Having been in the fitness industry for almost a decade, it is safe to say I have learnt a fair bit along the way. Some good, some bad… But there are a few things I wish I had known before I first stepped foot in the gym, certain aspects that play a vital part to either supporting, or in the same instance hindering your progress. So here are my 5 top tips for being a newbie in the gym.
Have a plan!
So you’ve conquered the hardest decision to get into the gym, now you find yourself walking around aimlessly, staring at the mass array of equipment trying to figure out which way up you should sit never mind which muscle it works. It is so important, especially when first starting out to have a clear structure for your training regime from day one. This will not only prevent you from walking around aimlessly looking for inspiration, but it will ensure that you are using your time efficiently, as we all know time is of the essence. There are so many online platforms to get workouts and ideas there really is no excuse to be unprepared!
Weights are not your enemy!
The days where the gym is segregated into the ‘mens/ladies only sections’ are long gone. As females we should always be made to feel welcome in any gym, this should also be the case for the weights sections and not be made to feel pigeon holed into thinking we should only do cardio! There are SO many reasons in which we should weight train, it comes with so many benefits of which we should reap the rewards. Not only will it give long term health benefits, it will increase muscle mass and assist you with that ‘toned look’. I agree it can be a daunting and intimidating place to begin with but stick with it and it will get easier and a little more comfortable each time.
Supplements are not ESSENTIAL
Controversial to what you might see on social media or the net, supplements are not the be all and end all of weight training. A supplement does just that – to ‘supplement’ a certain nutrient that you are struggling to get from food alone. This might be protein, carbohydrates or in the case of pre-workout, energy. I have tried and tested a whole spectrum of supplements in the past from fat burners to pre-workout and creatine to whey protein. The only supplement I found had any real benefit was a good quality whey protein, as I can sometimes struggle to reach my daily protein intake from food (meat) alone. Plus, it can get rather boring eating meat all day long and there are some pretty lush protein flavours out there, but ultimately supplements do not determine progress within your fitness goals. You can get epic results without them, so don’t be persuaded by advertisements and concentrate on the fundamentals to begin with.
Listen to your body and do what works best for you
There are so many contradicting views when it comes to health and fitness, it can be a minefield and especially when you are just starting out. By all means try out as much as you can, learn different techniques, training styles and plans, this way you will find out what suits you and what you like to do. It is so important to enjoy your training to keep motivated and longevity, if something isn’t working, you’re not seeing changes or you have simply sopped enjoying it, it is likely time to switch things up!
You are you and that is your power!
My biggest and most important tip is that you are you, so comparing yourself to anybody else is completely irrelevant. All of our abilities and bodies are different, so comparing yourself (a beginner in the gym) to a top athlete you’ve seen on Instagram that trains three hours per day is not going to do a lot for your own self-esteem and neither will it motivate you – not for very long anyway! Use them as motivation for sure, but don’t compare. Set your own little goals and challenges in the gym and make a note to try and beat your numbers each time. By doing this you will only be comparing yourself to your previous session that YOU did and when the numbers/weight starts to go up, or the number on the scale reduces, or you do that workout quicker than last time, that is when you know you are making progress.
NOW LET’S GET IT! – Phoebe Little