A new year has dawned, and with it come resolutions. Losing weight (or getting in shape) is one of the most common, yet gym memberships often go unused after only a few months. But why is that? Perhaps the issue isn’t a loss of interest, but actually a lack of preparedness. With that in mind, Best of NJ is here to help you get the most out of your resolution for a healthier life, with a few simple tips that will help you stay committed to your exercise routine.

Visit Multiple Gyms

One reason people stop working out is because the gym they’ve chosen turns out to not fit their lifestyle. To prevent this from happening, there are a few questions you should ask before deciding on a gym: Is this gym close to my home? Is it open at a time I’d be likely to go? Can I really afford the membership fee? How highly is it rated online?

It’s also a good idea to call and make an appointment for a tour, if available, to check out the cleanliness and layout of the gyms you’re interested in. Talk to the staff. Ask about the fees, contract, and hours of operation.

Finding a gym that meets your most important requirements is just the beginning, but it’s very important, as you won’t get far if you’re not comfortable.

beginner's guide, gym

Stick to a Schedule

Make sure you’ve checked your calendar and realistically worked out when you’ll be able to go. Of course, you also have to decide how many days per week you’d like to work out, at minimum.

A good starting point is three times per week, though during the first few weeks you may be comfortable with only one day per week. This is perfectly fine, there is no wrong answer – it’s up to your body. Either way, choosing the same days each week makes planning much easier. Treat each workout as you would a dinner date; it’s a commitment you should look forward to.

Pace Yourself

One of the most difficult things to do when you have a specific goal in mind is to slowly work your way toward that goal. The most effective way to burn calories may be the elliptical machine, but your body may not have the stamina, right away. Starting out slowly on a less intense cardio machine (such as the recumbent bike) may be best, even if it seems boring.

beginner's guide, gym

Taking a day to rest between workouts is very important; your muscles will hurt as they are stressed. They need time to heal, otherwise you may end up hurting yourself. As you become stronger, working out each day may become normal for you, but don’t go into the gym expecting that to be the case immediately.

Stay Hydrated

Getting plenty of fluids is important during workouts, but you must increase your intake even when you’re not at the gym. Drink water before, during and after your workout, and if you work out for more than an hour, you should add a sports drink to make sure you’re replacing electrolytes that are lost while you sweat.

A good rule of thumb is to drink 64 ounces (or one half-gallon) of fluid per day, minimum, but there are calculators and charts to help determine how much you should drink for more effective bodily function.

Dress Appropriately

Wear comfortable clothing that wicks away sweat for comfort. You can find the appropriate material for your workout here. Also, make sure your pants aren’t too loose, to avoid tripping and getting caught on equipment.

beginner's guide, gym

For women, leggings are a great option, and men can wear athletic shorts. Anyone can wear “joggers,” and tee shirts work well as a basic top. Women can follow these tips for their undergarments.

Other good ideas are to take a multivitamin and to consume more protein to help your muscles build and repair themselves. (Here are some other ideas for foods that can boost your workout performance.) Get plenty of rest, but most importantly, listen to your body; working out through the pain will only slow you down and give you bad memories of the gym, which will make you more likely to quit.

Happy New Year, and best of luck on your fitness journeys!


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