Before I start I should say that I'm not a qualified personal trainer and this information isn't meant to replace a qualified persons information. This is more of a guide for new people on getting into training mentally.
For a while I've been hitting the gym and went from being 230lbs to 165 lbs. The weight I can lift has doubled in one year and while my gains are slow, they are at least improving. After talking to friends and my boyfriend I've found that a lot of them want to get fit but are too scared too or have their doubts. So this is a little information on how to get mentally prepared for exercise.
1) Don't be scared - Everyone starts somewhere
A few friends, including my partner have told me that they want to get fit but they are scared of hitting a gym. So I asked them why and the general response I had was "I'm scared of people looking at me".
Lets look at the objectively. Take a look at the power lifter, the body builder, the marathon runner, kick boxer or whatever. Do you think they shot out of the womb looking like that and being able to do the things they do? Nope, no one does. We all have to start somewhere and I can honestly say I have never been to a gym where people were looked down on for stepping foot into a gym. Just do that and you're on the right track already. No one is going to judge you, quite the opposite in fact, I've had quite a few people come up to me and give me free advice on how to improve my chest press and so on.
2) You will get results - Don't tell yourself you wont!
Another thing I've been told by people who want to start working out but are a bit too scared to is that they worry that they will under perform or not reach the goals they aspire too. Even my partner was a bit upset that he couldn't do X pushups or wasn't loosing weight fast enough. Lets get things right, working out is an exercise in failure. When we can lift a set weight perfectly we add more on until we can't, if we can run three miles but want to run a marathon, we add another mile and so on until we can do what we want.
Everyone gains at a different pace, set yourself realistic and small goals. You don't climb a mountain by looking at the top, you start by looking at the first step.
3) Don't get confused - Simple can be better
There are a lot of different types of exercises and plans out there and some of them can be a bit daunting for new people. If you can't wrap your head around different plans, stick to simple ones. Simple workouts have done well for many years and they will keep doing well. They may not be as advanced and fast acting as the hot new program but it's better to have something that works instead of something too complex that will make you quit.
Also, you may find some people coming up to you in the gym and giving you pointers. I can't say that you take everyone's advice as I have been given advice I know to be wrong before. However I use the principle of "Do they have the body I want and are they teaching me good form", if the answer is yes then I listen.
Also, don't be scared of going up to someone who has a body you would want and ask them how they got there. The majority of people will actually feel complimented that they are acting as an example and even motivation for other people and would be quite happy to help.
4) No one I know goes - I'm scared of getting hurt
It's a fact of gym life that maybe not all and sometimes none of your friends will want to go to the gym, go at the times you want or the same gym. I personally feel that this is a good thing. No one I know goes to my gym which means I have no distractions, I can get in and get the job done without having my head filled with conversation that I don't need. This can become a problem if you're lifting heavy and you need a spot, at first I was scared about asking a random guy to spot for me but one day I just asked and I received.
Getting hurt, now that's a fact of training I'm afraid. If you put strain on your body is can go a bit "off" every so often. However, you have to weight up the pros and cons, do you want a good body and live longer and healthier at the risk of pulling a muscle or having aching ones every so often? Mind you, I've injured myself far more from general accidents than at the gym..
5) Still can't face the gym?
If you still can't face setting foot inside a gym then all is not lost. You can work out at home, either a full workout or even just to build confidence to hit a gym later. You can do a full range of body weight and cardio exercises at home for little or no money. If you wanted to invest in some weights and an exercise bike then you can, in fact for a little lump investment you could save on a gym membership in the long run and I know people who have set up home gyms and been successful. Personally, I still prefer the gym but that's just personal preference.
I hope this is some help to some people. I know a good few people on here don't need it, maybe they do, I can't say. This is more aimed towards the people (like the ones I know) who want to do something but can't seem to make that step.
Train hard and have fun people!
"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard." - Tim Notke
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Sir Winston Churchill