The gym – a place that can strike fear in your heart. And rightly so, the gym can be a scary place. While everyone else seems to know exactly what they’re doing and look great doing it, you’re mustering the strength to step on the treadmill.
But, believe it or not, they were once like you. There’s a first time for everything and that girl smashing the deadlifts in the corner had to start somewhere, too. If you’ve just joined a gym or have resolved to actually make that membership worthwhile this year, here’s a few tips on how to survive the gym.
As Jeremy Irons once sang, “Be prepaaaared!” Get yourself some workout gear and invest in a good pair of trainers – your feet will thank you later. Don’t feel like you have to spend over the odds, though. TK Maxx and Sports Direct are two of my favourite places to go for affordable gym gear. Grab a refillable water bottle while you’re at it and please, bring a towel. Don’t be that guy who leaves sweaty skids on the machines.
You’re tired. You’re not feeling great. You’re nursing that sore toe. Stop talking yourself out of going to the gym and just go! The hardest part of the gym is convincing yourself to go – once you’re there, it’s like clockwork. And trust me, you will feel great afterwards! All that stuff about releasing endorphins when you exercise isn’t just a ploy, I swear.
Focus on yourself
It’s so easy to be intimidated by those around you at the gym. As hard as it may be, just ignore them. You’ll soon realise that most people are doing exactly the same as you. The gym is all about self-improvement, so focus on yourself! Pay no mind to the show-offs, either. They have nothing better to do with their time.
That doesn’t mean you can’t watch others if you’re not quite sure how to use a machine. Just don’t attempt the same weight as the Hulk who used it before you. Of course, you can always ask the staff for some pointers, but not a lot of people feel comfortable asking for help at the gym. No one will care if you do, by the way; it’s better than hurting yourself.
The gym has so many negative connotations – it’s hard work, it’s painful, it turns you into a sweaty mess… Take all that resentment and turn it into something good. If you’re sweating buckets, you’re doing the right thing. If your muscles hurt, you know it’s working. If you’ve had a bad day, try going for a workout instead of tucking into some chocolate.
Listen to your body
While it’s often encouraged to push yourself to the limit at the gym, please listen to your body. It’ll tell you when it’s had enough. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself and set your regime back. Give yourself some time off and if you’re having a hard time at the gym one day, respect your body. Take it easy and smash it next time.
Nobody likes a bragger, but there’s nothing wrong with being proud of your achievements. Even stepping foot in the gym is more than most people manage, so gold star to you. Keep track of your progress and don’t be ashamed to share your success. Just try and keep the gym selfies to a minimum…