Gentle exercise equipmentMembership card in wallet and workout clothes in tote, you are headed to the gym, equal parts courage and apprehension.

You walk through the doors into a vast chamber with infinite rows of ghastly machinery and Barbie-like women doing voodoo-style contortions.

“Would you like to join us for Yoga at 6?”

At that point you wish you knew kickboxing. 

Workout Advice for Bariatric Patients

Allow Yourself to Feel

The first thing you can do is actually accept your feelings. It may seem a little ironic: one of the best ways to get past that feeling of absolute panic is to just, even if only briefly, allow yourself to feel what you feel. Acknowledge it, then own it. The feeling is real, it is you, and it is valid. Accepting your feelings (as opposed to trying to squash them) will allow you to move on the way to feeling comfortable.

Focus on going, and discovering your exercise preferences

Don’t worry about those weird torture-like machines. Focus on finding something that you like.

What matters most right now is just going and starting to feel a bit more comfortable. At first, just focus on going, and finding what you like.

Embrace Baby Steps

Setting super high goals and having trouble reaching them can actually be discouraging. For the first few weeks, setting a goal of going for just 20-30 minutes is OK. Focus on finding a couple types of exercise that you like / prefer.

Establish a Routine

Establishing a routine for yourself is one of the absolute best things you can do. One thing that can work well is setting up before-after sequences. Pick a recurring thing that you have to do every week, that you already do consistently, and then always exercise after that event. Eventually the two become associated. After a while, you become more comfortable with both. Having that kind of consistency, that kind of structure, helps you get into a routine, and thus stick with it.

Go at Non-peak Hours

Diving into a healthy exercise routineHate dealing with all the crowds? Nearly every gym has a period in the day where it’s nearly empty. For some gyms, this is late at night; for others, it’s around 2pm. You can even call around and ask a staff member which times are least crowded. They’ll be happy to answer!

Try out a Few Different Gyms

You don’t have to stick with the first gym you go to. While it’s normal to want to just go to the gym closest to your home, you don’t have to do it that way. It can be helpful to check out several different gyms before committing to one. What matters most is finding the one where you feel the most comfortable, just one that you kind of like. Choosing a gym that you like will make you more likely to go, and more likely to develop a routine that is sustainable and that, with time, you actually enjoy.

So go ahead: make the plunge. Just remember that’s it’s ok to just get your feet wet first.




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