If you’d have said this time last year that I’d get into the gym, going five or more days a week I would have laughed in your face. I am a sloth lady at heart and thought I would always detest moving my limbs unless it meant making my way to the kitchen to eat or to the nearest bar for a gin.
Last October though something changed. I set foot in a gym for the first time in my life and found I actually quite enjoyed myself. Intimidated by the whole experience however.
It’s hard not to be at least a little bit discouraged the first time you walk into a new gym. Brightly lit workout rooms with their rows of machinery and sculpted men and women who’d not look out of place in a museum of modern art. It’d be normal to think that everyone in the gym was born knowing what they were doing. You’re the only one in the world not blessed with this gift but fret not.
I’ve put together the following handy guide which will hopefully help that gym lover buried deep inside of you come out to play.
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Do some research
Before getting yourself off the comfy sofa and marching yourself to the nearest gym, do some research into workout establishments near you. The first thing to take into consideration is, of course, price.
You don’t want to go for a couple of months and then realise your gym membership is practically bankrupting you – this will likely encourage you to throw in the towel as well as force you to eat own-brand beans every day.
You also want to take into account the facilities; if you’re set on a gym with a pool, ensure that it does actually have one before signing up for anything. Shop around too. You may be able to find an offer to join without paying a sign-up fee.
Remember, you can always ask for a tour of a gym before joining to make sure you dig the vibe of the place. A gym with a good environment will definitely keep you coming back for more.
Enlist some friends
Whilst going to the gym alone can be enjoyable once you’re into the swing of things, having gym buddies to go with initially will encourage you to keep going, even if you’re tired or do not feel like it.
There is no better motivation than guilt.
When the group of friends you signed up with are all going to work up a sweat and you’re the only one who isn’t, it can really fuel that guilt deep down. It’s also great fun learning what each piece of machinery does together as you can laugh as one member of the group gets on something wrong or breaks it (totally not speaking from personal experience here…).
Not only are friends good at guilt tripping you into visiting the gym, group workouts can really push you to your limits.
And, quite simply, you’ll feel far less self-conscious having a group of friends there – all being clueless together and all learning the ropes together. Standing in the gym for the first time by yourself can be incredibly daunting. You become conscious that everyone’s watching you (although I can assure you they’re not) and having a group of friends can almost act like a security blanket.
Create an Instagram
This might not be something of interest to everyone but something that has kept me personally going to the gym is my Instagram, @fitness_in_hd (shameless plug).
I’ve been posting a picture of myself or my food pretty much every day to keep track of my progress. I don’t particularly want to stop or let down my avid followers, which means I am going to the gym at least five days a week. It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable and document your progress. Everyone on Instagram, friends and strangers, are amazingly friendly and will keep you motivated, particularly on your bad days.
Starting up a fitness Instagram, even if it’s just for yourself to keep track of your progress, is a great idea and will keep you motivated to reach your fitness goals.
Find your favourites
Everyone has a favourite workout; I personally love doing my ab routine, squat routine and any form of cardio, but everyone has their poison.
This is very much a trial and error. Try out any new routines you find and see what works for you. Instagram is a fantastic place to find some great workout ideas and YouTube too!
It’s important to remember you can’t just do your favourites every time. I hate doing arms but I don’t want noodle-arms whilst the rest of my body gets toned. I’m thereby forced to do them much to my displeasure.
Purchase some wireless headphones, put on your favourite jams and just get yourself through the routines you like the least and you’ll be just fine.
Get a good schedule
Not everyone has the time to go to the gym every day so it’s important to find a schedule that works for you. I go to the gym straight after work or around lunchtime on the weekends but some people, like my colleague Sam, prefer to go at 6am in the morning.
If you can only get yourself to the gym once or twice a week then that’s absolutely fine; any workout is better than no workout!
Honestly at the end of the day, if I can fall in love with working out, literally anyone can!