Whether you’re trying to build muscle, lose weight or just improve your fitness ahead of the Holiday season, going to the gym can feel incredibly intimidating for some. Gyms are often filled with people who seem to know exactly what they’re doing, but that shouldn’t put you off signing up and giving it a go. We think that everyone should feel confident when working out, but it can take a bit of getting used to. As a result, here is some advice to get you started.
Start with your outfit
We don’t believe in the idea that you need to wear a stylish outfit to go to the gym. If you’re comfortable in your baggy old t-shirt and stretchy shorts then that’s absolutely what you should wear. But if you truly take pleasure in wearing an expensive sportswear branded outfit, then you should do that too! Most important is to go for what you feel the most comfortable in. One thing is for sure though, functional clothing is important when it comes to exercise. Make sure you get properly measured for a good quality pair of trainers, and if you’re training for a race then definitely see a running specialist. For any cardio activities, you should invest in a high impact sports bra for support.
Make a playlist
Having some upbeat music blasting in your ears is a great way to distract and motivate yourself at the same time. Search for gym playlists on Spotify or create one based on your own personal taste. Don’t stick to the stereotypical dance music if thats not your bag, add in some 90s classics, old hip hop tunes, heavy rock and maybe even some country tunes if that’s what gets you excited! A good pair of headphones will make the experience much more enjoyable too.
Go during off-peak hours
This can be easier said than done, but if you’re just starting to get a feel for the gym then we highly recommend going when the place is a little bit quieter than usual. That might mean nipping out on your lunch break or giving up a lie in on a Sunday morning, but having more space and freedom to try out machines without a queue forming behind you will allow you to relax. Do this a few times you’ll be able to return during rush hour with the confidence you need to get your workout done without too much fuss.
Ask a friend to show you the ropes
If you’re terrified to walk into the gym alone (we know how that feels) ask a friend to come along with you. Most gyms offer free passes for newcomers so ask your sporty mate to come along and make a training plan for you. Having someone to have a laugh with whilst you figure out how everything works will help to ease you into an otherwise stressful experience. You may even be able to persuade them to change gyms and become your new workout buddy!
Set personal goals
One of the hardest parts about working out in public is being surrounded by people who appear to be fitter or more physically able than you. The trick here is to tune all of that out and instead focus on beating your own personal best and reaching your own goals. You don’t necessarily need a trainer to help you reach those goals either. The best way to progress is to keep track of everything you do at the gym and aim to improve on those achievements week by week. For example, if you managed to do 3 sets of squats last week, aim to do one more set next time. If you’re short on time try adding hand weights instead – anything that makes it a little harder than it was previously. You could also time your workout and aim to beat that time next week, then use the last few minutes to do sprints or press ups. Whatever you can do keep yourself motivated on an individual level will give you the confidence you’ve always wanted.