welcoming and friendly, while others could care less about you. You may feel more comfortable with members of a similar age bracket or the same gender. If you can only work out at 6 a.m., but you don’t like the vibe, you’re going to hit the snooze button.
6. Join a Facebook group.
I have found some wonderful Facebook groups filled with supportive women. It’s a great way to ask questions, be empowered, and meet people with similar interests but from all different experience levels. There are groups for everything, so do a quick search like “women who lift weights,” and join a group or two. You might be surprised how much you can learn just by scrolling through a group’s feed.
7. Listen to your body.
Recovery is just as important as exercising, so take time to stretch and time to just let your body rest. New gym members often ask, “how many times should I come each week?” Check with your doctor first, but my advice is to start around 3 days a week. You need to do your routine enough to make it a habit, but you also need to let your body adjust. You may feel aches and pains you’ve never felt before, and that’s ok. You just want to learn the difference between soreness and an injury. Wearing a heart rate monitor might also help you understand how hard you are pushing yourself and when to take a break.
8. Do you need a Personal Trainer?
If you’re just getting started, it might be a good investment to hire a personal trainer, even if it is just for a month. Many gyms offer this service at an additional fee, but like everything, there are good Personal Trainers and bad Personal Trainers, so make sure you feel comfortable with your trainer. They should want to know your history, your goals, any constraints, etc., and then develop a plan for you. Remember, this is YOUR time, and you are paying for it. If you decide to spend most of the time talking vs. exercising, that is your prerogative, but you probably won’t see much improvement in your fitness level.
9. Get the right gear.
I hate telling people to spend money on something that they may only use for a month, but perhaps that’s also additional motivation. However, it’s important to have the right gear for the activity. Whether it’s properly-fitting running shoes (or sports bra) or an outfit that you feel comfortable working out in, gear is important to keep you from getting injured and feeling confident. Facebook groups can be really helpful with gear recommendations.
10. Stop caring what other people think.
This should be the #1 item on the list, but I guess you could say I’ve saved the best for last. This is your fitness journey, no one else’s, so don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 20. What I’ve learned over the last seven years of owning a CrossFit gym is that no one is judging you. They’re too busy doing their own thing, and most people are really supportive. If you struggle with feeling this insecurity (which is common), then perhaps start working-out at home first. If you’re at a gym, put your earbuds in and tune all the distractions out. Feel good about the progress you’re making and remember no one is judging you as hard as you’re judging yourself.
Holly Mosack, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
When Holly ended her career in the United States Army, she struggled to find her purpose in the civilian world (outside of being a mom) until she and her husband started a CrossFit gym. She quickly found a new passion in helping women become stronger, both physically and emotionally. She wants to empower women to stay active by removing barriers, which is why she founded a line of leak-proof apparel, Moxie Fitness Apparel, to help the 1 in 3 women who experience stress incontinence. Holly is an executive-level communicator with 15 years of manufacturing experience in talent acquisition strategy, service quality, and continuous improvement. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and is a CrossFit Level I Trainer.