I just joined a gym—now what?
So you have mustered up the nerve and signed up for a gym membership. This is an exciting point in your endeavour, but with that may also comes some confusion and anxiety. “Okay, well now what?” “What do I focus on?” “What equipment do I use?” are all common and completely normal questions, and we can combat this.
I am about to lay out some of my general tips to help guide you through the next steps after purchasing your membership.
1. Get a coach/personal trainer
Being a Personal Trainer myself, I am biased, but signing up for a few sessions with a trainer or coach will significantly help offset any anxiety or confusion with exercise. This is also an opportunity to ask questions, go through proper form and get an idea of how an exercise should “feel”.
2. Focus on the big blocks
There is a lot to absorb when it comes to getting started in the gym/working out. I recommend focusing on the biggest 3 factors to get you going.
Exercise form comes first. It’s important to ensure that you are using the equipment safely, moving in the best way for your body and using the targeted muscles. Also, using proper form is incredibly important for injury prevention.
It’s normal to maybe want to go a little “easy” on the first 1-2 workouts. I often ease new clients in to see how they manage during and recover after the workout. You might feel great during, but it can be quite demotivating not being able to move your arms or walk properly for 2-4 days after. That said, you do want to be challenged in the workout. Choose a weight where you can execute every rep with perfect form, but having the last 2-3 reps of the set a struggle. If it isn’t a struggle, go heavier. If you cannot complete all reps, go lighter.
Lastly—progressive overload. Progressive overload is a gradual increase in stress on the body during exercise. Building on the last point, eventually what was once challenging will no longer be. The body adapts—becomes stronger. Because of this you want to ensure you’re increasing the weights to ensure that the last few reps are still a challenge.
3. Get a plan and/or partner
Signing up with a trainer is a great strategy to increase your accountability and have a plan created for you. Also joining a friend or asking them to come along with you, is a great way to increase some external accountability and comfort with support/familiarity.
One of the biggest hindrances to people not reaching their goals is lack of consistency. We want quick results, but we need to remember that this takes time. I have laid out the process of “body change” here.
Every workout you complete is moving you one step closer to your goals, and at times the wait can be frustrating, but hey,– Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day and either will be your body goals.