Fitness centers love January. The holidays have wrecked havoc on the diets and waistlines of many guys (women too) who then resolve to get fit in the New Year. So they flock to the gym and get themselves a shiny new membership. They purchase the latest in fitness wear and maybe a new pair of running shoes. The fateful day arrives for their first workout and with grim determination they hit the treadmill, pump the iron and grunt through as many sit-ups as they can muster. Within fifteen minutes or so, they begin to think something like, “Crap, this is really hard.” But they push through and complete their one hour baptism of sweat. Alas, many are never seen at the gym again, because the next day they wake up screaming (or crying) as every muscle in their body writhes in agony. At this point, they give up and say with finality, “I just can’t do it.”
However, some remain a glutton for punishment and set foot in the gym another time, and that is due to the sweet blossoming of spring. Well, not really; it is mainly because spring is the precursor to summer – and the beach. Guys love to play in the waves, scorch themselves under a hot sun, drink a cold beer by the pool, check out the girls – and they want to look good doing it. Consequently, fitness centers love the spring as well. They are fully aware of the droves of sun worshippers who will try again with renewed vigor to get in shape, only to give up one more time, usually until next January.
Resignation is not the way to kick off any season. Resolutions are usually positive, forward thinking actions, but sometimes people rush into something with great enthusiasm and try to do too much too fast. The gym does not have to be a place where one leaves in pain as a rule. As a matter of fact, the first month of a gym membership should be as pain free as possible. Most folks put on extra weight over many years; well, it is not going to all come off in three weeks. It is going to take some time, and that means the first priority of a successful gym membership is making the commitment to go on a regular basis.
Habits take time to develop, and if the first few encounters with a new activity are full of anguish, they might not take hold. One suggestion is to take it easy the first few visits, maybe for the entire first month. Easy enough so that the following days will be pain free. Lift lighter weights on the machines, run or walk a little slower on the treadmill than normal. If someone walks away from a workout, and thinks, “that was fun,” they will be more likely to do the activity again. Once the habit is developed, intensity can be slowly increased and in the process, progress can be made because the truly hard part, the lifestyle change of habitually exercising, has already been accomplished.
The gym is not the only workout regimen that applies here. Over do the laps on a track and a guy will feel busted. The same goes for a game of soccer or basketball. Take it easy the first few times; work into shape slowly and the habit will come, and the fitness level will improve.