You’ve been thinking about going to the gym but don’t know how to start? Here’s how to launch and sustain your fitness journey with certified personal trainer, Daniel Bernal. Daniel, is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified personal trainer and entrepreneur.
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I’ve gotten so many questions about how I got comfortable with going to the gym. There are a lot of women who feel uncomfortable or a little embarrassed working out at the gym. Also, they just need to figure out where to start. We took a deep dive into some ways to get started at the gym to start that fitness journey. You can listen to the previous episode with Daniel here.
Daniel Bernal has been a trainer for over a decade and now is co-owner of a private gym, Fitness 100. We got into three Do’s and three Don’ts for getting started at the gym. Here are some highlights from our conversation:
Here are Daniel’s Do’s:
Have a Goal
When you start a fitness journey, it is easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to start. Start with setting a long-term goal, such as being healthier, losing weight, or whatever will align with your life. A goal will help you track progress and gain motivation as you start. It will give you some type of habit to build up towards.
Also, having fun will increase the likelihood that you will keep doing something. Daniel mentioned that although fitness is part of his life, he loves it. However, sometimes he does not want to go to the gym. As a gym beginner, if it is something you do not enjoy, chances are you will probably not keep doing it. So, have fun with whatever the activity is at the gym. For example, you can pick different activities or styles of workouts. Just try to have fun, as it will make everything much smoother.
Reach Out for Help
Additionally, asking for help is another one Daniel’s Do’s. We talked about how getting assistance can help you get familiar with weight training. Although weights are the more intimidating activity, it is crucial. He knows that many of his clients get nervous about going to the weight training area. Here are some tips to get comfortable with the weight training area and machines:
Ask a friend or someone who works out.
Ask a trainer or someone working at the gym how to use a machine.
Look at the directions on the machine to get familiar with how to use it.
Pick two to three body parts to keep your weight training super simple!
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Also, consider getting a trainer if you have the time and resources. A trainer can teach you how to weight train properly. This can be a short-term expense to get you started. We talked about how having a trainer is a luxury, but it can keep you accountable.
Weights versus Cardio. Moreover, we discussed which type of activity is better, cardio or weights, to achieve results. Daniel mentioned that it really depends on your goals. If you want to do a cardio class, that is fine. Daniel added that cardio is essential. However, you should do weights if your goal requires weight training.
We then got into Daniel’s top three Don’ts when getting started at the gym.
Don’t Neglect What You Are Doing Outside of the Gym.
Next, Daniel discussed how the central part of starting your fitness journey is the activities. However, pay attention to the other stuff you are doing, such as your nutrition/diet. Likewise, be mindful of your movement throughout the day. For example, are you sitting all day? Or are you getting your steps in? All of these components matter.
We also explored how much you should eat before going to the gym. This will depend on when you are going and your size. Daniel mentioned that the more you eat, the further it should be from your workout time. For example, if you have a full meal, 500 calories, wait about an hour and a half before going to the gym.
Don’t Skip Stretching and the Warm Up
Daniel emphasized stretching and the warm up. Don’t cut corners, and skip the warm-up! If you do, your risk of injury increases. You can’t work out if you get injured and may just stop going.
Don’t Make Excuses; Instead, Prioritize Your Fitness Journey
Additionally, we talked about how to sustain the habit of going to the gym. Daniel got into the challenge of a job change, the holiday season, or any other busy period. He mentioned that don’t make excuses because there will be plenty of reasons why you can’t go to the gym or feel you can’t go to the gym. Just prioritize the gym, even if it is 30 minutes instead of an hour. Something is better than nothing. Daniel suggested focusing on frequency versus volume during these busy times. For example, try to get in as many gym times a week for just 20 minutes instead of one long gym session.
Fitness Journey Plan During Busy Seasons
We discussed that you will want to mix it up, doing some cardio in one session and weights during another. Daniel mentioned that, especially for beginners, he likes to have his clients have one cardio day. It feels great and will reset the muscles. Then you can do weights during the other sessions. Daniel broke down a thirty-minute workout as follows:
- 5-10 minute warm-up doing some stretches and light cardio
- 20-25 weight or machine workout focusing on different body parts.
Don’t Set Unrealistic Goals
Likewise, we talked about fad diets. Daniel mentioned that he will consider what his clients are trying as long as it is safe. He noted that you can try different things out if it is sustainable. Daniel mentioned that it is probably only a good idea if the diet is sustainable. We discussed that fitness and going to the gym shouldn’t be seen as punishment.
“I am going to enjoy this journey and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other and just keep going. There will be twists and turns along the way, but if you are having fun working, you will have a good time.”
How to Sustain Going to the Gym
Additionally, it is ok to be nervous when you start at the gym. Just go in there and know you are trying your best. Don’t focus too much on how much weight you are doing. Likewise, don’t compare yourself to others. Be consistent. These tips will go a long way. Daniel emphasized that your fitness journey it is a long game. Don’t overwhelm yourself with the mountain; then, you will see more mountains. Fitness and health should just be part of your life. There is no destination; it is a journey. Daniel mentioned that if you see fitness as part of your life just like anything else, you can say, “I am going to enjoy this journey and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other and just keep going. There will be twists and turns along the way, but if you are having fun working, you will have a good time.”
Alright, you are now ready to get started on your fitness journey, one foot in front of the other.
More on Daniel Bernal
Check out Daniel’s site for his personal training in person and online packages for fitness guidance.
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