Gyms are daunting. They’re scary places when you’re not sure where to begin. So, you head over to the treadmill, or to the bike; they are easy to use and don’t require much figuring out. And you stay there, glancing over at the weights room, wondering whether you will ever get the courage to enter it.
It’s the typical scenario for the average gym beginner, and for the majority of girls who want to work out, but aren’t sure where to start or how to go about navigating a room filled with testosterone and grunting.
Luckily for you, there are plenty of us who have been there – and remained there for way too long – and are more than happy to give beginners advice to ensure that you don’t make the treadmill mistake. Because, unless you actually like running, it’s really not conducive…
Choose your goal
What is it that you want from the gym? Is it improving your cardiovascular fitness? Is it getting stronger or improving compound lifts? Is it building muscle? Losing weight/fat? Or perhaps it’s training for an event? Choose one, because whichever you decide upon you will be doing something different to reach it. And, although goals overlap, make sure you try and focus on one goal at a time (e.g. the old adage of ‘I want to build muscle and lose fat’ is great, but incredibly tough/near impossible to do both well at once).
Pick your poison
As noted above, your end goal will determine which type of training you undertake. If you want to get strong, then look at a strength programme – include all the lifts you want to get better at, plus accessory work to help you improve further. Losing fat will require a mixture of weight training and cardio – HIIT is great, or any type of circuit. And so on: just make sure what you are putting into your training is allowing you to get enough out to reach your end goal.
Commit to it
It doesn’t have to be five times per week. It doesn’t even have to be three. But the best way to stay motivated is to make something a habit, and something because a habit if you do it continuously over a period of time. Commit to X amount of days per week and write it in your diary, don’t let life and little excuses get in the way or your end goal will creep further and further away from you.
You will never know all there is to know and you can always improve – two important life lessons if you’re serious about health and fitness. Don’t think that there is an ‘end’ to knowledge; the industry evolves all the time and you must move with it. If you are serious about progress, immerse yourself in knowledge and education to get you there. It doesn’t have to be a huge commitment, just click on the article when you see it pop up on Twitter, speak to knowledgeable people, follow the big names in the industry and always, always continue to learn, question and adapt.
Don’t do too much too fast
The one mistake we all make is throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks. It won’t. Make small changes every week and they will ultimately add up to big changes and huge progress further down the line. Don’t do it all and suffer from burnout, and try not to make it complicated. Health and fitness, when it comes down to it, is simple. It is people who make it difficult, and that’s where motivation slows and progress halters and we stop because we think it’s not working.
Remember that it takes time and that there is no ‘end’ to this – you have all the time in the world, but now is the best time to start.