You've taken a big step toward living a healthier life by having weight loss surgery, and now you've decided it's time to join a gym. But you are self-conscious and worried that everyone will be looking at you and wondering why you are there.
Rest assured that everyone feels uncertain and unsure when they go to the gym – no matter how they look or their fitness level. Even self-professed “gym rats" -- the people who are always working out and practically live at the gym – are paying more attention to their form and their heart rate – than they are to fellow gym members.
After your bariatric surgeon gives you all-clear for working out, use these tips to feel more comfortable at the gym:
- Try out several gyms before making a membership commitment. Most gyms offer a free pass for a few days.
- Ask someone to show you how to use the equipment. It's one of the services the gym provides. This helps prevent equipment injuries.
- Ask a staff member if a personal trainer is available to help you set up an exercise program geared toward your specific needs. For example, if you have knee or back issues, there might be some exercises and equipment that you can use, and others that you should avoid.
- Remember to start off slowly and with light weights.
- If music helps motivate you during your workout, bring headphones.
- When you take a class, let the instructor know that you are new and that you don't know what to do. The instructor will most likely provide some additional instructions during or after class to help you perform the exercises properly.
- Remember that every moment you spend working out is an investment in your health. Don't get discouraged if you can't work out for very long, can't complete a full class or can only lift a little weight. Each time you go to the gym and work out you are making progress toward a healthier you.
- Ask a friend or family member to join you when you work out. It's always more fun to have company in the gym, and they can encourage you to keep it up.
- Bring a water bottle and a sweat towel. Wear tennis shoes (not flip flops or sandals). Find out what the locker rules are so that you can leave your valuables in a safe place.
- If there is something you are not sure about, ask.
You've got this!