If it has been a while since you have exercised or you’ve never been a member of a gym before there are a few things you should do to make your new routine easier on your mind and body:
- Have an induction
Tempting as it can be don’t skip this step. An induction usually involves a tour of the gym followed by a consultation with a trainer. During the consultation the trainer is likely to ask you:
- What do you want to achieve by joining the gym?
- What have to tried in the past?
- How much time do you have to work out?
This is all valuable information in finding the right plan and starting your fitness journey. The trainer may also weigh and measure you before discussing possible programmes with you. They do this every day, with lots of people of all shapes and sizes so don’t feel in any way intimidated. This all feeds into the next step. Having the data from this consultation will be invaluable as you get fitter.
2. Make a plan
Work with the trainer in your gym to work out a plan that is right for you. Things to consider are:
Your fitness level: if you are new to exercise avoid the temptation to do too much too soon. It is a common way to burn out. Your trainer will help plan a routine that is right for your level of fitness.
Time: we all have draws on our time in the form of family or work commitments so working out a realistic time table for exercise will really improve your chances of success.
Goals: where do you want to get to? Do you want to be able to comfortably run round after your children or do you have ambitions to run a marathon or complete a triathlon. Training for all three things will be completely different.
Be sure to have a trainer show you how to use each piece of equipment on your plan. Make sure you feel comfortable doing so, if you can’t remember how a machine works, always ask. Using a machine incorrectly can result in injury.
3. Use weight machines
Although it may be tempting to jump straight into free weights, as a beginner stick to the machines. You are less likely to get injured. Make sure you are comfortable with how all the machines work. If you aren’t sure, ask a trainer.
4. Ask questions
Which brings us nicely on to our next point – ask as many questions as you can think of. The basics like opening times, what happens on bank holidays? To more specific ones like, why do you recommend this exercise over another? What kind of stretches should I be doing?
5. Go to classes
Exercise classes are often free when you become a member of a gym. Make sure you avail of these because while there is always an option to stop a plan early, it’s more difficult to duck out of a 30min class. The other benefit is, there is a trainer leading who will be able to help. They may suggest easier versions of some of the exercises and will show you the correct way to place your body to avoid injury. Finally, exercising with others is fun!
6. Remember hygiene
As a newbie to the gym, it’s important to remember everyone uses the same facilities and equipment so hygiene is really important:
- Bring a towel with you to wipe down machines when you are finished
- Use hand sanitiser regularly
- Wear flip flops in the showers
- Follow any other hygiene rules specific to your gym
7. Get a gym buddy
Niall Walsh, manager of Club Vitae Leisure Club at Clayton Hotel Sligo says, “Having a great gym buddy can make all the difference, not only to how enjoyable your workout time is, but also how effective it is too. A fitness buddy is someone who will be there for you in the gym and proactively add to your workout – someone reliable and committed, ideally with similar goals, and someone who will help motivate you to reach those goals”
8. Don’t forget your diet
Although exercise can help you lose weight or build muscle quicker, it needs to be coupled with a healthy diet for ultimate success. Eating less sugar, fats and processed food and more vegetables, fruit, lean meat and pulses will ensure your body has the energy it needs to work out.