If you’ve read my blog, follow me on social media or know me in person you knew one thing about me: I don’t like exercising. In school, I’d always manage to just pass PE, wouldn’t make an effort at all and didn’t do any sports outside school. Except swimming which I did when I was 6/8 years old a little bit after at 21. Other than that, ZERO.
In September, I started to go for occasional runs but nothing major. But about a month ago I finally took the decision of joining the gym. Something I always said I didn’t like and would never do. Why did I change my mind? I realised I had gained some weight since I wasn’t doing anything at all and just eating non-stop and the fact that I’m going on holiday in 4 and half weeks (YAY!) I’ve always been quite lucky of being able to lose weight a bit easily. I’m the kind of person who loses weight when I’m stressed and if I don’t eat much. Of course, I know that’s not healthy and it’s not the right way to do it.
Anyway, I’m into week 4 of being at the gym and I’m already seeing results! Even though I haven’t been more than 3-4 times a week, I have definitely seen improvements on my body, my approach to it and most importantly, my resistance. And I love it.
However, being new to the gym (I had never been to a “proper” gym before) I didn’t really know what to do and what to expect. If you are like me: new to the gym or thinking about joining and had never been before, here’s what you need to know:
Make sure you have a fitness plan
On my first week, I was going to the gym without a set plan. I kinda just thought you can just go on the machines and do whatever. WRONG. Make sure you have a plan of what you want to do. Set up a day for cardio, a day for legs, a day for arms and abs, and also back. Trust me, it works out much better. If you’re like me and have no clue what to do, Pinterest is quite a good place to find exercises (if you want some ideas, have a look at my Fitness board). Free apps such as Freeletics Gym and Dymatize Transformed by Bodybuilding, are good too, as you can access it from your phone. The Freeletics app gives you a personalised training plan, based on a few questions they ask, though it’s only limited exercises for the free version. Dymatize gives you a 12-week fitness plan which you are able to customise.
I don’t use just one in particular. I tend to do a mix of exercises I found on my Pinterest and both apps.
Make sure you are focused and push yourself.
Trust me, this is probably the most important part. I’ve always been the person who gives up on exercise because “I can’t do this”. I was never strong enough (mentally) to think I was able to things until recently. 3 weeks ago I wasn’t able to do 3 sets of straight leg sit ups. Now I can, and I do it holding a 5kg weight. It all came to me thinking “I CAN DO IT” and pushing myself.
If you don’t think you can motivate yourself, go with a friend and push and challenge each other. It makes it much easier.
Don’t be scared of asking for help.
We’ve all been there. You want to use a machine, you’re not sure how to use it, and you end up looking like a tit. This was me on my first day at the gym. Thankfully, my friends helped me as they knew how to use it, but on two occasions I had people telling me what to do.
If you’re not sure how to use something and you can’t understand the instructions, just ask. There’s nothing worse that doing an exercise wrong: you can injure yourself!
Be prepared to deal with all kinds of people.
If you are anything like me who hasn’t got time for people, you’ll find the gym very entertaining, as you’ll see it all. The bodybuilders, the wannabe bodybuilders, the ones that actually know what they are doing, the ones that really don’t but give it a try (me), the ones that just go to sit on some machine whilst texting and not really doing exercise, and the ones that go to show off.
During my short time at the gym, I’ve seen it all. My advice is, just be patient and ignore them. Most of the time I’m either complaining or laughing at others (I’m horrible, I know).
Most importantly, STRETCH!
One important thing, after your workout, stretch! I see an awful lot of people who go home after their workout without stretching. After an intensive workout, your muscles will become sore, and stretching is a great to help reduce the after-workout soreness, and it will also help you keep the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. But most importantly, it can reduce the risk of injury.
Hope this is useful to anyone thinking about joining the gym. It has now become a part of my life that I love, even though I never thought I would!