Congratulations on joining us silly gym folk! I swear it’s not as frightening as it seems. Also, welcome to part II of my gym series. I’ve thought about the big concerns new gym goers encounter and am here with some tips (10 to be exact) on what to do and not to do at the gym to be successful in your endeavors.
1. Don’t be afraid – this is a big one that I have seen, people new to gyms are usually very afraid by the whole thing. Don’t be everybody starts somewhere. Everybody went in there for their first time too.
2. Make sure you’re using machines properly – Don’t be afraid especially don’t be afraid to ask for help the staff there is usually very friendly and willing to help you. If you are unsure how to use something it’s better to ask the staff member to show you rather than injure yourself and not be able to go to gym for a week.
3. Let go of the handlebars on the treadmills – I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen people on the treadmill, clinging to the hand grips for dear life. While they are good if you are feeling a bit of pain and you need to stop or you if you need a little bit of support, don’t hold on continuously. It really throws your body out of whack. On top of that you don’t work as hard if you’re holding yourself up. I really see people holding onto the handles or gripping with top on the treadmill when they’re at a higher incline. Even if they’re going a good pace, their body is just not working as hard as it should be. Think of it like walking up a hill two different ways. One way, you are walking up the hill with no assistance. The second way you have a car in front of you and you are holding on to a rope as the car pulls you up the hill. You still get a workout and you will still feel it in your legs but it won’t be as good as if you climb the hill on your own.
4. Know your limits – many people when they first start going to the gym are so eager that they go hard for their first workout or first few workouts before they crash and burn. Know what your limitations are, if you don’t you’re just going to end up so sore you can’t ( or won’t want to) workout or injury yourself and really won’t be able to.
5. Invest in a good sized gym bag – my bag is 24 inches on the inside and it’s the perfect size for me. It allows me to bring a change of clothes, extra workout clothes as well as everything I need while I’m there. Also while you’re buying a gym bag, buy a lock! If you don’t lock up your belongings you’re asking for them to be lifted. Err on the side of caution and buy cheap padlock. As to what goes in the gym bag I will do a post on that next week.
6. Keep your gym bag in the car – while on the subject of gym bags eliminate the excuse of “oh I left it at home” by keeping it in your car. Keep it in your back seat or in the trunk, just keep it in the car. Of course you take it in at least once a week to wash everything from there because it will just get rank if you don’t!
7. Always bring a water bottle – most places allow you to purchase water bottles from them but they add up, best bet is to get a reusable water bottle that you can bring with you. Some facilities have rules for what size of bottle you can bring (usually gallon jugs are frowned upon) jugs so if you just bring in a 1 liter water bottle though you should be fine. Some places like my work at Planet Fitness has a sensor built into the water fountain so you can refill your water bottle with filtered water.
8. Think quality, not quantity – the quality of the exercise should ALWAYS outweigh the quantity. There are fast reps and slow reps you can do that can give you different results but that is a topic for another time. What I am getting at is you should pay attention to your form throughout your reps. 15 tricep dips that take more time, have great form and execution are way better than 15 tricep dips that are half-assed with poor form.
9. Know your facilities dress code – Many places have dress codes for you to honor. Find out what they are and follow them, the articles they may forbid are usually for good reason. Work boots and jeans are hard on the machines and floor and can track all kinds of muck in. Overly flowy, stringy, tops or bottoms can be a safety hazard, imagine what could happen if your top or bottoms were to get caught on a treadmill…case closed. Same thing goes with jewelry, trust me nobody wants to hear your jingling and chiming because you have 10 arm bands on.
10. Know your facilities policies – right next to knowing the dress code is knowing what you can and can’t do at your club. Remember gym memberships are a privilege, not a right, if you break their rules, they can and likely will terminate your membership. Think of it as going to a friends house, ten to one you are not going to go there break their rules and expect them to invite you back over.
11. Do you check your form continuously- – know what proper form is for all of your exercises and do your best to maintain that throughout your routines. If you find that your form is slipping halfway through a set, you may need to adjust the weight as you may be lifting too much.
12. Separate upper and lower body – – to keep from pushing too hard and having your entire body so sore the next day that you can barely move, separate your upper and lower body into two different days. So say you do upper body on Monday and Wednesday, do lower body on Tuesday and Thursday.
13. Banish “no pain no gain” from your mind – It should never hurt to workout! Yes you will be uncomfortable that is normal, pain is not. Pain is an indication that you are pushing too hard or doing something wrong. Pay attention to it, it’s your body’s way of telling you “hey I don’t like this, we should stop.”
So what did you think of my tips? Which ones were most helpful for you? What tips have you gathered so far? Tell me in the comments below and have a fab day!