The first step into the Gym is very definitely the hardest you will ever take. Overcome that first hurdle, and it is downhill all the way to your health and fitness goals! I remember when I made that step into a public gym, feeling ridiculously nervous and constantly feeling like people were staring at me for being a ‘newbie’. Of course these feelings were completely irrational (as I was not in bad shape having played sport and been involved in fitness for most of my life), but they were there nonetheless…
I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that the place I feared most would become the place I spend 90% of my life at present!
If, like I was all that time ago, you are just starting out in the gym, then take note of these 5 things that I now wish I had known at the beginning of my journey…
#1 – It is OK to Ask Questions & Accept Help
As with anything, starting out fresh in a new environment brings with it a large element of the unknown. For someone who was accustomed to cardiovascular/agility/aerobic training methods for my whole life, starting out in the weights room felt a bit like a Vegan in a butcher’s: I didn’t have a bloody clue!
Being the lost little lamb that I was, I sparked up a conversation with a friendly-looking bloke a similar age to me who looked like he knew the ropes. He showed me some basic exercises to work the main muscle groups, how to do them safely, and how to progress them once I had mastered each movement.
It takes metaphorical nuts to approach someone in this environment, but I promise you won’t regret it; asking for help, whether it’d be from one of the PTs at your own gym, or anyone who looks like they know what they’re doing, is by no means something to be embarassed about!
#2 – Shredded Dudes Are Surprisingly Helpful!
You may think the dude on the Leg Press in the corner looking like he’s about to burst a blood vessel wants to murder you, but he will probably be more than willing to give a newbie a hand with their form!
Although this guy might seem unapproachable, from my experience theses are the people who will be the most likely to give you a helping hand with your own training. These guys eat, live and breathe training.
Like a Michelin Star Chef talking food, these guys and gals will take every and any opportunity to talk about their passion, so try not to be put off by a macho exterior: you could be missing a trick!
#3 – No-One Cares
This one’s a biggie..
The biggest fear I experienced when I walked through the gym doors all those years ago was judgement by others, whether it’d be how I dressed, what I was doing, and how well I was doing it. Walking around any part of the gym felt like thousands of eyes boring into the back of my head, watching and analysing my every move.
FACT: NO ONE CARES!!!
When it boils down to it, everyone goes to the gym for the same underlying reason: self-improvement. This may be in the form of losing weight, developing a killer physique, or training for a marathon; either way, know that the person on the bench next to you has the same base of motivation as you and will almost definitely respect you for being at the gym.
Furthermore, each person is usually too preoccupied with their own workout to give a sh*t about what t-shirt you’re wearing, or whether you are using lighter weights on the bar.
It takes a while to click, but once you realise that no one gives what weights you are lifting or what speed you’re running at, you will be able to kill it with your technique and ramp your training to the next level!
#5 – Planning Maketh Progress
With magazines like Men’s Health doing the rounds, many people have a tendency to change their workout routine every week according to the latest trend/what Mr I-Wear-Way-Too-Tight-Stringer-Vests says on his youtube channel.
Unfortunately, this sort of approach is destined to fail….sorry folks!
Have a plan and stick to the same core routine for at least 6-8 weeks in order to see tangible benefits in your training. If you really want to add spice and variety, have a bank of 5-15 minute Finishers that you can change week-by-week so as to maximise enjoyment.
Just don’t become a programme hopper; once I actually stuck to a set programme, however basic it was, I started to get results so much quicker than beforehand.
The Final Word
Getting in the Gym is a great way to improve your physical and mental health, but the new environment brings with it a whole range of new things to consider to help you on the road to long term adherence.
Use these 5 tips to help you get the most out of your training, and smash down the barriers preventing you from making progress whether you are a seasoned gym-goer or a complete newbie.