sSome things in life—swimming, public speaking, taking a cooler off the wall—are intimidating the first time you do it, but they’re so basic to a better quality of life, they’re worth the effort. And so it is with the gym: Although those early shaking reps are easier for some people than others, everyone is a beginner at some point.
Here, then, is your seven-step plan for overcoming gym bullies—from crossing the threshold for the first time to becoming a regular.
1 Register somewhere convenient for you
One of the most common tips for the gym is that no one cares what you do – but while that’s true in many places, not all gyms are created equal. “The first time I went to the gym in my twenties, men would routinely beat me, watch me, and generally make me feel uncomfortable,” says author Emily Lavinia.
“I started going to classes that were mainly attended by women and that was a much happier and more comfortable place for me. Now, I love the gym I go to because everyone ignores each other and is completely focused on their own training. It’s also clean, the music is cool, and the staff is very attentive.” .
Try to get a training session at the gym you’re considering signing up for — ideally, during the times you’re most likely to attend. What seems like a quiet 11am environment can quickly turn into a noisy pit when the after-work crowd shows up.
2 build a gym habit
It may take a while to get into the gym groove – One of the most famous studies He notes that it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a habit, with 66 days as the (very approximate) average. In the early days, then, every time you show up is a win, even if all you do is walk through the doors, do a few stretches, take a shower, and leave.
If you enjoy group activities, enrolling in regular classes can help. “For me, group classes made the gym less intimidating because everyone was there for an activity,” says Emma Nugent, who works in public relations. “When I go into class knowing I will see some of the same faces, who are now some of my very loyal friends, it gives you a social side that you look forward to as opposed to what you fear.”
This is also a good time to set up your routine so you’re not scrambling to get your lifting shoes at 6 a.m. “If you want to go first thing in the morning, go to bed in your gym kit,” suggests graphic designer Luana Thomas. “This way, you just have to get up and go.”
3 Get Comfortable With The Movements (And The Machines)
“I was clueless about most of the equipment in the gym when I first went,” says Thomas. “I remember feeling this awful feeling of not knowing how to operate the machines, and feeling so embarrassed to ask. Luckily, the guy who did the gym circuit lessons went out of his way to bring me equipment like a rowing machine, barbells, sandbags, and battle ropes — so he slowly introduced me to the set. of equipment and language.”
This is the time to start fine tuning your form – pick a handful of moves and take some time to learn the do’s and don’ts. “When I started out, I dedicated a few hours a week to just expanding my knowledge outside of the gym,” says Ravi Davda, now a personal trainer. “I take the time to read blogs and follow fitness pros on YouTube — there is so much great information online.”
If all you learn to start with is Basics of squatting, kettlebell swing and rowing machine deadliftIt is enough to make you more confident in yourself.
4 Learn the basics of sets, reps, and rest
One of the most important things to learn is how to structure your exercise according to your goals: even a simple movement like squatting can produce radically different effects on your body depending on the weight you use, how often and how much you lift. You rest between going.
The simplified version is that fewer than five repetitions per set build strength, more than 12 build endurance, and anything in between works best for “hypertrophy” (building muscle). The number of sets to do is the most controversial – for muscle, there’s a general consensus that 10 to 20 per body part, per week is ideal, but for strength, less is often more.
Finally, how strict you go with your rests really depends on your goal—if you’re aiming for fat loss, it’s a good idea to keep your rest periods under 60 seconds, but if you want pure strength, the goal is to fully recover between sets. Even if it takes five minutes.
5 Consider the coach
“I’m probably biased on this, but if you can get a personal trainer,” says Davda. “It’s a lot less scary when you’re walking around with someone who knows what they’re doing.”
The qualifications required for personal trainers in the UK only cover the absolute basics of exercise, so professional training professionals can vary widely in their knowledge, experience and ability to deliver results for you. Your best bet is to ask them if they’ve worked with people like you before, and what their results have been.
It is also preferable to find someone who is able to explain the hows and whys of their routines – in true teaching man fishing style, your ultimate goal should be the ability to put together a successful session yourself.
6 Plan to advance
Once you’re familiar with the poses and know the basics of the moves, you can start striving for actual, measurable improvement – that’s where the fun really begins. When you start going to the gym, almost anything you do will make you fitter, stronger, or faster, because you haven’t done anything up until that point.
When you’re able to add a little plate to the bar or chop a second off your 2K row time every time you practice, that’s called linear progression, and it’s one of the most fun times of training – so try to enjoy it. However, at some point, your body will pass the point where you can expect to make gains in each session – and that’s where you’ll need to plan for progression by joining a reputable program.
for pure power, Jim Windler 5/3/1 He has a proven track record. For the heart, couch to 5 kilos and British rowing Some great options. When the numbers go up or down, you’ll find it much easier to block out the little voice telling you you’re doing it wrong.
7 Find a training style that you like
Still not feeling the love of the gym? Remember, exercise is just like movies, books, or music: If you’re not interested in the same things as everyone else, there are dozens of different options to try. “My advice is to try different classes and see what you like,” says Thomas. “I still try a lot of different things, although my regulars are HIIT, box fit, yoga and circuits.”
And remember, even if you have specific goals with training, there are still plenty of options. Did yoga stop him? Gymnastics and animal flow have similar benefits in building mobility. Don’t like a strict squat? You may find the technical challenge of lifting Olympic-style weights more quickly. Even if your goal is to get lean, anything from kettlebell-only exercises to CrossFit can help—so if one exercise just isn’t to your taste, try something else.
Experiment enough, and you’ll eventually be able to show up at a crowded gym, grab one weight plate, and get a solid workout. good luck!