I've been lucky that I've never been the new kid at school. Actually the thought of going a whole new school gives me shivers considering I struggled with the school I actually attended!
Being a Gym Newbie (I imagine) has the same anxiety and stress as going to a new school. Not knowing where anything is, having new equipment, not knowing how anything works? STRESS UPON STRESS!
My first week into University has started, and yes, I am struggling with learning new faces, timetables, buildings and not to forget the course itself. However, my priority to sort out was to find a new gym. The gym is my escape. I come out feeling so happy, motivated almost proud of myself for hitting PB's and frankly to be in an environment with other likeminded people... it's quite settling. However I only feel this calm and comfortable once I've got used to the surroundings and 'know-how'. This week I have been the new girl at the gym. And it's brought up all those feelings that I felt when I first joined a gym last year. Something that I feel a lot of newbies to the gym feel when they have joined one. It can be really off putting- starting out. I feel that happens a lot with people when they join the gym, the go for a few months but never end up feeling settled or comfortable there so eventually... GIVE UP! Unfortunately, like with anything in life, you have to stick at things for a good chuck of time before you can really tell the difference between 'this isn't for me' or 'I'm starting to find my feet'. Please give it some time.
So I thought I would write a post about how to ease into a gym, and make it so that it can become your place to relax and settle in. Because I know as soon as those feelings of awkwardness, intimidation are out the way, the gym can be the best place.
1. Stick to what you know
This is a hard one if you haven't ever been to a gym before, but guaranteed there will be something you know that you can think, 'yes I know how to use that without looking like an complete idiot'. This could be the treadmill, rowing machine, smith machine, dumbbells, or even just staying in the stretch zone. It really doesn't matter if you have the most impressive gym, with over a hundred different types of machinery and you've picked the basic one. The point is you need to start off on something you are comfortable with, because even that can be a nightmare to sort out! You may feel the urge to try out the biggest and best machine there is but...... HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE HOW TO USE IT?!?!? This is when I can often look extremely silly or injure myself, so please don't!😭 whilst using this machine or equipment that you've chose is your lil safety blanket (for now, no rush to explore everything😌) just have a look around the gym, and see what else it has to offer. I've been that gym goer, like a child in a sweet shop where they want to try everything!!! GO GO GO, you just end up looking silly and frankly, annoying the other users who actually want to use the machine. Patience is key. Build up the confidence first, then the rest will follow.
2. Spying 101
Now I'm not encouraging anyone to be super creepy and stalk someone around the gym, following every move and exercise they do (because I'd recommend help for that, and this blog is certainly not the place😂). Seen a machine you fancy a go on? Haven't got the foggiest of clues how to use it? Wait until someone uses it and watch *intensively* to see how to do it. Remember: do not be obvious in your spying tactics. Also one day someone could be following you, so watch out....👀
3. Think before you go
So, you've been to the new gym a few times now. You've nailed the layout, where the machines are, different sections of the gym and most importantly- finding the loos (because you never want to be the awkward one to ask😅) Now you need to start planning your sessions. There is nothing worse (personally) than going to the gym and having no clue what to do? Fleeting between machine and weight trying to have some inspiration or motivation to find you've wasted your time and done NOTHING! #itsjustnottheone
Don't waste time not being productive, it won't help you in the long run.
Seen a machine in the gym you want to use? Not seen anyone use it? (i.e. No. 2 hasn't worked), Youtube and Instagram is flooding with videos for inspiration or showing you the basics of how to use a machine, in the comfort of you own home it's so much easier to watch and follow then the pressure of watching someone else in a gym and not knowing exactly how to use it. To be honest if you really do struggle to figure out how to use a machine, simply ask (but when you're awkwardly shy, like me, doing it this way just seems the less awkward way to do it right?)
This is either a love or hate thing. But so many people don't appreciate or undervalue the use of a good class. They can be a great way to get into a new style of exercise, learning how to use a piece of equipment or find motivation you didn't know you needed. I found my love of spin through joining a class. It can seem really scary not knowing anyone in the class, but consistency is key. If you keep attending the same classes, people get into a routine themselves so you'll end up meeting the same people.... BINGO! A relatively easy way to meet new friends.
6. That's music to my ears
I've found that I'm most comfortable when I have my massive pair of bright pink headphones on my head, Beyonce blasting down her sick vocals and I'm mouthing the words throughout the whole workout. I feel like this is an obvious tip but also people do forget the power of music can have on our energy levels and it does help with being able to zone out from other people around you in the gym. (It also gives you a great excuse not to talk to people to #antisoicalperks)
7. What's the time Mr Wolf?
Understanding peak times is the bane of my life! Unfortunately it's a trial and error process that must be done to get the best out of your sessions. Even though most gyms can differ slightly in times I have found mostly
6-8am is what I call 'I DO BOTH WORK AND HIT THE GYM' type people, so most of these are are people that are quickly getting in their workout before they leave for work, so will be super quick on every machine, they don't tend to hog much equipment (they mostly age between 30-50+ year olds, and mostly use cardio machines, but then again that's just mostly what I have experienced) I REPEAT DO NOT GO TO THE GYM AT THIS TIME- IF YOU CAN AVOID THIS TIME PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO!!!!!!! you have been warned...🙅
8am-10:30am I feel this is mostly a great time to go if you don't have a job to get to but, like me, likes to do their workout in the morning. It's mostly full of other 'studently' people, or other quite chilled people who I feel are quite friendly. Optimum time to train!💚
10:30am-1pm this can be an in-between time zone, it's a mixture of people coming in from their lunch break/ moms who have dropped their kids off, a couple of students, so again its a lot of people coming in a rush, using a mixture of equipment. However this time can differ from gym to gym so it could be completely different.🙅
1pm-4pm this can be another great time to train, as mostly its a very quiet time zone. It can almost be too much of a quiet time (it depends if you like to have a few people around to chat or not) but on the whole, this is another optimum time💚
4pm-9pm A FREE FOR ALL, this is another super busy time, people have just finished work, students again have finished lectures/lessons. But its absolute mayhem, if you don't mind busy gyms, then completely go for it. It doesn't bother everyone but personally I really struggle to focus when the gym is crazy. All about personal preference.
*this is based on weekdays, weekends differ*
However in my experience SUNDAY MORNING IS DA BEST WORKOUT TIME EVER!!!!!!!!!!!
To the newbies out there or the regular workout guru going to the gym can be a little bit stressful. But anything can become familiar and comfortable with constant repeated exposure. Keep going. Keep pushing yourself out there whether that be using new equipment each session, talking to the instructors or joining a new class. The gym can really be there to de-stress and gives you a chance to work on YOU💖💆 #SELFLOVE
Until next time,
Simply Martha 🌞x