After leaving my personal training session today, it occurred to me that a lot of people don’t really know what to do once they’re in a gym. They sign up, they’re motivated, and then they figure out how to use the treadmill. And that’s it.
So how do you maximise what the gym has to offer, and make it worth the cost of a membership?
1. Use your freebie
Most gyms have a free personal training session available. Take it. If they don’t, check out the personal training deals. It’s worth every penny.
2. Use the weights
This applies to both sexes, but it’s mostly women who only ever use weights in pump class. It’s ok to be a little fearful of the burly men leaning against machines and grunting like nobody’s business. It’s not ok to let that fear prevent you from weight training.
Here’s one great guide to lifting weights for women (why I like this site? It has a prominent menu button that says ‘F*ck Calories‘).
3. Push. Push hard.
Not necessarily the whole time, but at least once or twice during your workout, you should feel like it’s unbearable – whether that be on the treadmill, a weight that you feel you can’t lift again, or unbearably uncomfortable squats.
That feeling that you can’t continue is what’s making you stronger, fitter, and faster.
Astrid wrote a guest post here awhile ago, and she raised an excellent point about not simply turning up, doing an easy session and patting yourself on the back.
4. Structure is key
You can’t work unless you know what to do. You can’t make a smoked salmon creme brulee with pea and ham bruschetta and a gatorade jus without a recipe.
So how can you work out and just expect that results will happen by magic?
Here a personal trainer can really help, but the internet always has some clues, as do gym junkie friends. Have an idea of what you want to achieve, and make sure you have a program to follow.
For example, I have an intervals program that I use on interval days, and a strength program that targets my glutes, hips and core (such as 3 sets of 15 reps with a dumbell, or 3 sets of 30 squats).
Find a structure that:
1. Suits your level of fitness,
2. Is designed to help you meet your goals, and
3. Will challenge you.
If you can find that balance, you’re on the right track.
5. Ask questions
The gym managers and trainers are usually really social people, and they want to help you! Whatever you’re wondering about or doing, they’ve seen worse. Promise!
Those resources, having people around who know what they’re doing, are all part of the package. Get your money’s worth and get results.
If you don’t know, ask.
Can I throw in a 6th?
Think about what you eat. Whether you want to lose weight, perform better, build muscle, or just tone up, finding the right diet is essential.
There you have it – make the gym work for you. Don’t be afraid of the staff or equipment, and don’t let yourself avoid a bit of hard work!
Here are more workout tips and tricks to get you started.