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Getting back to Gym after the Festive Season

By Tom Holland
After the indulgences of the holidays, come the New Year Resolutions to get fit, lose weight, go to gym more, be more active …. Yet, then one is faced with actually doing all those things – and the major portion of that resolution means you have to actually go to gym.
This however, can be a daunting exercise (no pun intended) if you’ve let yourself go a bit .. or if it has been a while since you’ve actually set foot in this establishment.
Well, we understand and hope to provide you with a bit of comfort and motivation to make that leap.
Here are four tips to help boost your confidence and help you get a toe in there :

Ever notice how many people at the gym wear the same outfit over and over again? That could be because they really like the way it makes them look. Go shopping and invest in a few outfits that you absolutely love and that you think you look great in, clothes that accentuate what you feel good about. This can help your confidence exponentially.
And, if you want to wear that baggy T-Shirt and Track pants, till you feel better about your body, then wear them! |If you want to, make that “outfit” a goal.

Another reason you may feel self-conscious at the gym is that you’re not sure how to do certain exercises or use certain pieces of equipment. You really want to do that ab exercise with the medicine ball, try that leg press machine, or run on that new treadmill, but you don’t want to embarrass yourself by doing anything incorrectly and drawing attention to yourself. So you might end up not doing any of them at all.
Realize that everyone was a beginner at one point and that they all had someone teach them what to do. So ask for help, whether it’s working out with a fit friend you trust or paying for a session or two with a personal trainer or making an appointment to just walk through with one of the gym staff so they can point out equipment and explain how they work.
You’ll be amazed how great you will feel by overcoming your fears and finally doing what you thought you couldn’t. You can also start seeing results from challenging your body in a whole new way.

I have worked with celebrities, professional athletes, politicians, models and top CEOs and can tell you one absolute, unequivocal truth – everyone is self-conscious. Everyone! No matter how perfect or confident they may seem to be, even the seemingly fit and beautiful have what they perceive to be their flaws. So if you think you’re the only one who doesn’t feel 100% confident at the gym, think again. You’re in very good company.

Finally and most importantly, go to the gym for you. Make it your time to focus on yourself. Go to feel good in the moment, or maybe to help release some stress. Go to feel better about yourself in the future, making positive changes for you. Look inward by putting on your virtual blinders and blocking out everything around you that doesn’t enhance your experience. The more you focus on you and the less attention you pay to what’s going on around you, the more comfortable you will be.
The gym can and should be a positive place, somewhere you look forward to going. Take control of the experience by implementing these tips and you can make it a fun, enjoyable, life-long habit.

*Tom Holland, MS, CSCS, CISSN is an internationally-recognized exercise physiologist, certified sports nutritionist and freelance writer.

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Thrive On Your Own Terms as an Athlete

When you take 20 athletes of equal ability and give half of them mental training, those with mental training will consistently out-perform the others. Some people may be more talented than others, but if you don’t apply yourself and take responsibility for your own progress, you may fail or give up because you just don’t enjoy what you’re doing.
Empower yourself to take control of your mind, overcome fear and doubt and realize your true potential.
There are parts of your training that you are bound not to love. Rather than gruelling through a painful session, change your perspective to thrive on your own terms as an athlete.
Make it more enjoyable – add music, chose nice areas to train in so, if you’re on a run, stop, look around, admire the view.
Alternate the exercise you do enjoy with those you don’t enjoy as much. You can gain aerobic exercise in a number of ways, so if you don’t really like running, take a spinning class or cycle outdoors. If you don’t enjoy the treadmill mix treadmill days with the elliptical trainer or row.
When you feel you have a say in what you do, you have better emotional buy-in and will be more inclined to stick with it. If you try and force yourself to stick with a plan that you really don’t enjoy, how likely are you to stay with it?
Don’t make training even harder than it is. The goal is to get fit .. but, also to enjoy the process.