With the end of 2017 fast approaching, for those of us who engage, we may be idly thinking about making some New Year’s resolutions. I don’t always do it but as the Hubster and I have been discussing some shared training aims, the new year seems as good a time as any. For us it’s about building some muscle mass. Currently we’re exploring supplements and body shocking our muscles. I’ll keep you informed.
What about you?
I hope that some of you may be thinking of some health related change for the New Year so to inspire you further, in preparation for a January start, I thought I’d bring you some tips on choosing and starting the gym.
1) Choosing a gym.
When choosing a gym think location and cost. As I frequently say, making health and lifestyle changes require consistency. It’s no coincidence that gyms are full in January but quieter come February!!! Consistency is the most critical but often the most difficult challenge. To help, choose a gym that is located close enough to suit your routine. Whether that’s close to home or work is for you to decide. Having to travel too far to the gym and back can pose another challenge when your battling with a lack of motivation.
Maintaining consistency also means ensuring you can meet the cost for the coming future. If the cost of your gym becomes a worry that will challenge your motivation too. There are cheaper gyms available now but just remember because of that, they’re often very busy so think about the time your planning to go and visit the gym at that time. If you’re waiting around endlessly to use a machine, you’ll likely cool down which again is a risk to your motivation. Try to consider all of your needs realistically.
2) Purchase some comfortable clothing and supportive trainers.
You don’t want to be paying out for expensive gym gear when you first start, but I would recommend some initial investments. Firstly, get yourself a decent pair of trainers, I’m not talking labels just some that feel comfy and supportive. Secondly, I always wear layers at the gym. My body temperature and the gym temperature often change so I try to make sure I’m equipped to stay comfortable. For me that means a fleece or sweatshirt, vest, sports bra, leggings and trainers. Sometimes I even wear my track suit bottoms over the top! I peel off as I warm up and re-layer during cool down.
Get yourself a water bottle and if you can some training gloves.
Gyms do sell bottles of water but in my view they’re not good for the wallet or the environment. Besides our tap water is fine where we live, so I simply refill my water bottle from the tap. I can also add fruit or mint if like. I do use aminos but don’t worry about supplements too much for now – focus on getting your fluids in and again consistency.
When I first started at the gym I quickly realised I needed some support for my hands. My hands and wrists are not the strongest and I would practically get callouses on the top of my palms. Some padded gloves help a lot. Many places stock them fairly cheaply now. Online is usually cheaper.
3) Identify your needs.
Give some thought to your needs, this will help you to decide whether you want classes, cardio or weights. I choose weights as previous experience taught me that classes and certain types of cardio exacerbate my conditions. Weights give me the control of how I move my body and what weight is right for me. Think about what you know about yourself but don’t be afraid to test yourself too, it’s important to learn about your limits.
4) Get to know the staff and have an induction.
Don’t forget you’re a customer so don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may want to share your conditions and ask advice, that’s up to you. I do ask sometimes but mostly I research via media and books, again preferring to make my own decisions based on my knowledge of my body.
I’ve heard people say it’s embarrassing to have an induction because it makes you stand out as a beginner. I say it’s more embarrassing to use a piece of machinery the wrong way. Get to know the equipment. Ask the instructor to show you all the exercise variations you can do too.
5) Devise a plan.
Work out a realistic training schedule amid your other commitments. Working out how many times a week you can train will help you plan how you train. I’ll cover that in a future post but as a beginner focus on your core muscles of chest, back and legs. As you grow in confidence you can build in add on’s, different muscle groups and variation. Guess what – yup you go it, for now consistency is key. Get used to the gym and the rest will follow.
6) Stick to your own game!
Don’t be put off by gym goddesses and gym monsters. If we look we can all find someone who we think looks better than us, so don’t look! If you can’t resist a look learn from them. These people are your role models – they have walked the path before you and in my experience are rooting for you to succeed and happy to help.
7) GO TO THE GYM!
That’s it. I hope you’re tempted. If I can advise further please let me know. I’m happy to help. 😁