These last couple of years have taken a toll on all of us: stay-at-home orders created sedentary lifestyles and weight gain for many people, we felt lonely and isolated without the availability of our regular day-to-day routines.
Life is opening back up, though, and one of the best ways to get physically fit and find your social life again is by hitting the gym. This might feel intimidating or like it’s a steep wall to climb, but we promise, the results will be worth it—in all areas of your life.
You might think that you don’t want to have a bunch of other people in your physical or mental space while you’re exercising. Working out can be vulnerable enough without everyone watching you or tracking your progress! But studies show that people who have accountability groups are not only more likely to reach their goals but to maintain their progress or keep off the weight that they lost.
Pulling off the band-aid
For many people, the longer they stay away from the gym or the exercising lifestyle, the harder it is to get back in. Your confidence is down, your physical health is struggling, and you feel like it’s easier to just sit on your couch and hide under your rock.
We see you.
It can feel overwhelming—where do you even start? Which gym is the best for you? Do you need certain clothes? What are they going to ask you to commit to? But the reality is that as soon as you get started you’re going to feel so much better that you’ll wish it hadn’t taken you so long to get back in the saddle.
All you need to do is take the first step (no pun intended). Call the gym, or better yet, go down there and get your questions answered in person. See what it’s like in real life and allow them to set you up with a tour or a free class.
How many times have you pulled off a band-aid and realized that it wasn’t as bad as you thought?
One of the best ways to ensure that you stick with the goals you’ve set is to have others on board that are waiting to see you each day. Without a team, if you don’t show up, the worst person you have to disappoint is yourself. When you’re a part of a community, many people know and love you that will be disappointed if you don’t stay on task. Even better, they’ll be proud of you when you stay the course.
This accountability can extend beyond the gym, too. You can check in with each other to make sure your nutrition and other life goals are met, doubling the accountability.
Living a healthy life reaps so many benefits, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. People need others and are more successful when they can lean on each other for support and encouragement.
When the going gets tough you need a group of people to reach out to and ask for help. They can remind you of the benefits of the life you’re trying to live and offer to meet up with you and exercise together. They will also tell you when they see progress, keeping your spirits lifted when you need it most.
Improved mental health is another benefit of physical activity. The positive hormones (such as endorphins and serotonin) released during exercise keep you feeling good about yourself and life. Being around others who feel good about themselves creates even more of this ripple effect: to feel positive, surround yourself with happy people, and then you’ll be able to bring those good feelings to others.
Gyms aren’t just places with equipment and machines. They also employ plenty of coaches and personal trainers who will empower and teach you along the way. These are just a few of the ways a trainer or coach can educate you:
- The best ways to move your body to prevent injury
- Combinations of exercise to maximize time
- Appropriate ways to use machines and equipment
- Personalized nutrition plans
- Exercises adapted to your growing strength
- Creative ways to keep exercises interesting
This education doesn’t always have to come from the gym professionals, either. Just as you’re on your own health journey, others are too. Everyone brings their own knowledge set to the community so you can ask each other questions, share lifestyle and recipe tips, and bring new ideas.
Working out around others gives you self-confidence because those other people are encouraging you and telling you that they’re proud of you. You see the growth you’re making and you want to keep going. Achieving small, yet exciting goals as a part of a team gives you the confidence that you can accomplish more, too.
A physical fitness journey isn’t just physical—it’s mental! So many of the worries and vulnerabilities you carry with you are only in your head. Really! Everyone else is either too busy worrying about themselves to judge you, or they remember what it was like to begin the journey and they’ll want to support you.
Getting off of the couch and back into the gym is one of the best ways to create a healthy lifestyle and a thriving social life. You can do this! We’ll be right alongside you, cheering you on.