Let’s just get this out of the way: working out is hard for everybody, especially for people who haven’t traditionally seen themselves represented in fitness culture in the past. If you’ve been putting off a new routine but are intimidated by the prospect of setting foot in the gym, we’ve got a few tips here to help you feel like your best self as you take those first steps.
Outfit Yourself With Gear that Makes You Feel Good
As a plus-sized woman, one of the biggest barriers of entry I’ve felt with regard to fitness is not being able to find clothes that will both support me while I work out and make me feel confident enough to keep going. There are size-inclusive brands available for every budget, but Livi Active by Lane Bryant and Old Navy’s Elevate line offer style, comfort, and a pocket big enough to actually hold your phone. If you’re looking for sports bras, Torrid has options that are both supportive and stylish.
Find an Accountability Buddy
We’ve all been there: it’s the middle of summer; you’re hot and sticky, and the idea of going to the gym and getting even hotter sounds much less appealing than staying home and staying cool. If you’re just beginning a routine, the scariest part is just getting to the gym in the first place, and that’s where having an accountability buddy can take the pressure off in a major way. Find someone who’s starting from a similar place as you are, who has goals that are similar to yours. While in-person accountability buddies can be great, living in a new area or being new to the gym can make that difficult, which is where online communities become a vital component of success. Fitness trackers like Fitbit have social challenges like the Workweek Hustle, which allow for a little bit of friendly competition between you and friends, no matter your location.
Situate Yourself With The Right Tunes
If you’re working up a sweat, the right music can make all the difference. Before you go for the first time, ask yourself: what do you listen to that makes you feel your most powerful? If you’re like me, your fitness is powered exclusively by early 00s hip-hop (hello, the golden age of Lil Wayne?), but it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it makes you feel unstoppable. If making playlists gives you stress, Spotify’s got you covered with tracks from every workout from Girl Power to Classic Rock.
Above All: Be Kind To Yourself
As you’re moving through this process, it will be easy to get discouraged, especially once the novelty wears off and you’re not seeing the returns you’re hoping for just yet. No one goes from zero to Xena overnight, and I can tell you this now: you will have stumbles and slip-ups. But what ultimately will determine the success of your new routine is how you respond to those slip-ups. Goals are important; discipline is important; but remember, you’re still a person who deserves compassion, so don’t punish yourself if there are bad days. Listen to your body. You got this.
Do you have any tips that made starting a program easier for you? Let us know in the comments below!