The gym can be a daunting place; especially for beginners. Not knowing how to use the machines, being self-conscious about your strength/fitness and the changing rooms are all possible factors in making us want to steer well clear of the gym. But being healthy is important so it’s time to suck it up and just take the plunge; below are my tips to help your time at the gym be as embarrassment free, and as beneficial, as possible.
Leave Your Pride Outside:
There is no room for pride in the gym because it will only end in tears (probably your tears). So often you’ll see people in the gym lifting weights with completely the wrong technique (which can cause real damage) because it’s way too heavy for them, but they do it to try and impress their friend or people that they think are looking at them. If you can only lift a certain weight don’t try and exceed it; no one is going to care if your weight is a lot lighter than theirs. You’ll see much better results if you are using the right weight and the right technique.
If you do get embarrassed or self-conscious then a good way to really shut everyone out and go into your own world is to put your iPod on and turn it right up. The music will also help you get pumped up which isn’t a bad thing when exercising.
If you plan on becoming a regular at your gym then this is even more crucial, because you’ll start to recognise other people and vice versa; so if you’re known for bad reasons it isn’t good. For starters you have to wipe down the machines after you have used them; you wouldn’t want to sit in someone else’s sweat so why should they have to sit in yours?
Secondly, you should try to keep the noises and grunts to a minimum. I know that sometimes they will escape and that they are often unavoidable due to the effort you are putting in. But no one wants to share the gym with someone who sounds like a hippo in labour!
Watch and Learn:
A key thing to do in the gym is to be try and watch the people who have the fitness or muscles that you want and watch what they do. I’m not suggesting you follow them round with a notepad, but take in what you see like what exercises they do and in what order. This is an especially good way to see how to use equipment that you haven’t yet figured out (although every gym I’ve been to does have instructions on how to use machines actually stuck on it).
If you’re not learning much from watching them then you can just ask them a question or too. The worst they can do is say tell you to go away but more often than not they will be happy to help. You never know you could end up with your very own free personal trainer/training partner, which is not something to say no too.
So there we have it my tips on how to survive, and get the most out of, the whole gym experience!
Josh Hansen writes for XXPress PCR a UK based biotechnology company specialising in pioneering the PCR method of DNA testing.