If you’re a gym newbie, or even if you’re a regular, walking into a gym can sometimes feel a little daunting. The weights section is often packed with people who look like they could bench a monster truck and the people doing cardio definitely look like they’ve run a marathon or two. However, that’s no reason to turn around and put off your workout for another day.
Here are six simple tips to help you to get stuck in at the gym:
1) Wear gym-appropriate clothes
This might sound like a given, but, if you’re spending half of your time pulling up the jazzy activewear that you bought (realising that the reason it was on sale was because it’s completely unsuitable for any sort of movement) then you’re not going to get a good workout in.
Tip: when you’re trying on new gym wear make sure you actually move in it! You might feel stupid doing squats or star jumps in the changing room but you’ll save yourself precious gym time (and money!) by giving it a trial run first.
2) Plan of action
Having at least a rough plan of what you want to do in the gym definitely helps. If it’s cardio, you can use apps like Nike Running to structure your workout or StrongLifts 5×5 which is ideal for planning strength training. Following a plan also makes your time in the gym a lot more efficient as you won’t spend as much time thinking about what to do next.
3) Motivational tunes
Blocking out the world with some good workout music is a great way tackle gym-phobia and Spotify is full of good playlists if you haven’t got time to make one for yourself. Throwing some shapes in the changing room is also an acceptable form of cardio in case you don’t fancy the treadmill or cross-trainer.
4) Know how to do what you’re doing
Knowing how to work out will not only be a massive confidence boost but it will also save you from injuring yourself through poor technique. Asking someone at the gym how to do something is an option, but butting into people’s workouts isn’t going to win you any brownie points with your fellow gym-goers, and unless they happen to be a personal trainer, you should be wary of taking advice from them anyway.
If you want to prepare in advance, YouTube is saturated with videos on everything from warming up to nailing a Romanian deadlift. A lot of form can be practised at home in front of the mirror without equipment. You can also ask members of staff at the gym- it might be that they’re too busy, but you won’t know unless you ask!
5) Nobody is looking at you!
This is a really important thing to remember. Everybody is (or at least should be) in the gym to focus on themselves and you’re all there working towards your own individual goals based on your own fitness levels and general health.
6) Comparison is the thief of joy
And finally, as tempting as it may be, try not to compare yourself to other people in the gym.
In a world of over 7 billion people, there will always be somebody who can run faster than you or lift heavier than you. It’s great to be inspired by other people’s abilities and achievements but don’t let them put you down. Comparing your Chapter 1 to somebody else’s chapter 20 is always going to be a recipe for negativity!
Set goals for yourself based on your capabilities rather than capabilities of those around you.
Exercising regularly is a great way to unwind when you’re up to your eyeballs in uni work, and hopefully these tips will make it a little less intimidating. Failing that, a couple of laps of Church Lane a day will probably also keep you in shape (but most of us would take a hardcore gym session over that any day!)