by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
You’ve committed yourself to a healthier lifestyle for 2011. Perhaps you recently received the gift of Center membership. Maybe you’re determined to be more active. Eliminate start-up (or re-start-up) apprehension. Follow these tips to assure you are user-friendly on the fitness scene …
Let’s clarify. We all are user-friendly in the fitness world. You just may not know it yet. Newcomers tend to worry—I’m too out of shape, too overweight, too self-conscious. The same reasons for joining a fitness facility are what deter them. Keep these pointers in mind. Some are obvious and others, well, unfortunately not as obvious as we’d hope.
Show Consideration of Others
If someone is waiting to use your piece of exercise equipment, try not to monopolize it. If your day’s goal is to add some extra punch to your workout, try taking an interval of rest in between so others can use that machine. When finished, use disinfecting wipes to clean the equipment, especially handles, seats, and any other areas touched. These are conveniently placed around the Center as a courtesy.
Take only the weights you need. Spreading out a collection of dumbbells on surrounding weight benches can deter others from use. Avoid wandering with said dumbbells around the Exercise Floor where you can interfere with people’s mirror views. Working out in front of the mirror is essential to assure proper form. Really. It has nothing to do with vanity or hair primping. (Consider the latter as “don’ts.”) Request a personal trainer to be your spotter when lifting heavy weights.
Return workout tools (for example, exercise balls, dumbbells, and exercise bands) to their proper places when finished. Don’t throw them around or drop them down. You, or your neighbor, could lose a toe. As a courtesy, disinfecting wipes are provided to clean off any residual sweat and germs.
If you are new to a Group Fitness class, arrive at least five minutes early in classes like Cycle, Group Active, and Group Power. This allows the instructor time to set up additional equipment. It also gives you an opportunity to introduce yourself and ask any questions or share concerns.
Monitor Your Noise Level
We all love those bubbly folks who can’t enter a room without being acknowledged. They’re personable and instantly brighten the atmosphere. However, pay attention to your voice level. It’s easy to get loud over the sound of equipment, music, and the energetic surroundings at the Center.
Try to converse with people within close vicinity. Don’t shout over other members to discuss the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Even more annoying—yelling out the gruesome details about medical procedures performed on such a show. No one is motivated to treadmill the extra mile after hearing about a knee replacement gone wrong in TV land.
Restrict cell phone use to designated areas. Healthy living is challenging enough without overhearing random chat about what’s for dinner or where’s the latest happy hour.
The occasional grunt or heavy breathing is unavoidable, especially when weightlifting or performing high-impact Group Fitness moves. Just try not to let your macho side take over with loud streaming-audio groans.
Avoid Traveling with Your Life in Bags
Today’s portable offices are great. Remember to practice mindful awareness though. When exercising, focus on the tasks at hand. Although it’s possible to stay plugged in at all times, it’s not practical. With laptops, iPhones, books, and paperwork, you’ll be a walking tripping-hazard. Sure, you can enhance with an MP3 player or a TV show on the Center’s screens. However, for your own sake, minimize stuff you transport. Carrying unbalanced, heavy bags can undo the benefits of your exercise routine. Ouch to your back and shoulders.
Locker Room Parade
You may have grown up with a dozen siblings who all shared a bathroom. That doesn’t mean complete strangers are comfy seeing you strut your stuff in the buff. Again, it’s one of those suggestions we’d like to think are instinctive, but may not be. Oppositely, there are those who consider lack of cosmetics as being naked. The Center has plenty of enclosed areas and private showers. You need not emerge until you feel completely presentable.
While in the locker room, remember your deodorant. However, don’t try to camouflage the need for a shower with heavy perfume or cologne. That can be offensive in itself. It might also trigger allergies and asthma for other members.
The Center staff, especially your general manager, are available at all times to provide direction, troubleshoot issues, and resolve concerns. Keep open, ongoing communication with us. We want to assure your best fitness experience possible.
Perhaps Confidence, Not Courtesy, Is Your Issue
Your fitness manners are ready for exercise. However, you still feel shy participating in the fitness scene. That’s completely common. Realize you are not alone. All of us have started somewhere, most likely with a little extra chub or some telltale panting. Each member is striving to improve and reach unique goals. Don’t compare yourself. You are your worst critic. Rather, self-compete as you progress to a healthier body and mind.
Consider bringing a friend to cheer you along your quest for health. Wear clothes that help you feel comfortable in your own skin. Biker shorts and a tight tank might be ideal for a triathlete. Perhaps your style is yoga pants and a flattering T-shirt. Be proud of yourself, for all you are. Be proud, for all you are becoming.
And, to those who’ve even considered parading the locker room naked– More power to you. We’re all working for your level of self-confidence!
“How to Annoy People at the Gym,” by Paige Waehner at www.about.com.
“How to Behave at the Gym,” by Paige Waehner at www.about.com.
“Pump up Your Body Confidence at the Gym,” by Fitness Editors at www.fitnessmagazine.com.
Reaching with Confidence: www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/4884158028/in/photostream/
Workout essentials bag: www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/3776262782/
Comfy workout: www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/4025269297/