We’re bringing you some super easy gym tips and tricks to follow that even beginners can use.
In the coming months, lots of us will be on the ‘health wagon’ trying to shift the gloom of the winter blues. For many, whether or not you went to the gym prior to holiday indulgences, it can feel slightly daunting walking back into this fitness hub. Fear not!
This list of gym dos and don’ts will ensure you ease into a healthy, active routine. Furthermore, following this advice means you’ll manage this without overworking yourself. You’ll also be far less likely to put yourself off with a first experience which doesn’t go to plan!
COMMON GYM FAILS
Most good gyms will offer an induction when you sign up. However for beginners, this induction may not give you all the gym tips you need for a very first encounter with the equipment.
For those lucky enough to have a supportive fitness friend, this might not be a big issue. It makes it much easier to commit to a new fitness routine.
For everyone else, fear of the unknown could be the death of your desire to get fit and healthy. It’s quite understandable; inexperience can be daunting! For example, using equipment incorrectly could lead to humiliation or even injury. This brings us to our first “don’t”…
DON’T: USE MACHINES YOU’RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH (WITHOUT SUPERVISION)
The growing popularity of the fitness world means experts are creating more and more equipment. That means most gyms have a big range of machinery, far more than the traditional treadmill, cross-trainer or rowing machine.
You might be eager to get a set of killer abs, and gravitate towards the abdominal bench. But first you need to think, “do I actually know how to use it?” Do you know how your body should be positioned, what muscles you’re targeting by using this machine and what type of exercises you can do? If not, it might be time to re-evaluate.
That’s not to say you can never use unfamiliar machines. However it’s definitely advisable to seek an instructor first, as many gyms have staff available to help.
If you’re a complete beginner and you’re unsure whether your gym offers free instruction, you can always research some tips before your visit. More on this later in the list!
DO: USE MACHINES WHICH MATCH YOUR FITNESS GOALS
Regardless of your experience with a machine, there’s little point using, for example, an abdominal bench if your main target is shoulder muscle. Of course, it’s great to incorporate a variety of equipment for an all-round fitness routine. However you should initially prioritise using machines which match up with your fitness goals.
For gym and fitness beginners it’s important to discuss your goals with an expert and listen to any tips they can offer. Of course, one option is to hire a personal trainer. First, however, you might want to seek help from fitness enthusiasts who don’t expect big payments. Above all, make sure you follow advice which comes with genuine, unbiased recommendations.
DO: ATTEND FITNESS CLASSES
Fitness classes are great for familiarising yourself with the various types of gym equipment. Not only this, but they’re also perfect for socialising with peers or an instructor. As well as all the benefits of social sports, a friendly class allows you to expand your knowledge of fitness, pushing yourself if you require extra support.
Many gyms offer trial periods before you commit to buying a membership. Depending on the length of this trial, take the opportunity to go to as many classes as possible. If you’re new to the gym, you might like the idea of “hot yoga”. Alternatively, circuit training could be more up your street… Explore your options!
Remember: Don’t forget to take your water bottle along to every class. It might sound obvious, but there’s bound to be one thing you forget to pack when going to the gym. In some cases, you may think “yoga won’t be too intense,” “you won’t need it,”. However, this attitude is a big no-no; you’ll want it for preventing aches and pains.
DON’T: OVERWORK YOURSELF TOO SOON
When we suggest trialling as many of the classes at your gym as possible, we’re don’t mean you should completely fill your timetable. Take it with a pinch of salt and ask yourself whether your energy levels make it possible to fit each class in.
Good to Know: The gym should be fun, not a chore. Don’t stress yourself with trying every class, just try an amount which works for you.
Depending on the intensity of the classes, you may manage as many as one class every other day. In the first week, aim to get a grip on what to expect for each class, without overloading yourself. Of course, every trial period varies in length; it’s important that you attend classes that you feel most interested in, first.
Listen to your body and if you need to, reduce the number of classes you’re doing. You should also remember to give yourself the day off if you’re feeling particularly tired and sore. Otherwise, you could end up tiring your body out mentally as well as physically. That’s when you can lose the urge to keep going – particularly if you’re not a fan of the classes you’re trying.
Tip: If your trial period is limited to a few days, ask the people on reception for more tips on beginners’ gym classes. Can you speak to the instructors or other people who go to the classes? Ask about. Does it match up to the description?
DO: EXERCISE RESEARCH
Going back to the abdominal bench: though it’s usually used to perform sit-ups (training your middle muscles), you can also use it to train various other muscle groups too. However, it’s best to avoid this until you’ve had expert advice or training on how to make the most of the machine.
That said, once you’re clued up with on the machine do’s and don’ts, you can then start experimenting with exercises alongside other experienced gym-goers.
YouTube is a great source for seeing exactly how you should be using each piece of equipment. Below you can see an example of how a video can give tips to develop gym beginners into fitness aficionados.
Don’t have the time or data to watch whole videos? Here’s a great guide where you can view the names and images of different gym machines. Both are great ways to up your knowledge so that you’re equipped to use the gym.
Tip: Not looking to use an ab bench? There’s plenty of tips out there on YouTube, fitness blogs and even at your local gym to help beginners make the most of each piece of equipment. As the heading states, research suitable exercises, then hit the gym to put your knowledge into practice.
DON’T: SKIP WEIGHT TRAINING
So many fitness newbies insist on avoiding weight training at all costs since they “don’t want to bulk up”. This could well be one of the biggest fitness myths out there! Weight training isn’t and shouldn’t be limited to those who want to gain muscle.
You must not underestimate its benefits…
It can help to tone your body (preserving a healthy shape rather than making vast changes).
You can increase your muscle strength (helping to protect your joints).
Increase your metabolism (burning fat quicker and more easily).
You can increase your confidence, (through witnessing improvements in your own capabilities).
It also helps to decrease your anxiety and stress (as most exercise does).
We’ve previously mentioned researching and learning about the right gym equipment to match your fitness goals. However, you can’t track your progress (or even see where you’re going wrong) if you’re not recording your steps in a plan. This goes for both fitness and nutrition.
We know that fitness and nutrition go hand-in-hand. Therefore alongside your research into the exercises you should be doing to develop killer abs, build shoulder muscle, or strengthen your heart, you should also research into the types of food to give yourself sufficient nutrition for the change in activity levels. To help you along the way, our friends at Sunshine Gym have a great Food Drink & Exercise Guide drawn together from research into medical recommendations.
You may also want to research into any specific food tips for gym beginners looking to “bulk up”, “slim down” or “tone up”.
Tip: Each body is different so, depending on your budget, you may consider seeking advice from a PT or nutritionist. The aims is to create a balanced, rounded plan which assists your fitness goals whilst ensuring you eat foods that actually work for your body and mentality.
Remember: Fad diets are everywhere, and some of them can be harmful. Therefore it’s important to check with your doctor or GP before making significant changes to your diet.
DON’T: GIVE UP!
If you don’t feel successful straight away, do not be defeated. You have your whole life in which you can train, work hard and start seeing results!
The sheer frustration of a lack in progress is best let out on a punching bag or by lifting working towards and achieving a new personal best, however small. Both of these could be the push you need to reach the next level. Before you know it, you’ll have achieved a fantastic fitness goal – even if it’s not the one you initially set out to achieve. Remember, it just takes time.
If you feel on the verge of quitting, speak to someone to see if they have any further gym tips for beginners. You might even find the perfect ‘workout buddy‘. Above all, you must look within and try to inspire your own motivation without comparing yourself to others.
BONUS GYM TIPS FOR BEGINNERS: DO I NEED A PERSONAL TRAINER?
There’s no real answer as everyone has a slightly different body, different fitness goals and different expectations.
Listen to your body.
Are you really working that hard? Has it been over a month? Have you tried switching up your routine yourself?
You’d be surprised how successful small changes can be at creating the perfect fitness. You just need to persist until you find the healthiest, safest, most beneficial combination.
SUMMARY OF GYM TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Now you’re familiar with some of the most important gym do’s and don’ts, you’re equipped to hit the gym. Remember to take your time, don’t push yourself too hard and don’t get hung up on your goals to the point getting fit becomes a chore.