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So you want to start going to the gym?
It might be to lose a couple of pounds or to add some muscle to your physique or just to generally get fitter. Whatever the reason, here are a couple of useful tips to help you get started.
People don't generally cope well with large changes, after all humans are creatures of habit. This is the general cause of most people going to the gym for a month and then fizzling out. Don't feel pressured by people who hit the gym 5-6 times a week, they've been doing it for a while. If you are just starting I'd suggest only going for one to two gym sessions a week and maybe add something outside the gym like a run or cycle on another day. This way you'll get used to it and after a couple months you can start building up the numbers.
Things in motion stay in motion, so it's better to build up gradually than to keep stopping and starting. Even if you are only going a couple of times a week, that's still better than not going at all. Then as experience and comfort builds you can work on adding more sessions to your week. Plus you still want to have some time to chill out and relax, don't feel ashamed of not being in the gym every day!
Make a plan!
I have split this into 2 separate parts. The first is:
I think it helps massively to have a goal in mind, especially if you're just starting out. The goal doesn't have to be a huge thing, it could just be something small like lose a little weight. Setting yourself a goal gives you a target to keep your eye on. I find this helps with massively with motivation and keeps people in the gym. Plus the feeling of reaching a personal goal is amazing!!
The second part is:
A gym plan, also known as a program, is a little layout of what each session is going to include. It adds structure to each session and helps you keep track of your progress towards your goal. If you're new to a gym a simple program would work really well. For example: 15 minutes of cardio followed by 4-5 weight exercises working on the main muscles and finished off with some stretching.
There are plenty of books and online information that you can use to create your own program. However if you're not sure that you'll do a good job then an online personal trainer could make one tailored for your goal usually at a relatively affordable price. Just make sure they are qualified and know what they are talking about.
This final tip doesn't really have anything to do with the gym, but it will help you massively with your fitness, goals and general well being. Now I'm not saying go crazy and chuck all your biscuits and other sugar related items out your house. As with exercise, just start small. It can be something very minor like use semi-skimmed rather than full fat milk or having a dark chocolate treat instead of a milk chocolate one. The little things you can change can chip away at your total calorie intake for the day. After all losing weight is just maths, calories consumed minus calories used equals weight lost.
Plus eating a more balanced diet can improve health drastically. For example making sure you eat 5 different coloured fruit and vegetables a day ensures a healthy amount of vitamins are consumed, this can help ensure a working immune system and other bodily functions. Also eating the correct amount of protein ensures muscle growth. An easy thing to reference would be the healthy eating guidelines that can be found online.
I hope these few tips I have learned from personal training can help you with getting started at a gym and adding fitness into your lifestyle.
Josh Herbert, Personal trainer at www.joshpt.co.uk