Many people rock up at the gym and do one of two things:
Do the same machines and length of cardio as they always do
Wing it, wasting time and not really feeling challenged
After about 2 weeks of this, they start noticing some changes – maybe not in weight but in how clothes are fitting. At about the 3-4 week mark, they get bored, motivation wears off and they begin to skip days.
I speak from experience here. This has happened to me many times. And at first, I blamed the gym, but I do actually love the gym as my main workout place.
First things first, Consider if the gym is the place for you. You’ve given it a good crack now. Are there other gyms, yoga or dance studios, bootcamps, cycling or running groups that you’d like to try?
Now some of you may be locked into a contract or have paid out the full year, so let’s make the gym work for you.
Studies show that lifting weights is really beneficial for many reasons, such as bone health, muscle density, metabolism etc. especially if we’re trying to lose weight or as we get older. I can say from experience that it has definitely made me feel stronger, more confident, and given me better shape and tone than cardio could have, alone. I also enjoy it a lot more than cardio. There’s always something new to try, whether it’s the type of resistance, weight used, number of reps, number of sets, amount of rest.
If you’re very new at this or want to learn how to use the machines or different weights, it would be worth doing a session with a personal trainer. This will help you feel more confident in the weights room and minimise the risk of injury. They can also come up with a workout plan for you.
If you’re very nervous or intimidated, you are not alone! It takes everyone a little while to feel at home in the weights room, especially for us girls. Try going at a quiet time, like during the day or very late at night to start. Ask your gym manager when it’s quietest. Otherwise, “act confident and no one will question you” or “fake it til you make it”. Or use another room, if there’s one available.
Designing your Workout
Consider these questions:
What kind of workouts do you like to do?
If you’re not sure, have a look at YouTube, watch IG stories of fitness people, Snapchat etc. for ideas. Try Buff Bunny on Youtube as a good start.
What areas do you want to work on?
I recommend doing a bit of everything, you don’t want to go crazy on abs and forget about back because a) you can’t spot reduce fat and b) you may cause imbalances and that brings pain and tension.
How many days a week do you want to go gymming?
Remember you can take your cardio outside and do hikes, bike rides, play with the kids, team sport etc.
How much time do you have to spend there?
When can you fit it into your schedule? The thing about habit-creation is to make it work for you and your life.
Things to note:
Please incorporate at least one rest day a week.
There’s no need to workout for two hours a day.
Take care of yourself outside of the gym i.e. getting enough sleep, nutrients, water, massage/hot baths etc.
Write down the days of the week, what you want to target on each day (this is called a workout split). You can google ways to do this if you like.
My current split: legs twice a week (one quad focused, one glute and hammy focused), back and biceps, chest, triceps and shoulders together. And cardio 3 times a week. I do a short yoga session on one of my rest days (called active rest day). And let myself completely off the hook for the other rest day.
Google exercises for that particular body part and make up a plan for yourself.
This method is great if your gym doesn’t have everything you need to complete someone else’s plan. Or if you have physical limitations.
If this all seems a bit much, you can easily find beginners workout plans online for free. Try Pinterest or just google it. Or if you want to pay, Bodybuilding.com has a huge library of plans as well. They used to be free and I am LIVID that they aren’t anymore.
I know, it’s all very new and exciting and overwhelming, contact me if you need help. I am not a personal trainer but I can help you get clear, motivated and focused. And I have done this for a long time now, so I know we can get you on the right track.