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With the exception of one summer right after college that I got into doing a home step aerobics video every day, I have never worked out. Before I had a baby, I never worried about it. But my daughter is eight months old, and I am still carrying around half of my pregnancy weight (and no longer in a cute baby belly). I know (and my husband has reminded me a little too often) that the only way to lose the weight is to start a workout routine. A couple of weeks ago, I went ahead and joined a gym near my house. It seems like a lovely place to excercise and my intent is to start going in the mornings before work. The problem is that I have absolutely no idea what to do once I get there. I don't even know what to wear. It's sort of like entering an alien planet for me. Does anyone have any advice?”

4 replies so far...

  • wear comfortable clothes. especially if your just starting. Its about comfort and ease. Be able to move!!!

    get on the elliptical and go for like 20-40 minutes. Its the best way to ease yourself into a routine and see results. you can listen to music... read a magazine or books... etc etc... its also a great way to take sometime for yourself and reflect on your day. good luck!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Yvonne Roberts on 23rd February 2009

  • I would highly recommend trying a few classes. Depending on how coordinated you are (I'm not!) you may want to skip the aerobic-like classes to start, or see if they have some intro classes. I'm a big fan of the short (but intense) 10-15 ab classes and also strength training. Classes are good b/c they keep you motivated to not quit after 10 minutes and if you find one you like it will help you get out of the bed on time in the morning so you don't miss it. You can also try a few of the machines, like the treadmill or elliptical traininer. I'm sure any gym will have someone in the exercise area who you can tell you're new and they'll show you how the machines work and if you need to sign them out (at busy times they sometimes have a sign up sheet and a maximum time allowed). As far as what to wear, I would suggest stretchy pants (like yoga pants) with a tank top and a t-shirt over it. If you get hot you can always take the t-shirt off. They should have a locker room where you can put your purse, coat or anything else you brought with you. (Every once in a while I've seen people walking around with their purse, which always makes me chuckle.)

    By the way, not to discourage you from the gym but I'm a very big fan of exercise DVDs. There are so many to choose from and you can do it at home whenever you want. I have a bunch of the 10-Minute Solution DVDs, which are quick and good for beginners. I'm also a big fan of the Women's Health: Train for Your Body Type DVD, it has a lot of different options which keeps it interesting.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by cmary on 12th February 2009

  • I would definately agree with the personal trainer idea to get you started!
    I know you just joined the gym, but let me throw this out...I'm a trainer at Curves, which is a gym just for women, and I would highly recommend trying it! It's fast, fun, circut training and it really works - I lost 22.5 inches in the first year I was there. Plus there are trainers to walk you through every part of your workout, at no extra charge.
    Another thing I've enjoyed is running. I found a great website,, which has a Couch Potato to 5K plan. It takes a beginner up to running 5K (3 miles) in just a few weeks. It was much easier to follow than I thought it would be!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Amanda1023 on 12th February 2009

  • First of all, good for you! Seriously.

    OK, so I'm a bit of a gym rat (you can read about my addition here: and have a few ideas:

    If at all possible, it would be great to have a trainer do a few workouts with you and set you up with a routine. I know it's not cheap -- any chance you can ask for this as a gift, say for Valentine's Day? It's really helpful to have them show you the machines and establish a regular routine that you can later follow. At some clubs an intro session with a trainer is free when you join -- you should ask.

    Some clubs also have these little circuits set up -- several machines in a row that make up a routine -- and have trainers who are there to help you get the feel for them. Also a good idea.

    Would also suggest trying a few classes -- I really like spinning (it's intense, it's short, it burns a lot of calories and it's only really hard at the beginning), Pilates, and full body conditioning -- I think taking a class makes gym a bit more bearable and it's easier to get into.

    Other than this, my advice would be to do a bit of weights and some cardio, every week. I am a fan of those Elliptical machines for cardio -- 30 mins is a good start, but make sure it's not too easy (you should be sweating:). For weights, start with machines or light free weights -- if you really don't feel like getting a trainer, check out some of those fitness mags (Shape) because they suggest exercises you can do.

    I am sure this is so much more than you wanted to hear -- but hope some of it is helpful!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 11th February 2009