The biggest obstacle to joining a gym isn't a lack of time or not enough extra income to justify a health club membership.
Those are excuses -- part of a bigger fear that permeates through the hearts of the overweight and obese who simply can't muster up the courage to admit what really keeps them away from the dumbbells and dead lifts.
They're inexperienced and afraid.
Believe it or not, most first-time gym-goers don't even know what type of clothes or shoes to wear. Once those thought-to-be rudimentary obstacles are tackled, the thought of actually setting food inside a gym seems daunting at best.
Truthfully, the best defense against tackling the treadmills and overly toned regulars at a gym is a good offense (i.e. a game plan).
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One of the bigger misconceptions is that everyone inside the walls of a neighboring health club or big-box fitness center like Planet Fitness or LA Fitness is chiseled in stone and eats nothing but vegetables and chicken all day.
Yes, of course, every place has that type of clientele but truthfully they are few and far between. If you're overly concerned about that, however, there are places -- like the aforementioned Planet Fitness -- that market and cater toward a crowd that isn't necessarily an advanced exerciser.
Now that you've picked out a perfect landing spot to get healthy, the bigger question emerges: what do I do once I get there? Let's say you've already tamed your diet and have transformed from fast-food junkie to frequenter of fruits, proteins and vegetables.
The next step is developing a regimen at the gym that complements your healthy eating but doesn't go overboard in intensity and duration. The big selling point these days is extreme weight loss courtesy of reality TV shows like the "Biggest Loser" and "Extreme Makeover."
Those types of "lose-weight-at-all-costs" mentalities work but only with the cameras rolling. Most people don't have a Trainer Bob or Jillian Michaels screaming in their ear 12 hours a day to run faster. That type of motivation truthfully doesn't exist on a day-to-day basis realistically speaking.
Trying to do something comparable within the walls of a gym is a death sentence to new exercisers. They'll wake up after day one feeling chewed up and spit out by the grind of just a lone workout. That terrible, post-working soreness typically leads to thoughts of saying goodbye to sweat and hello to laying in sweatpants around the house.
Don't set unrealistic goals and expectations if you're just getting back on your feet from a fitness standpoint. Find someone to work out with that has similar health and fitness goals or simply employ the services of a trainer; these days, most health clubs put together small group personal training at no additional charge.
Employing a simplistic, sensible approach to slimming down will save a lot of heartache and turn the blood, sweat and tears approach to fitness into a thing of the past and pave the way for people to battle the bulge -- and win.
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