(hahah featured image of a hot girl used to GRAB ATTENTION)
Hi everyone! So as can be seen from the title, today, I am going to write you a Guide to Joining a Gym. This guide doesn’t necessarily only apply to joining a gym: it can be anything from your first time using your school gym or joining a new Pilates class at the community centre. Since I have quite a fair bit of experience regarding being put in (I don’t know how else to put it) uncomfortable fitness situations and I know a lot of people who like wanna use the school gym but are too scared to go alone because you feel very intimidated and uncomfortable: HAVE NO FEAR.
My gym journey started in Sec 3 when my mother, who with the help of a personal trainer, had recently transformed into some ultra-fit crazy power woman with biceps as rock hard as Kelly Ripa’s.
And then my sister joined her and both of them started working out at my mom’s office gym. At this moment in time, I was at a particularly low point in my fitness – I took 15 minutes to run 2.4km (I shudder just thinking about it) and I really wanted to get fit because it was so embarrassing! So as such, I also started training with this personal trainer and went to the gym an additional once a week. At first I was super shy and I felt so self-conscious and uncomfortable using the machines because I felt like I didn’t know how to do anything and that people would laugh at me. But you know, that is not the case! Because, in the gym,
1. NOBODY IS LOOKING AT YOU, let alone judging you
It’s the freaking gym. Everyone is in their own personal world of pain that has come about through self-inflicted TORTURE. You think while I voluntarily shift my butt from the comfort of the sofa in my living room or like leave my friends eating in the canteen to go to the gym to JUDGE PEOPLE?! Like, no??!!! I hardly have the time or the energy to watch people and judge what they are doing while I’m in the gym because I’m just trying to focus on my own exercise so I can LEAVE. I’m not saying that I can account for everyone’s behaviour in the gym, but I can say that they most probably couldn’t give a single shit about what you are doing. Seriously. No one in the gym has the patience or energy for such trivial matters.
HOWEVER, this doesn’t count if you are really hot. I mean, I’ve never had this problem LOL!!! But like obviously if you are a rly hot girl twisting into all sorts of positions in the gym guys will look at you!! And you know what? TOO BAD!!! Being a hot girl has to have its downsides somewhere!!! So deal with it. No sympathy for you.
On the other hand, if you think you are (or really are) very unfit and people are obviously judging you for it in the gym, well, you get to judge them. Because the supposedly ‘fit’ ones obviously aren’t concentrating hard enough on their own workouts because if they did, they wouldn’t even be considering judging someone else because they should just be focused on suffering through their own workout. So if you keep focusing on YOURSELF, one day you will overtake them in fitness level and then you’ll be like HAH! HAH!! WHOSE JUDGING ME NOW, BITCH????
2. Be assertive
If the gym is crowded and you can’t get a spot on the machine/venue of your choice, make it clear that you are waiting in line!! If someone else swoops in and steals your treadmill, just be like EXCUSE ME, I WAS HERE FIRST. Do you know how long people spend on a treadmill? An average of half an hour! Do you really want to be waiting another half an hour watching another person get the workout that YOU should be getting? No!! Stake your claim!!! You were THERE FIRST. Plus, the assertive attitude will enhance the badassery that is already skyrocketing by you working on your fitness in the gym!!!
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you are joining a new class the instructor would most likely ask who is new. And when the instructor asks, RAISE. YOUR. HAND. RAISE IT. RAISE IT HIGH. It’s not embarrassing to be the newbie, you’ll only be the newbie for like. one lesson. After that you’ll never have to raise your hand again. I learnt this particular valuable lesson in last week’s BodyCombat class where the lady asked who was new and I sort of lifted my hand a bit and she thought I was stretching?? Then she proceeded to declare ‘since nobody is new, we’ll do the tougher power tracks today!!!!’ with great excitement, after which I proceeded to die. Hello, I could have died another time, not on my FIRST LESSON. The next Pilates lesson I raised my hand SKY-HIGH, and it was awesome. It was such a good lesson.
This also applies if you are like lifting weights in the gym and you don’t know how to do it e.g. squats. Ask!! If you think people would be laughing at you for asking before, wait till you lift weights with painfully incorrect form. They probably weren’t laughing before, but they sure are laughing now!!
4. Try your best
I feel like it’s obligatory for all these guides to end off with an encouraging point, but this time I really mean it. Like as long as you are trying your best, nothing else matters. Who do you think people will have more respect for, the fitter dude who is just slacking around the gym and trying to show off his nonexistent prowess or you, sweating it out on the treadmill, be it at 7 or 11km/h? If you chose the fit one well…no. It’s you. People will look at you (although you wouldn’t notice because you would be too busy trying to breathe properly) and think ‘I wish I had as much willpower and determination as that person!’ And then they will RESPECT YOU.
And believe in yourself. It is possible! I’m not exactly the fittest person who is the most qualified to tell you this, but really. It will be so worth all the torture. I started off running 2-3 km on treadmills at 7km/h. The first day I ran 4km at 8.5km/h on the treadmill (I remember the exact day) I was so proud of myself!! I felt like I could conquer the world. Although on hindsight that isn’t exactly an earth-shaking level of fitness, to me at the moment, it was!! And then the next year (although I’d only been trying for about 6 months) I cut my 2.4 timing from 15 minutes to 12:24, and then next year I cut to 11:46. I’m aiming for a sub-11 2.4 timing next year, but we’ll see how it goes. The thing about exercise is that if you put in the effort, you WILL be rewarded in extremely concrete ways! The next time you run you’ll realize how much easier it is to complete what you completed before and you’ll continue to push and push yourself and then you’ll feel like you are at the top of the world and it’s an amazing feeling.
So seriously. Don’t be scared. I used to be so scared and so awkward but then I got more and more used to it and I was just like being the only girl lifting weights every week and it was just no big deal because I didn’t give a shit about anyone else. Although I still find the bent over barbell row super awkward and I’ll probably think so the rest of my life.
Like, what is not awkward about that? All the best, and don’t forget that you can always drop me questions on formspring and I’ll try my best to answer them! Questions that are already asked will be answered soon, we promise.
KISSES, Shi Mei!!!