I have received monetary compensation for this post. The opinions are completely my own.
So. You’ve thought about joining a gym. If you are like me, you’ve never even walked into one before. But if you are also like me, you are finding that parenting (and growing older) has provided several unexpected ‘gifts’. Such as a bigger shoe size. Never eating a warm meal ever again. Saying and doing things you swore you would never do like channeling your mother and wearing pajamas to the store. Bumps and bulges that just don’t belong on your body. They appear seemingly overnight too. What in the world are these flappy things under my arms?
I tried working out at home. And they come out of the woodwork.
This is before I even tie my shoes. It’s like my attempts to do something for myself trigger their needs for ridiculous requests and benign ailments.
“Can I cut my toenails?” Seriously, who has to ask permission to do that? Or “my nose is running.” This is where I just give them that stare. That stare that says unless body parts have fallen off or blood cannot be contained with a bandage, LEAVE. ME. ALONE.
At least until I get past my warm up and get to a point where I can no longer hold a conversation because of exertion. I’m pretty sure I have unwittingly agreed to buy them both cars and gave them permission to eat candy for dinner. I cannot be held responsible for what I say when oxygen is rushing to my brain to keep me from passing out.
And usually, in these situations, they walk right past their perfectly relaxed father who is sitting on the couch, half snoring, watching crime dramas on TV. Like what he’s doing is more important. Oh, sorry, did they disturb you as you ate chips out of the bag? In his defense, it frustrates him as much as me that they choose to interrupt me rather than simply talk to him.
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So, in order to combat unwanted bulges and poorly timed children, I went ahead and joined a gym. And although one time I swear the guy on the elliptical machine next to me called me “mom” once, my workouts have gone off without a hitch.
But joining a gym and using the gym are two different things. It can be daunting to see all of this equipment and have no idea how to use it. But you don’t want to be that chick using the leg raise machine to do bicep curls. Or maybe you do, but that’s an entirely different conversation that may require an intervention.
Because I’ve been there, I figured I’d put together a list of advice and words of wisdom to help you make the gym a little less daunting. I also have some tips from Planet Fitness that I will weave into this list as well. Tips for new moms, pregnant women, and those of us who are past early childhood years and truly ready to get our bodies back.
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10 Gym Workout Tips for Moms*
- No one is looking at you – It’s so super easy to be self-conscious at the gym. You are there to better yourself so you already have something about yourself that you aren’t satisfied with. Plus you are likely wearing tight clothes that show off body parts you didn’t know you had. Add that insecurity to the daunting task of figuring out new equipment and you have an equation for extreme discomfort. Well, don’t worry about it. I promise that everyone there is worried about themselves and probably experiencing the same thing you are. Plus, Planet Fitness is a Judgement Free Zone® and fosters a welcoming environment so that everyone feels comfortable.
- Don’t be shy about asking for help – if you don’t know how to use a machine, ask for help! Don’t rely on watching how other people use the machines, often they aren’t doing it right. Another option is to look online. YouTube is a great source of video to explain how to use gym equipment. It’s important you know how to use the machines correctly so you don’t injure yourself.
- Just start moving – whether you are a new mom, a pregnant mom, or a more mature mom, it’s more important to do some sort of physical activity than to have a plan or a schedule. It’s ok to just head to the gym, pick a machine and use it. As you progress and get more familiar with the equipment, you will find your workout becomes more specific and more regimented. Even if it doesn’t, that’s fine too. Do what you can, when you can.
- Variety is the spice of life – one of the great things about the gym is that you can do so many different types of exercises making it more fun and making the time fly by. You can work muscles you didn’t know you had! Don’t be afraid to try different things.
- Don’t overdo it – it’s easy to overdo it when you have all this beautiful equipment at your disposal. Be smart about your limits so you don’t hurt yourself.
- Warm up and cool down – Warm ups and cool downs are as important as the workout itself. To warm up, you can do low-intensity cardio to get your muscles warm. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just enough to warm all your muscles up to prevent injury. Cooldowns should include stretching and breathing.
- Use fitness apps – there are a wide variety of fitness apps available to help guide your workout, and many are free. These apps can help you achieve specific goals and give you structure and a plan if you need your workout planned out for you.
- Cardio alone may not be enough – I know the weight area looks intimidating. Usually, it’s full of men. But trust me, it’s all perception. Strength training is so critical at any stage of motherhood and even pregnant moms can do it. It helps tone your body, it helps strengthen your muscles so you can carry around babies and all of the heavy stuff that comes with them. And if you are older, it can help keep your body looking and feeling younger and help combat bone and muscle loss. Strength training offers benefits cardio alone just can’t.
- Don’t workout alone – having a workout buddy or attending a group training session at Planet Fitness can help motivate you and if you are alone with kids all day, can be the one opportunity you have in a day to connect with other adults.
- Invest in Bluetooth headphones – Don’t let headphone cords get in the way of your workout. Bluetooth headphones mean you don’t have to have your phone on your body when you workout, and it means less ear pain because you will no longer snag the cord on something and violently pull the earbuds out of your ears.
Planet Fitness Membership Specials
Now through May 12th, Planet Fitness is having a membership special where you can join for $5 down (enrollment fee) and $10 per month without a commitment.
Planet Fitness is low pressure – no pushy salespeople. And their staff are friendly. Many clubs are open and staffed 24/7. All clubs have locker rooms and all memberships include unlimited small group fitness training. You can find a location near you here —> https://planetfitness.com/local-clubs.
*The content provided by Planet Fitness is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should consult your physician or other health care professional before following any fitness advice to determine if it is right for your needs.