Thursday, March 29, 2018

GUEST POST: 7 Tips to Conquer Your Gym Fear by Holly

Let's be real, it can be extremely easy to get into a routine and stick with it. Comfort zones are comfortable, but you rarely ever grow while chillaxin' there. When Holly offered to share a few tips on how she recently stepped outside of her comfort zone to become a better well-rounded runner I was all about it (and hopefully you will be too!). So, without further ado, let's see how Holly conquered her fear of getting into the gym and what tips she can share with us so we can do it too.

Hey there! I’m Holly, a New York runner of five-years, running everything from 5Ks to marathons! (I just completed my first marathon at Walt Disney World earlier this year and my sights are now set on New York in November.) Among my other loves are books, Star Wars and superhero movies, documentaries on Netflix, and any/every outdoor activity.

Photo Credit: RunDisney (via Facebook)

Now the nitty-gritty! Until this point, my gym “safe zone” has exclusively been the treadmills. “Strength training” was a word never uttered, similar to “he-who-must-not-be-named” (Any Harry Potter fans? Anyone? Ok, moving on…). But, if you’re like me and love to read anything on running, you can’t miss the idea that strength training makes you a better runner. So that is what my mission has become!

Day 1 came. Into the gym I went and out of the gym I went, having run a beautiful 5k and doing absolutely nothing else! Why? I WAS SO INTIMIDATED!

The rest of the gym was all torture-type machines, giant heavy objects, and people who knew what they were doing (SEE IMAGE FOR PROOF!). They would be watching me closely and critiquing me! (Yes, a tad overdramatic, but I couldn’t shake that feeling) What’s a runner to do?!

I’ll tell you! Because fast forward a few weeks, I feel stronger and my “chicken wings” are showing enough definition that my boyfriend even pointed out my triceps! How did I become the girl who now itches to be doing squats and planking to my heart’s content? Here’s the tips that worked for this newbie!

1. Start small! Besides the obvious risk of injury by going too hard or heavy too soon, use this time to build your confidence as well as your muscles!

2. Create or find a sequence that works for you! Pick exercises you like because if you despise what you’re doing, you’re going to look for any opportunity NOT to do it!

3. Develop a routine and stick to it! I’m an early riser so at the same time each morning I’m in the gym. This consistency doesn’t give me a lot of time to think up a reason to chicken out!

4. Set up your zone in the gym! Create your space to work in and it will help you block out the other gym-goers. I set up my station facing the window - the view is better! And by grabbing my weights, bands, and balls right at the onset, I don’t need to break my flow to go hunt among people mid-workout.

5. Make a kick-butt playlist! Happy and inspiring jams = happy workout! It’s science! And a mid-workout dance party is just another opportunity for cardio!!! Hello 80’s pop hits!

6. Rock your favorite gear! When you look good, you feel good! And if you’re still worried about people looking, you’ll know it’s because you’re rockin’ neon shorts and striped socks!

7. Treat yo’self! Need extra incentive to stick to it? I do! And because I actually started having “Leg Day” on my schedule, once I hit my workout consistently, I picked up a sweet new hat to rock on those days!

Hat from Sparkle Athletic

So that’s what works for me! Simple tips so that I actually look forward to doing the hard work! Believe me, I am nowhere near a fitness guru, but I am happy with where I’m headed and determined to keep going! After all, there’s some gear still on my wish list as motivation!

And if you’re a NYC-area runner, love Disney, or are eyeing a certain 26.2 mile block party in New York, I’d love to hear from you! I can be found on Facebook (Holly King) or Instagram (@itsajolly_hollyday)! And if you see a girl sporting neon and a trucker hat headed towards a gym at 7:30AM, say “Hi,” it just might be me!

Um... so let's just say this was just the kick in the pants I needed. I used to be "decent" at strength training (I don't have a gym membership but had a regular routine that I did at the house) but I would say it has been MONTHS since I done it. It's time to get back on the pony FO SHO! Like Holly (and everyone under the sun) stated, running is so much more than just running. We need to strengthen ALL of our muscles (and not just by consistently pounding them on the pavement)... So I'm putting it out on the InterWebs for accountability - I will get back to strength training once a week!

Do you belong to a gym?

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