You just had a baby - you are exhausted, drained, emotional, and your belly is a lot flappier than it used to be. Believe it or not, this is the best time to start up an exercise program.
After having my second (and last) child, I was determined to get into shape. I started playing around with the machines at the gym and doing my time on the dreaded treadmill, but I was not satisfied. I was also not ready, whatsoever, to set foot into the small, overcrowded weight room, which was mainly occupied by giant, spandex-laden meatheads.....BUT summer was around the corner and my local gym had a really good deal on Personal Training packages.
I signed up. I figured my PT could show me ropes, and provide me with the confidence that I desperately needed to mark my place among the veiny, bulgy, sweaty specimens of the weight room.
I have now been lifting weights for two years. TWO YEARS! I have drastically changed my body shape from a party girl, beer-bellied, doughy shadow of a woman into a lifting, toned body that I can actually be proud of! I can carry SO MANY groceries! I have loads of energy to play with my kids, run errands, and clean house. My kids love watching me lift! What a great example for my boy and girl: Moms can have muscles too! I will admit that at first, the guilt of leaving the home to workout was overwhelming, but now it's routine. They expect me and encourage me to go.
With all that said, being a mom (or just a woman on a mission to live a healthy life) can sometimes make it difficult to take the initial steps into the weight room. It can seem very intimidating but I know you can do it! Here are a few tricks to help you dominate the weight room.
- Music - a blood pumping playlist and a good set of earphones are essential. It will help direct your focus on training and keep the distractions at bay.
- Information - not everybody has a budget for a Personal Trainer, BUT most gyms will give you a tour of the machines for free when you first sign up. This is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the equipment and gym etiquette. Don't be shy and ask a lot of questions! If you are comfortable enough you can also ask your fellow gym rat for pointers.
- Plan - you can do a bit of research on the net for workout programs and specific exercises. Just make sure that you are using credible sources. Knowing what you are going to do will take the guess work out of your visit to the gym.
- Form - watch youtube videos, go to the library, read fitness mags, follow fitness gurus on social media.....why? Because you need to know proper form for your individual exercises. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about your workout the less likely you are to injure yourself. This also helps boost your confidence when it comes time to perform. Some personal favorite sources of mine include BusyMomGetsFit, BUFF Dudes, and Blogilates. Every time I introduce a new move to my repertoire I repeatedly watch a video, study, and practice it in the mirror until I am confident enough to try it.
- Be flexible - you have your plan, but you're sharing the equipment with loads of people. Don't get discouraged when someone is using the machine or weights you planned to use, just move onto the next one and come back when the equipment is free.
- Quiet time - no, you are not in time out. But if your nerves are getting the best of you, try hitting the gym during quiet time. You may be more comfortable trying out new moves when the gym is a little less busy. Ask gym staff when that time is. Summertime is usually perfect for in-gym experimentations since there seems to be a lower attendance rate.
- Men - men will look at you, so you might as well expect it. BUT, not for the reasons that you think. They are just surprised or impressed to see you, since the female population in this environment can be nearly nonexistent. No one is judging you. Repeat after me: NO ONE IS JUDGING ME!
The weight room, for me, is my sanctuary. It is my therapy. If I have had a rough day, which moms sometimes do, nothing soothes like pulling, pushing, lifting, dropping a heavy set of iron. The adrenaline rush, the pump, the satisfaction of doing something for me, by myself and separate from the home has made me way more confident and happy. Be brave, for the benefits of a hard workout can banish the newbie jitters!
Elaine is a mom of two wonderful kids on a healthy lifestyle journey, studying towards a Nutritional Therapist and Advanced Sports Nutritional Advisor certification. Lifting heavy things makes her happy! Follow her on Facebook!