An Absolute Beginners Guide to the Gym

Shock, horror, I’ve signed up for the gym. It’s been a slow(ish) process but I’m confident enough to present to you my Absolute Beginners Guide to the Gym. Enjoy!

It will shock no one to hear that I am not athletically gifted. As a shy asthmatic I was always destined for bottom set PE and had no hope of making any teams so the gym has never been that attractive a prospect.

Being a responsible adult (HAH), I recently decided to start exercising. I did something I never thought I would. Yep, I joined my local PureGym. It was a slow process but here’s my Absolute Beginners Guide to the Gym.

Go at Your Own Pace

On my first visit, I got about as far as hanging about in town for a bit before panicking and ending up at the pub. On my second visit I did a mile on the cross trainer before panicking and having to leave. On my third visit I did a mile on the cross trainer then got myself onto some weight machines.

Absolute gym-heads will probably read that and wince. You have to push yourselfNo pain no gainIf you can’t feel it it’s not doing anything. And, to that, I say ‘fuck off’. I’m at a point now where I actively enjoy going! I took baby steps to make myself comfortable with the situation and get to a point of confidence. There’s no point making the experience uncomfortable as you’ll never want to go, so give yourself the best chance you can by being gentle!

Work Out What You Want

This is no revolutionary secret. If you have an idea of what you’re working towards you’re more likely to achieve it. I’m a visual person so the light bulb moment came for me when I looked in the mirror and pictured where I could be with a little work. I avoid the scales as I know that finding out my weight will just put me off, but, if you work better on numbers, you should take measurements and work towards targeted goals.

Find a Buddy

Since we all work in different ways, we need a gym buddy to compliment our style. There’s no point gymming it with someone who has a tough love approach when you respond best to encouragement. When I’ve tried working out with people who take a “you’re shit but you can get better” attitude I’ve lost interest but my current gym buddy has more of a “well done – I’m impressed” vibe.

Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be responding best to. Some of us deserve a little positive reinforcement and, if it gets you exercising, how can it be bad?

Work Out Your Groove

Exercise is a pretty diverse spectrum and you should choose the form that’s right for you. Cardio is a safe bet for improving general fitness but free weights are a requirement for gun sculpting. Weights are essential for anyone wanting a Kim K booty but you do also need them for toning and general weight loss.

I want to avoid big muscles so go to yoga to strength and lengthen them alongside plenty of fat burning cardio and gentle weight usage. We all have different ideas of the perfect body so, if you’re not wanting to get hench then stand your ground against die-hard weight fans. Either ask staff for advice on which areas to target or turn to the internet for inspiration.

Take this beginners guide to the gym for what it is; a beginners impression of something that is damn intimidating. I’m no expert in exercise, but I have overcome my gym-phobia so I must be doing something right!

Image: Linda Xu via Unsplash