How To Feel More Confident at the Gym

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I recently joined a gym after a too-long exercise hiatus. My weekly personal training sessions with Jenn that kicked off my new fitness journey have been amazing, but I knew I needed to supplement the rest of my workout routine and give myself some variation that wasn’t running on the old treadmill in the basement. It was time for a change.

As my shiny new membership tag was scanned at the Croton-on-Hudson New York Sports Club, I was suddenly struck with a deep sense of fear.

You see, as a plus size queer person, I’ve never felt particularly comfortable at gyms.

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5 Reasons to Exercise Outdoors

5 reasons to exercise outdoors

Just came back from my second personal training session with Jenn and WOW my butt is feeling it today. It was my first time lifting a kettlebell in quite some time and I forgot how much I like using one.

We concentrated on legs and abs, and pushed through plenty of squats, lunges, kettlebell swings, deadlifts, leg extensions, Russian twists, and alternating toe touches. I felt good on my first two sets of everything and tired by the third set. It’s always the end that sneaks up and gets me! I got through it though, and that’s all that matters. Jenn repeatedly told me I was living throughout the session which helped and made me laugh.

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What a view!

She offered to have this session on the roof of her apartment in Astoria and I’m so glad we took advantage of it on such a beautiful day. I felt totally invigorated out there, especially since it has been raining for the last couple of days. The gorgeous view didn’t hurt either.

It’s a smart idea to mix up your work out environment once in a while to keep things fresh. Here are ten reasons why you should consider exercising outside for a change:

1.) Sun Time

Exercising outdoors is a great way to get some much-needed Vitamin D. Moderate sun exposure benefits your health and can make you feel happy. Just remember to put on SPF before you head outside and reapply as needed.

2.) Save Money

Gyms provide plenty of equipment for varying needs, but they can also be super expensive. You’ll save if you stick to using local roads for running and public parks to exercise in. You may also be able to find free fitness classes and events that take place in parks. Check out the NYC Parks Department website if you’re in the area.

3.) There’s More to Look At

Staring at the same gym walls can feel pretty boring. When you exercise outside, there’s so much to see and hear! Trees, cityscapes, dogs, and cute babies – need I say more?

If you don’t want to listen to the gossipy ladies sitting on a nearby park bench, consider putting on some headphones and playing tunes. Try a Free Trial for Amazon Music Unlimited.

4.) You’ll Work Out Harder

The same workout will obviously be more difficult in the summer heat than in a climate-controlled gym, and that’s good when you’re looking for a challenge. Varying temperature will put more stress on the body and result in a better burn.

The changing terrain and inclination of an outdoor space can increase the impact of your exercise as well. Sand, mud, grass, and rocks all affect your gait and can impact the level of difficulty.

5.) You’re More Likely to Exercise Again

One study found that you’re more likely to repeat exercise sessions if you do them outdoors. If going to the gym is a constant battle, then it might pay off to try outdoor fitness.

I’ll be working out on the road while I’m on my California road trip next week. Stay tuned for a post about that experience, as I’ve never dared to try hotel gyms before.

You can read about how I restarted my fitness journey on this page.

Active vibes to you all!

Jumping Back into a Fitness Journey After a Break

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Today I lifted a weight for the first time in three years.

Typing that made me cringe a little, but it’s true and I’m not going to make myself feel bad about it. Instead I choose to focus on the fact that I did the thing I’ve been dreading to get back in to: I actually worked out today!

I love to walk everywhere and often pass that 10,000 step mark, but that has been the extent of my exercise routine for a while. I’ve lost forty pounds in the last year through changing up my diet (Whole30 did me well) and walking, yet it became clear to me that I had to commit to restarting my fitness journey to continue making progress.

But I felt scared. I googled nearby gyms and hesitated to sign up for any memberships. I would look like a total newbie, use a machine incorrectly, insert other excuse my thoughts came up with. I was feeling really anxious about working out which then made me feel pathetic. The loop of self-doubt is real, folks.

These feelings held me back until the perfect opportunity arose. My friend Jenn Damiano became a certified personal trainer and asked me if I would be interested trying a session. I wouldn’t have to exercise in a public gym and I would get to work with someone I already knew. I said yes and we scheduled a private session.

Of course I felt a little nervous as I laced up my sneakers before my first workout back, but I got through it and I’m so glad I did! Here are a few tips to help you restart of your fitness journey.

DISCLAIMER: This blog is for informational and entertainment purposes. The opinions expressed on this website are solely mine and do not reflect the opinions of any others. I am not a medical professional, and any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice. Consult your doctor regarding your nutrition and fitness.

Find a Friend

Team up with a friend or family member as you dive back into working out. Having someone you trust with you in the gym may make you feel less intimidated, plus it’s always easier to get something done when you know that someone is depending on you!

I lucked out by teaming up with a personal trainer who happened to be a friend. It made our session super chill, personal, and fun!

Wear Something That Makes You Happy

When you’re getting dressed for your first time back on the mat, consider choosing a piece of clothing or an accessory that brings you joy. Putting it on could make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Cute sneakers, leggings with a funky pattern, or that old lanyard bracelet you made at sleepaway camp could hype you up for your impending workout.

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I decided to wear an old and soft KISS t-shirt my birth dad gifted me with some stretch capris to me to my first session. I felt ready to rock-and-roll all through my work-out. It was clearly a great choice.

Watch Your Nutrition

The nutrients we put into our bodies can really affect how well we function. Make adjustments to your diet that will help you before, during, and after your first workout back.

Don’t workout on a completely empty stomach. Take water breaks between songs and sets. Eat some protein once you’re done to help your muscles recover.

Take it Easy

Maybe you ran a ten minute mile in your heyday, but you probably shouldn’t attempt to do it again if you’re hitting the track for the first time in a while. You may feel eager to get back to the place you left off, but don’t push yourself too hard in that first workout. Doing so could increase your risk of injury.

It’s better to be patient with yourself and start slow. Modify the amount of sets you do and opt for lighter weights than you’ve used in the past. Take adequate breaks. Most importantly, listen to your body. If somethings hurt, stop and evaluate. It’s always better to avoid an injury than have to heal from one.

Once arms, legs, and abs were done at the end of my first session, I was feeling a bit burnt out. Jenn told me it was fine to stop a bit early and start cooling down if I felt like it, so that’s what we did. I really appreciated that she didn’t force me to go too hard.

I’m so glad I took this leap and said “yes” to exercising again! Stay tuned as I discover what forms of physical self-care work best for me.

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