January is over and its now the time of year when everyone seems to want to make life changes and embark on a fitness journey. Gyms become crowded, weight loss programmes are advertised everywhere and work out clothes rocket in price. As I am not a newbie anymore at the gym I thought I would put together a few tips for anyone starting out at the gym because it can be very daunting.
(Image from pixabay 2018)
Don’t buy all the gear before you are going regularly.
I know it is tempting to rush out in January and buy all the latest (and usually expensive) gym gear but honestly don’t. You don’t know what you type of exercise you will enjoy more and ultimately what you will feel comfortable wearing. Yes there will be those all decked out in the latest Nike sports wear or most expensive Sweaty Betty Yoga pants (£60 is just too much), but its not what you wear to work out, its what you get from working out. I more often than not will be wearing a pair of Primark yoga style pants, a sports bra and a Disney t shirt. If I could wear Disney ears to the gym… I would. So don’t feel that you have to look the part, you have to be ready to sweat, laugh, sometimes cry or throw up but you want to do all of that whilst feeling comfortable.
Start off slowly.
Trying to start off doing 1 spin class, zumba, pure pump, body attack and a 5 mile run all in the first week is just too much. If you are wanting your new gym routine to be something that you continue with all year (hopefully forever) you need to make sure that the routine works. Is there a type of exercise that you have loved doing in the past? I love to dance so I started Zumba classes, they are a great way to burn calories and let the stresses of the day salsa their way out of the door. I am not the biggest fan of spinning classes (ask Rob… he loves them, I spend the whole time wishing I was at the dentist instead of making my legs move so quickly I think I will start to take off). But I know that they an excellent way to burn calories and justify that krispy kreme. I try to work out 3 times a week, I do 2 classes on a Monday which are Legs, Bums and Tums and Yoga, Wednesdays I take on Body Attack and depending on how I am feeling it will be bootcamp or Zumba on a Thursday.
I’ve seen quite a few people take on 5 classes a week or go to the gym 7 days a week and eventually burn out. Your body will need time to recover and process what you are doing to it, for better results you need to take it at your body’s pace. If that means only going to one class a week and steadily increasing it, your routine will be much easier to stick to and your results will be longer lasting.
Document your changes.
When you start out on your fitness journey it is more than likely that you have an aim that you would like to achieve. When I started this journey back in 2015 it was to lose weight. I luckily did take a couple of photographs of myself to use as my “start” weight, even though that was a good half a stone lighter than my actual start weight. Where I documented my weight in an app, I didn’t take any measurements or write down how much exercise I was doing which now I really regret.
I now try and document all my changes, if it is the little things such as managing to do 4 burpees one week instead of 3. Progress will come in all different ways, you might be able to run a bit further, a bit faster, enjoy it a bit more for example and it is important to document all of these changes. I would say that documenting your activity and progress at the gym might even be more important than what you are getting on the scales each week. There could be many reasons why you would get on a scale and not see the result you were hoping for but if you have documented all of the other positives from your journey it will keep you going in the tough weeks.
Find a buddy.
Going to the gym when you don’t want to is hard. Especially in these winter months when it is often raining, freezing and silent witness is on! If you can find a buddy to come along with you it will be 10 times easier. Caroline started coming to the gym with me, every Monday night we could cry, laugh, sometimes be sick at our spinning class but her work schedule has made it impossible for her to join me now. Rob and I exercise together, we try and do some form of exercise over the weekend and I know that if I text him about how I am really not feeling like going to the gym he will encourage me to put on my trainers and go. This really does make the process easier.
As I mentioned earlier going to the gym can be daunting especially if your end goal is weight loss, looking at the skinnies in their Lycra can be intimidating. Don’t be intimidated; talk to them there is a good chance that they will be exactly the same as you and thankful for a friend to talk to. As there is no one that can attend my gym regularly with me, I have made friends at the gym. I’ve reached out, started conversations and really made friends, its nice to have someone to look at and lean on for that last push through those tough exercises who is also feeling the burn. I look forward my regular classes where we put ourselves through the torture but we do it together.
Don’t even think about comparing. I must admit I am 100% guilty of doing this, when I’m feeling rubbish and waiting for my classes to start I look at everyone around me and start comparing my body to theirs. This is such a bad habit, I have no idea what stage in their journey that they are at, and I should be concentrating more on my journey and loving the body that I am in. You can still love yourself and want to change at the same time. You are doing the best that you can and that is the most important thing. You’ve put your trainers on, made it out the door, made it to the gym, you are doing great already. Please don’t look around and feel inferior to those who might be curvier, skinnier, more muscly, those in the really expensive gym pants or those who have a friend by their side for every class. You are doing just great and you are beautiful. Beauty comes from within, please remember that.
Do you have any gym tips?