Whether you’re making tweaks to a pre-planned slate of New Year’s resolutions or just now resolving to take the first step down a path toward better health, nutrition, and overall wellness, there’s no better time than the present to get those fitness ducks all in a row. And hey — the good news is you’re not alone!
Just like the rest of us who’re itching to get in shape, our contestants on The Biggest Loser are standing at the starting line. Take some tips from trainer Erica Lugo as she applies what she’s learned from her own fitness journey, and watch the results start stacking up…not just for the contestants, but for you, too!
Here are Erica’s top five tips for getting started in the gym.
Tip 1 — Start Slow
Achieving better fitness isn’t about racing to the finish line — it’s about the journey itself. So it’s a great approach to start slow and build your workouts over time, without trying to overload your fitness plate right from the beginning. If you stay committed to your program, you’ll pick up tons of knowledge about yourself — and what works best for you — along the way. That means there’s no need to put the weight of the world on your shoulders on day one. “We all start somewhere,” says Erica.
Tip 2 — Have a Go-To Gym Bag
If you’re new to the gym, or if it’s just been a minute since your last visit, it’s perfectly normal for things to feel unfamiliar and maybe even a little (or a lot) intimidating. But believe it or not, you’ve already got a friend — and it’s one you can take with you every time you go.
Yep, it’s your gym bag! Having a go-to gym bag that’s kitted out with your workout staples will keep you motivated and help orient you, even if your sweaty surroundings feel daunting and strange. And like any good friend, the longer your relationship, the closer you’ll become. Keep your bag at the ready, and in time it just might end up being your most trusted workout buddy.
Tip 3 — Ask For Help
We all have that mixture of pride and shame that sometimes takes over and keeps us from reaching out, especially when we enter a new environment and feel lost and clueless. But there’s no shame in working to improve yourself. And, believe it or not, the gym is a terrific place to run into tons of sympathetic people who totally get that.
As Erica herself knows, even the most chiseled and well-informed fitness pros didn’t end up that way without some help, and when it comes to living your healthiest life, there’s so much to learn. Whether you’re stumped by a piece of gym equipment or simply curious about that weird-looking hot yoga class on the bulletin board, asking for help is always a good call. And who knows? Stick with your plan, and the time may come when you’ll be lending your own helping hand to someone who’s just getting started on their fitness journey.
Tip 4 — Don’t Be Gross
Want to make friends in the gym? Wipe down your gym equipment. Leaving a workout bench, treadmill, or weight machine glistening with sweat is no one’s idea of courtesy — and more importantly, it’s a fast track to spreading germs and putting an unnecessary fitness hurdle in someone else’s way. You don’t have to be a gym veteran to model this bit of good behavior, so keep that towel at the ready while you’re out on the floor. Your fellow gym members may not say it, but they’re silently thanking you.
Tip 5 — Bring A Snack
Fueling your body doesn’t stop when you hit the gym. In fact, you’re placing demands on your muscles and central nervous system that may have them crying out for an assist — and that’s not an ideal time to be stranded without a little nourishment. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep a healthy snack or two tucked away in your gym bag (See? Tip 2 is already coming in handy!)
This is a great place to be practical: Erica likes protein bars, nuts, and other portable, melt-resistant foods that do well in a bag until it’s go time. But whether you pick a protein bar or a cup of plain Greek yogurt, be sure your snack of choice serves up a well-chosen mix of carbs, protein, and fats. After all, the goal is to build those muscles. When you’re shaking on the gym floor from that last set of lunges, your body will definitely be grateful.
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