The 2019 Gold’s Gym Challenge is here! Your commitment and perseverance over the next 12 weeks will change your life. 2018 Challenge winner Emily Chavez reached her fitness goals last year, and she understands the emotions you might have at the beginning of your journey.
“I remember exactly what was going through my mind on day one — ‘What did I get into?’” Chavez says.
There will be ups and downs along the way, she says, but the first thing to do is conquer arguably the biggest hurdle: getting started.
Day one: What to expect and how to start working out
First, try not to over hype it in your own head, Chavez says.
“I stressed about what I would wear to the gym, how much exercise I’d be able to do and whether I would be judged by people in better shape,” she says.
Here are some quick tips that helped her get started.
- Turn up some tunes. “I literally put on my headphones and drowned out those thoughts with music while I got ready,” Chavez says. “It [helped me win the] mental battle just to get out of the front door.”
- Remember everyone is working toward a goal. “What helped is I realized that everyone has a day one. The fittest person in the gym didn’t wake up looking like that; they had to start somewhere to get there, too.”
- Start with five minutes. “If your goal for the first day is to do five minutes on the treadmill, do those five minutes and feel great about it,” she says. “Then come back and try to do more.”
- Find a workout buddy. “Having my trainer as my accountability partner helped. I was eager to show him what I could accomplish every week.”
Recovering her strength and mobility
Chavez’s motivation to start working out stemmed from the long-term effects of childbirth one year earlier. After she delivered her daughter via emergency C-section, she had complications with her surgery incision. Two months passed before she fully healed, during which time she completely lost core strength in her abdomen.
“It hurt to get out of bed,” Chavez says. “I was hunched over all the time; I couldn’t even pick up my daughter.”
Doctors told her that she would likely never have the strength she had before her pregnancy and would struggle with pain for the rest of her life. Chavez could not accept that.
“I don’t want my daughter to have a mom on the sidelines,” she says.
That’s when she decided to join the 2018 Gold’s Gym Challenge to learn how to start working out again. Chavez explained her physical limitations to her trainer, who developed an exercise plan to regain her strength.
“It was a rep-by-rep process,” Chavez says. “I got a little bit stronger every day. Being able to do just one more every time meant more to me than what the scale said or being a certain size.
“Holding and playing with my daughter without pain is the true victory.”
See more Challenge winners and try a beginner-level workout to kick off your 12-week journey: