The gym can be an intimidating place if you are not used to going to the gym. Visions of big muscle dudes sweating all over the weight machines or super energetic fitness instructors over choreographing every step class and you are giving up before you even begin.
Truth is there will be large muscled and super fit bodies at the gym but everyone at the gym is there for the same reason – to be fit and healthy. Use them as motivation. Find your own non sweaty corner of the gym, look for beginner classes and ask staff for help. They want to see you succeed at getting fit too.
Lace up your runners, push your fears aside and take these 10 tips with you to the gym for a great workout.
10 Tips to Take With You to the Gym
Take a Big Water Bottle
Take at least a 24 ounce water bottle. And drink it all. You will get thirsty and water is SO good for you. You really don’t need to sports drinks unless you are training for a fitness show or marathon. Add a wedge of frozen lemon or berries to jazz up your water.
Take a Towel
Not all the cool muscle dudes are cool enough to wipe down the machines after they sweat all over them. Take a small towel you can put down first so you stay dry.
Leave Your Smartphone at Home
Unless you want it for music, you don’t need your phone. It’s a distraction and you will end up surfing facebook or answering text messages. Focus on the work out – get into a groove and you can be in and out of the gym in 30 minutes with a great workout to show for it.
Working out with friends is great for motivation and I totally think you should hang out with active people to inspire you to be more active. But the down side to only going to the gym when your friends goes is YOU don’t go when they don’t go! Go on your time on your schedule and go it alone. If friends want to meet up – great – if not, you go anyways!
Dress For It
Plan to sweat. On strength training days when you just do weights you can get away with longer pants and a workout tank top or t shirt but on cardio days you will need to be in shorts, a breathable top and have a towel handy to wipe away sweat. Over dressed and under prepared and your workout is is more work.
Make a Plan
Plan it the way you would a hair appointment, girls night out or the kids swimming lessons. It goes on the calendar and it becomes a MUST DO, not a MAYBE DO, item in your agenda. Schedules change weekly so be flexible and realistic with your planned dates for exercise, but plan to get your butt to the gym at least 3 times a week.
Talk to a Trainer
At least once talk to a trainer. You don’t have to buy in to any long term package and no need to schedule multiple training sessions but a one on one run through of the weight machines and exercises that suit your goals with knowledgeable staff is a must when you start at a new gym. Strength training is so good for you, don’t let the odd looking machines discourage you – ask for help.
Don’t know all the latest zumba steps? No idea what a reverse warrior is? Not sure you are able to lift a weight heavier than a soup can? For classes you are new to take your spot at the middle of the pack with a clear view of the instructor and a few people on both sides that know what they are doing and fake it tile you figure it out. It will come. We all started out not knowing a grapevine from a downward dog.
Mix It Up
Don’t get bored. Try new machines for strength training, try different cardio machines, get to a yoga class or Pilates and try muscle pump even if you don’t know what it is. There are all kinds of toys at the gym such as medicine balls, bosc and stretch bands that can keep you moving and your workout fun.
Do One More
Once you have mastered a few machines, found the weight that is right for you to do 8 challenging reps . . . do one more rep. Go for 9. When you have done as many seconds of plank as you can – do one more second. Done as many squats as your legs can hold you for – do one more. You are getting stronger and fitter with every gym visit, and I know you can do one more!
Embrace the gym, become a regular, keep your eye open for new machines and don’t be afraid to try new classes. Working out can be fun and feeling strong, fit and healthy is definitely worth the effort.