Written By: Sanae Shea
Interview with Shari
When it comes to fitness, I’ve always found the easy part is the getting started. The hard part is staying in the game. I sat down with Shari Geiser, Health and Fitness Manager for the Kearney YMCA and asked her about getting started and not giving up.
Q When someone brand new to fitness walks into a gym for the first time it can be intimidating. What should be her first step?
A I always say the first step is getting yourself through the doors. Hopefully this person is walking into a gym that is very helpful with getting started and the new member gets a tour of the facility and introduced to a few instructors or staff that can begin the relationship building process. If someone is intimidated and doesn’t feel welcome they won’t come back!
Q It seems to me that gym goers tend to fall into two categories, the group fitness type or the “I workout alone” type. What personality traits would cause someone to lean one way or the other?
A Generally these are the two types of health seekers. I would say there are a lot of the same personality traits in both types. The difference is most likely that the “I work out alone” have never been welcomed into a group exercise class or they simply have a workout routine they enjoy to do alone and may be more independent of a person…they might try a group fitness class if they are encouraged by a staff person or a friend to do so. The group fitness type tend to come to the gym with a friend and may have a little more of the need for encouragement. Generally those who are this type will be much more successful in a group exercise class if the instructor and members really make them feel welcome…however, if they come in alone and try it without that encouragement they, too, may never return.
Q Are there any unwritten gym etiquette rules that newbies should know prior to walking into the gym or the locker room?
A Always bring a water bottle…you must stay hydrated. And, in a fitness center area make sure you clean off your machine/equipment when you are done…common courtesy. In most cases cleaning cloths and disinfectant are readily provided.
Q How often should a newbie plan to work out once she gets started?
A One common mistake amongst “newbies” is that they start off gung-ho and then drop off the face of the earth. Be reasonable and set achievable goals. Start with at least three to four days a week of cardio, maybe 30 -40 minutes of walking or jogging, a Zumba class, or swimming. When cardio becomes a habit (3-4 weeks) begin working in strength workouts. Most gyms have trained professionals to show you how to use weight machines but if that makes you uncomfortable attend group exercise classes like Core, Pilates, Small Equipment Training, or BODYPUMP. Always schedule your workouts into your life…if you don’t schedule it like everything else it won’t be a priority and will always be the first thing to go when your day gets busy.
Q How quickly will she see results?
A It takes a lot longer to get into shape than to get out of shape. Don’t expect immediate results. Your body will take a few weeks to see you are changing up your fitness activity then you will most likely see some changes. Try to go by the rule of “it’s more important to feel good in the size clothes you wear than to reach a certain weight. Most people will gain muscle weight but muscle is much more lean than fat so weight loss should come secondary to inches lost. And…the more lean muscle mass you have the more your body will continue to burn calories throughout the day when you are at rest after your workout.
Q How long before the average newbie hits her first plateau or starts to fall off the wagon?
A Plateaus will differ depending on the biomechanical and chemical make-up of a body. People with higher metabolism will typically burn calories faster. Just remember when you hit a plateau try to change up your workout and “shock” your body…then changes should continue. Studies show that 85-90% of weight loss is due to proper nutrition and the workout is a bonus to help gain good cardiovascular endurance, burn calories, and tone muscles…which always look better. Remember…”if you’re tired of starting over…quit stopping!”
Q When you feel your motivation start to slip, what are some unconventional ways to get your head back in the game?
A Sometimes finding a workout partner or hiring a personal trainer are good ways to stay motivated and accountable. OR…hang up a photo of what you want to look like again or of activities you once did that you want to do again. Find a workout that is enjoyable…a lot of people turn to Zumba as it’s “exercise in disguise”…or some even set goals such as marathons, half-marathons, or 5K road races to keep them on track.
Q After consistently working out for a while, what are some ways to take your workout to the next level?
A Set up a challenge for yourself like trying a new workout, registering for a race, or joining a specialty class like Bootcamp…this will ensure you are changing it up and keeping it fresh.
Q Injuries are a quick way to derail your fitness goals. What are some common injuries a newbie might face and what steps can she take to prevent them from happening?
A Depending on one’s biomechanical and chemical make-up injuries vary….but no matter what the potential injury plenty of water and stretching are sure to help prevent. Save stretching for after a warm-up…cold muscles will pull and are not as flexible. If you feel you may have an injury stop working out and see your doctor!