Joining a gym can seem intimidating, and let’s be honest, a bit scary for a lot of people, especially if they’re never tried it before. So, taking the first step, and making that decision to invest in your health and fitness, is huge! Well done! It’s a great step in the right direction.
I love it when people want to join a gym, because it means that they’re committing their time and finances to improving their health and fitness. That’s a big thing, especially at the moment when money is super tight for a lot of people, and there’s a bit of a squeeze with household finances. So, to make that decision to commit money each week to your fitness is huge.
I’ve joined the gym…what now?
The biggest mistake people make though when they do join a gym, is not knowing what to do once they get there. They can feel overwhelmed, and, while they have all the good intentions, they can find they lose motivation because they don’t have an exercise framework or a plan.
And, what typically happens, is that after the first three weeks, they’ll stop going to the gym, and they’ll start to make excuses about why they’re not going, which then becomes the habit. So, they end up paying for gym memberships that they’re not using.
The best advice I can possibly give to somebody who’s thinking about joining a gym, is to invest in a personal trainer, and reason I say that is because, unless you’re an experienced gym goer, you will spend months and months of wasted money, not knowing what the hell you’re doing, and potentially, you could actually damage yourself.
Quite often, someone who’s brand-new to the gym, will see somebody else doing a particular exercise and think, “Oh, I could do that.”, but chances are that they’ll do it poorly, and will end up injuring themselves and then not be able to exercise for six weeks because they’ve torn something.
Here’s a few of my top tips:
- Step one – invest in a personal trainer, even if it’s just for your first few sessions.
- Familiarize yourself with the gym. Every gym offers different equipment, has a different environment, and a different community.
- Choose your fitness goal.
- Diversity is key when it comes to working out. A lot of people tend to pigeonhole themselves into one type of exercise. As a personal trainer, I notice that some people just do Yoga or just do Pilates.
- Some people who go to the gym end up just using the treadmill because it’s familiar and it seems like a safe space, especially if you’re not sure how to use the equipment.
- I often hear it from women, mainly middle-aged women, who say, “I don’t know what to do. I just go to the gym and go on the treadmill or on the bike,” which is great, but it means you’re only getting cardiovascular exercise.
- You really need to do some type of resistance training as well, and to capitalize on the fact that you have access to all this equipment. Don’t forget, you’re paying the same level of membership, whether you go on the treadmill, or whether you use everything, so you might as well mix it up.
- What people don’t realize that it’s their body’s muscle mass that keeps them young. It’s so important for their hormones, their sleep, and to help them with active ageing, and that’s why resistance training is so important.
Busting gym myths:
Lifting weights will make me too muscly and masculine looking
A lot of women are scared of lifting weights because they think they’re going to look like a man. But the reality is, is their hormonal profile will prevent them from developing that level of musculature without some sort of hormone intervention.
I can tone my body by eating lots of protein and doing plenty of cardiovascular exercise
The reality is that you can’t tone up without lifting some weights, because lifting weights is what helps you to grow that muscle. It’s about creating more mass – that’s what fills out the skin and gives that definition. Walking on a treadmill alone is not going to do that.
I don’t know how much weight I should be lifting
The first step to correctly and safely lifting weights to tone your body is to get the advice of a qualified exercise professional. It’s not going to be free – personal trainers are usually self-employed people who run their businesses out of the gym. But it’s definitely worth the cost of a personal trainer to make sure you’re doing the right thing.
It’s too expensive to get a personal trainer
A personal trainer’s job is to help get the results that they want. You don’t want to be doing the same thing day in and day out and not getting the results you want. You could just spend a little bit of money, invest in yourself, get some advice, and then you’ll know what to do.
And that’s the thing it’s the investing yourself; if you’re going to spend money on going to the gym, then consider putting some extra money aside for two and four sessions with a personal trainer, who can actually run you through all the exercises you should be doing.