You’ll feel better, drop a few pounds, sleep better at night, and improve your overall health and wellness – including your ability to stay sober – when you work out regularly. All of this is true. But if you are new to regular exercise, we should probably give you a heads up about some of the not-so-fun aspects of working out so you can prepare in advance and avoid letting these issues put the kibosh on your good time.
Here’s what you need to know:
- If you use your phone for music, it’s going to get sweaty. Yes, no matter where you put it or what kind of a protective case you use, you are going to get sweat all over your phone. It’s unavoidable. Skip a song, adjust the volume, go from Spotify to iTunes – there’s just no way around it. Just make sure to clean it regularly, and you should be fine.
- You will go through a lot of deodorant. And maybe foot powders if you are running regularly or showering at the gym, potentially baby powder, and any other hygiene products you use regularly after you exercise. Create a workout bag that you never unpack to carry with you every day so you always have what you need on hand.
- Your skin and hair are going to change in texture. If you’re sweating a lot, you are showering a lot, and when you shower a lot, your hair and skin can get dried out. And who has time to continually do special treatments for their hair or lotion up after every single shower? Just make sure you are using sunscreen to protect your skin if you are working out outside, and try to skip the full wash and just rinse your hair out after your less intensive workouts if you can.
- Your shoes are going to get stinky. They may have been expensive and they may be your favorite, but if you wear them frequently to work out, you will quickly turn them into shoes that are not presentable anywhere outside the gym. You can mitigate the harm and try to cut down on the stink by changing your socks regularly and putting dry tea bags in your shoes.
- You are going to have to get comfortable with not always looking your best. The perfectly coiffed people in smart, matching workout outfits exist for the most part in magazine ads. It’s okay to go to the gym if you haven’t shaved, with stains on your t-shirt, or your hair in a mess. Just keep showing up and keep working out – that’s all that matters.
- You are always carting stuff around. Remember the bag of toiletries that you will need to keep packed and on standby? Add a change of clothes to that, including an extra layer for comfort and maybe even a towel, and you may occasionally feel more like a pack mule than a gym-goer. The good news? That pack will get lighter each day if you continue to work out.
- Non–workout clothes may no longer feel comfortable to you. In fact, they may be downright uncomfortable. On the one hand, if you are losing weight, you may find that you more easily and comfortably fit into your clothes as you continue to work out, and you’ll love getting dressed after an exercise session. But in other instances, after the comfort of workout clothes, jeans may feel like they are squeezing the life out of you and dress shoes may seem like medieval weapons of torture. If that is the case, this is the first step to your new style in recovery.
- You’re doing a lot of laundry. All those gym clothes and towels pile up quickly in the hamper, and if you don’t have laundry facilities at home, you may find yourself down at the laundromat more frequently than you did before. Just keep a roll of quarters on standby at all times and bring a friend to make it more interesting.
- You are eating more than you ever have. Whether you are focusing on cardio, weight training, or a combination of both, you will soon find that you feel hungrier a lot of the time. To stay healthy, make sure that all your calories are nutrient-dense and include a balance of good fats, protein, vegetables, and whole grains.
- You are sore – a lot. When you weight train, you are working your muscles until they are fatigued, essentially causing them to tear. You see changes in tone and muscle shape under the skin when those tissues rebuild and repair – a process that can leave you feeling sore. Similarly, if you push yourself while running or doing any cardio exercise, especially if you are not used to it, it can contribute to general soreness and fatigue as well. Just make sure to get lots of rest, and if you are in pain, take it easy until it goes away, or see a doctor if it is serious or persists.
What are some of the things you experienced when you began working out regularly in recovery that you didn’t expect?