DO IT. Yeah, I know, you have errands and work and kids, oh my! Here’s the thing: do you like your heart? Are you a fan of it’s functions and placement? Then you need to workout. No one expects you to take up distance running, parkour, or advance yoga tomorrow, but your body needs quality time. It needs strength training: carry all the groceries at once! It needs flexibility: play Twister with your kids! It needs endurance training: walk through every available path at your local zoo!
Find what motivates you and use it fully. I have a special playlist on my iPod just for working out. I need a mix of fast, hard-driving music, and slower, more meditative music for my gym workouts. If I’m doing yoga, I have strictly meditative, non-lyrical music that I play behind the voice over on my yoga DVDs.
Only pay attention to other worker-outers if the interaction is positive. If someone pulls that lame-a$$, high school snobbery just walk away. A lot of gyms have regulars that are very into their physiques and are rude to people who aren’t as toned as them, that’s a fact. But that’s life, too. Those people think the gym is their territory but unless that person is the owner (unlikely) it really isn’t. Nobody goes to the gym unless they want to work on themselves. The reason(s) why someone chooses to work on (him/her)self is irrelevant. Back up the next guy and he’ll back you up, too.
Offer to spot. Most people that I’ve seen work out alone. It’s quite cathartic to a lot of us. But in some respects, it’s also unsafe. Be a brother/sister to the other person at the gym. Don’t try and be the dentist that chats up patients when they can’t talk. Just say, “Hey, why don’t I spot you just to be safe, then you can spot me. Cool?”
Wear what makes working out fun. Seriously. You’re already being beaten down by reality and responsibility on a daily basis, why not wear something that makes the time pass with a little awesomeness? You’re just going to end up sweaty and stinky at the end of it, why not at least get a laugh in the process?
Don’t wear makeup. I will never understand the women who show up at the gym with designer everything and a face full of makeup. You should be working so hard that your lipstick ends up around your navel. Don’t try to win a beauty pageant.
Try new things, but do so safely. I have tried a lot of different exercises but I will only do it if I have the opportunity to see it done or have someone show me what to do. There are a lot of ways to hurt yourself when doing many exercises so make sure you protect your back and all the various parts that could be pinched, crushed, tweaked, or otherwise injured.
Don’t speed-race your way through your workout. If you don’t have time to do everything in your typical routine, break it down to smaller routines and do each small part on a different day. Do upper body today and lower body tomorrow. Weights or flexibility. Don’t jump on a treadmill and sprint for 5 mins then hit a resistance machine and pump out 15 reps really fast and drop the weights. You run the risk of injuring your muscles and tendons as well as risking damage to the equipment.
Be cognizant of the other worker-outers. If you’re in an empty gym with all the equipment to yourself (I was on Super Bowl night) no one cares what you do or how. If there’s even one other person in there, be considerate. Don’t sit on a machine fiddling with your phone, don’t move back and forth between machines and take up a lot of space. For the love of all the sweat in the world, re-rack your weights!!
Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into being one kind of person or another. It’s like when someone says, “Are you a cat person or a dog person?” This isn’t two party politics, it’s your health. If you enjoy weights today but tomorrow it sounds boring then by all means, do something different!
Don’t think this is an all-inclusive list. Yes, there are a lot of rules. But what’s funny is that the real rules aren’t nearly as constrictive as the fake ones. You need to be careful to eat healthy but unless you’re training for a fitness show, you don’t need to follow a rigid diet. You don’t need to be religious about working out, you just need to make a best-effort to do it. Life happens, if your workout plan doesn’t allow for it, it’s an inhuman goal.
When your organs are well exercised, you’ll feel better everywhere. You’ll breathe better, sleep better, sex will be better (and last longer), you’ll be more awake and more vibrant… It’s just good.