Is it time for you to get up and go to the gym? There are a host of reasons we choose to put ourselves through a fitness regime. The new year is a good time to start, as it’s not uncommon to put on a few pounds in the winter. But whatever your reason for wanting to get fit, we are here to help you make the right decisions. Before we start, if you suffer from any health conditions, it is best to check with your doctor before beginning any fitness programme.
What to look for when joining a gym
Choosing the gym that is best suited to your needs is paramount. Try to find one that caters to all levels as even though you are a beginner today, you will soon progress and become an intermediate and more.
You will want a trainer that is knowledgeable while being supportive of your needs. Don’t forget about the personality of your trainer, as it is a lot harder to trust and listen to someone you do not like.
too much. So try to find one with a personality that fits with your needs that will be able to get the best from you.
Check the gym equipment before signing up. Make sure it is all up to date and has a high level of cleanliness. The equipment will be different depending on the type of gym you seek. It may focus on resistance training, cardio training, or even dance and yoga classes. You may even find a gym that offers a mix of all the above.
FOCUS ON DIET AND NUTRITION
Now that you have decided it is time to get in shape, it is time to focus on one of the most crucial parts of your daily life moving forward. Diet and nutrition are necessary for overall success and are often the difference between modest and fantastic results. Learn about the different macronutrients you will need in your diets, such as carbs, proteins, and even fats. Learning the importance of hydration is also important, because dehydration is, surprisingly, never far away. Knowing how much h20 the body needs is required if you want to your full potential.
OUTFIT YOURSELF APPROPRIATELY – CORRECT FOOTWEAR, ETC
Depending on the workout type you have chosen, you will need to dress accordingly. It may seem obvious and, but please try not to overlook the importance of the correct type of footwear, etc. Your feet may require a higher level of support compared to the person standing next to you, so try to buy the footwear that best suits the shape of your feet.
You will need tops and bottoms that are breathable, a stock and gym bag for your toiletries, snacks, and even more importantly, your water. After you have all your workout gear sorted, it is onwards and upwards and time to get into that positive frame of mind, which will help you stick to your fitness goals.
The fitness regime you choose should fit your goals
We all have different goals in life, and it is no different when we go to the gym. The fitness regime you choose should fit with what your desired goals are. Your goal may be to improve your looks, raise your sports performance, increase your levels of endurance, or to improve your overall health. There are many different categories to choose from, with each offering a different path to fitness. The most popular workouts today are aimed at losing weight as the population, as a whole, is becoming unhealthy due to the abundance of junk food. Either way, choosing the correct category for your needs is the best starting point to get you on the road to the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Find yourself a modest and stable plan
We are all susceptible to the power of advertisements. Companies spend bag loads of money to convince us their products are the best and can do wonders. Try not to get caught up in the latest fad or those too good to be true products that are pushed our way daily on social media. Find yourself a modest and stable plan that makes you feel good, and then stick with it. In the beginning, a programme, set for a set duration, a 12-week plan, for example, will jumpstart your training and help you to see results quicker than what you may see if setting out a routine by yourself.
Either way, stay true to your plan once chosen and be realistic about your progress. The most common reason people give up on their training is over expectation. If you expect too much too soon, it will not be long before you lose your motivation and give up.
The secret is never to lose sight of your goals and be patient while waiting to see the fruits of your labour.
Day to day life and how your workout plan will benefit it
Before coming up with your workout plan, think about your day to day life and how the plan will benefit it. If your day job requires you to sit at the computer all day, then your workouts will compensate for the lack of activity throughout the day. And if you have a more physical job that requires lots of energy, the exercise you do will help you to keep up with the strenuous demands, especially as you grow older.
The great thing about a successful exercise regime is that you can sit down and spend a few hours in front of the television without feeling guilty.
Here are a few small tips that will help you resist the typical excuses we all use sometimes:
- If you feel too tired after work, schedule a workout in the morning or during your lunch break.
- If you feel like your day is too busy, find a slot in your diary/planner and pencil in an hour as if it was an important meeting that you cannot miss.
- If your body is feeling a little sore after a hard day’s work, you can still workout. Just focus on the parts of the body that are not sore and tired.
STICK TO A FITNESS PLAN? Increase the likelihood of seeing it through.
The hardest part of any fitness regime is sticking with it. There are some things you can do that increase the likelihood of seeing it through.
TELL FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Friends and family will support you when you need it, so share your fitness goals with them, and you’ll have their support from the get-go.
TAKE A PIC. Often, a look in the mirror is the kick up the bum we need to get healthier. Take an unflattering picture of yourself and display it in plain sight. This will remind you of your goals and help push you further along in your journey.
Stock up your cupboards with healthy alternatives
Don’t make things more difficult for yourself. If there are a lot of unhealthy foods tucked away in your fridge and cupboards, it heightens the possibility of slipping off the rails. Stock up your cupboards with healthy alternatives and remove the temptation.
Limit the chances of you avoiding a session
Develop a mindset where there are no excuses allowed and figure out a system where your workout clothes are always close bye. A little stash of clothes in the office or boot of the car is a good way to keep exercise on the mind and limit the chances of you avoiding a session.
MUSIC – Mix things up a little and try music styles and genres
Music will be your best friend from now on, so don’t forget to create playlists that get you energised and motivated. Mix things up a little and try music styles and genres you are not accustomed to. You never know, you might find that a bit of rave music gets you going easier than Beethoven does.
Create that momentum that carries you along the next time.
Start slowly at the beginning of your plan but always try to push a little bit further. Getting into shape is easier when you create momentum and push yourself a bit harder, and going the extra distance, can really pay off and create that momentum that carries you along the next time.
Making friends at the gym is fantastic for lots of reasons
Making friends at the gym is fantastic for lots of reasons, but the main benefit is that they will push you on as you will do with them and as they will expect to see you in class, you less likely to let them don and not turn up.
keep track of your progress on a weekly basis
Monitoring your progress is great for keeping you motivated (when there are results) You will want to keep track of your progress on a weekly basis and record things such as weight loss and gain.
A set of scales will help you keep track and there are three different types to choose from. A balance scale is an upright kind with adjustable weights that you often see at the doctors and at the gym.
Balance scales are accurate but can be a little expensive in comparison to a set of digital scales.
Digital scales are the most common kind of scales as they are less expensive and easily moved. Some digital scales even run on solar power but most are battery operated. If you do decide to go with a set of digital scales, remember to keep a tab on the batteries because they can provide less accurate readings if they’re low in power.
MEASURE YOUR BODY FAT
There are devices on the market that helps us to measure body fat which can be an indicator of our overall health. There is still more research to be made into how body fat readings actually relate to your overall health. But either way, it does no harm to keep track of it.
BODY FAT SCALES
You can buy reasonably accurate body fat scales for your home. These scales send a small electrical current through the body and timing it to gauge your mass water and fat, . This is called bioelectrical impedance, BIA.
As you can imagine, drinking a litre of water just before jumping on for reading will give a totally different result when compared to not having a drink, hours beforehand. It is said that drinking lots of water can change readings by 10 percent, so keep this in mind if you are thinking of purchasing a BIA device.
HANDHELD BIA DEVICES
Handheld BIA devices are common in gyms but suffer the same reliability issues, as body fat scales and are often not cheap to purchase
BMI can be measured with calipers and is often referred to as the pinch test. These measure skin thickness at certain parts of your body then the numbers are formulated to estimate your body fat percentage. This is based on your age and gender and although the least technologically advanced is seen as a fairly accurate way of measuring BMI.
Not the most common method of measuring your body fat but hydrostatic weighing is the most accurate. It certainly is not for everyone as it requires to sit on a stool underwater and expel as much air as you can while it weighs you. There are new machines that can do this without the need of being submerged underwater, which some gyms may offer.
TAPE THE PROGRESS YOU MAKE
Don’t just weigh yourself. The best way to keep track and see where you are shaping up is by taking measurements all over your body. You will be able to see if you have lost or gained an inch around your waist for example. It is not uncommon for weight to stay the same but don’t let this put you off as it is not always an indication of your overall progress. You may be gaining muscle at the same time as losing weight, so using a tape to track your measurements will provide a better overall picture and allow you to calculate your hip to waist ratio. Don’t forget to note these measurements down and update them on a weekly basis for future reference.
TAKE AND DISPLAY SOME SELFIES
Fitness programmes don’t provide overnight results and this may lead you to think there has been no change in your body after a while. Taking a few pictures every so often will let you see the difference in your body and posture and is a great way to keep track of your progress. Let your figure show you how far you have come and how far you feel you need to go.
Display the pictures you have taken somewhere you can’t avoid seeing them and every few weeks, add a couple more, as this will give you a visual snapshot of the changes that are happening to your body, which you won’t see daily. Not only will this give you pride, but it will also keep you fired up and motivated.
FIND THE RIGHT GYM THAT IS FIT FOR YOU
The value a good gym with a good trainer provides can not be underestimated. Home gyms have their place and are chosen by many as their means of getting fit. But a good gym, health club, or dance class with customised workouts will help you achieve better results, although getting acquainted with the gym equipment which is available at your local gym can help you build your own home gym, as you will learn what equipment you prefer to use.
Before purchasing a gym membership, you should consider a few things and create a list of the features and must-haves you want the gym to provide.
Your goals will determine which gym is best for you as some will be more focused on cardio machines while others will be more for the weightlifter etc. Dance classes are great for getting in shape while having a good time, as is yoga. So take some time to make sure the gym you’re thinking about provides the necessary environment and equipment for you to succeed and be happy.
One of the best ways to find a good gym or class is to check out the reviews that have been left online. Feedback is everything and it will help you to get a clearer picture of the gym, class, and trainer. Technology today means most good gyms will provide an app for you to link to a community and get information such as gym hours and schedules, etc.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DEALS
A quick google search can also help you find special offers and introductory offers which will save you a few quid, so keep your eyes open.
The Best Location For You
Hopefully, you live in an area where there are many good gyms available. One great piece of advice would be never to gain a gym membership to a gym that is highly inconvenient to get to. Preferably, your gym will be relatively close to your home ar work and make it easy for you to get an hour’s workout done on the side. If the gym is within walking or cycling distance, even better as you can squeeze in a bit more cardio on the way, while also saving fuel money.
MAKE SURE THE GYM IS CLEAN
Most, if not all gyms will maintain a high standard of cleanliness and hygiene but if you see the locker room or shower areas are not too clean, it may be best to choose a different gym.
FIND THE VIBE THAT FITS
We all have our preferences and so do many gym owners. Some gyms may play music too loud for your liking or even too low so don’t be afraid to shop about until the gym that feels right comes along. A friendly and supportive community that makes you feel comfortable will be there in one of the gyms you are considering signing up to, and if after a couple of weeks you’re not feeling the vibe, try out another gym, class, or fitness trainer.
What to ask before joining a gym?
Ok, you might think you’re ready to go out and sign up, but have you asked all the right questions yet? You may want to have a look at the following list of questions before making up your mind and signing on the dotted line.
Does the gym you’re interested in, offer out of hour discount memberships should you decide to visit during off-peak hours?
What is the standard of the gym equipment and more importantly, how old is it? A good gym will maintain high-level workout machines which will be updated as time goes on. Who wants to be running on an ancient treadmill that is wobbling all over the place?
Are you expected to use the equipment without being given any instructions and do you need to pay to be shown how to use them?
Any gym that maintains high standards will always have a member of staff available that is qualified to deal with medical emergencies. So, always ask if the staff are certified.
What else does the locker room area provide? Often you will have extra options such as hair dryers, shampoo, body wash, and wifi.
Do members get a discount on massage therapy? (if it’s available)
It seems like every time we purchase something, there are hidden fees somewhere. I’m not saying this is representative of the gyms I visit but it’s never wrong to ask if all the gyms services are included with the membership fees, or are there extra charges mixed in?
Are there any cancelation fees and what are the requirements should you decide to cancel?
LEARN THE LANGUAGE
The fitness world has what it seems is its very own language. You may find yourself feeling a little confused if you haven’t done your homework on what words mean what. But don’t worry, here are most of the terms you need to speak like a seasoned pro.
REP = Repetitions: The number of times you complete a single exercise in a row.
1RM (ONE-REP MAXIMUM: The most amount of weight you can lift in a single rep.
SET: Doing a group of repetitions without stopping.
SUPERSET: A combination of exercises done back to back with little to no rest
FAILURE: Reaching failure is when you can not do one more rep.
SPOT: This is when someone assists another with their exercise. When you see two people at a weight bench, one will be spotting for the other.
RESISTANCE TRAINING: Exercise that uses resistance, such as weights, machines, resistance bands, and medicine balls, etc.
SELECTORIZED MACHINES AKA universal machines. Machines where the amount of poundage that can be selected by inserting a pin into the weight stack.
FREE WEIGHTS: This is a typical reference to dumbells, barbells, etc.
EZ CURL BAR: Curved weight bar that is used for bicep curls.
COLLAR: The collar is the attachment that secures the plate weights to the curl bar or barbell.
NEGATIVES: Means the muscle lengthens during exercise, also called an eccentric contraction.
CIRCUIT. A circuit consists of many different exercises performed back to back with little to no rest in between.
PYRAMIDING: Doing sets, either upward or downward in weight. An example would be 4 sets by 12-10-8-6 or 6-8-10-12 kg
INTERVALS: Low intensity, followed by a high-intensity training period.
HIIT is short for (HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING) which is an interval strategy that consists of short periods of intense exercise with less-intense recovery periods. Is also known as Tabata training.
RECOVERY: The amount of time taken during exercises. Short recovery is best for fat burn, while long recovery is best for bulking.
DOMS: (DELAYED-ONSET MUSCLE SORENESS) That feeling you get a day or two after doing a workout.
MAXIMUM HEART RATE: You calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. This is your training zone and it is in this zone where you can achieve the best results while working out.
TARGET HEART RATE: 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate.