Well you’ve been and signed up to the gym. Great!!! Now it’s the time to face the gym for the first time. Nervous, worried or even uber excited. Best thing I can say is be prepared or prepare to fail. My top ten tips to get the most out of every gym session:
Don’t train on an empty stomach
Don’t train on an empty stomach. No, it’s not a good idea unless you’ve read up on fasted cardio or your Personal Trainer has suggested/advised you to do this. Have something even if it’s a banana or protein shake will get you through the session. Especially if you have been at work all day, your energy levels will already be low. Pick up the energy so you can smash the session. Also your pre work out snack needs to be substantial as in complex carbs or protein. Grabbing that bottle of Lucozade or high sugary snack is not a good idea, as this will create instant energy and then you will crash during or right at the end of your training session.
You don’t need to buy expensive, colour coordinated gym kit. Save your money and buy low key, comfortable sport training clothing. I have found places like PRIMARK, have exceptionally affordable shorts, t-shirts, vests, lycra and trainers. As long as it works for you don’t worry about what people think or say. As you progress through your fitness journey you will get free gym kit when you buy supplements, or even your PT might have freebies like t-shirts to say you smashed your goals. The best gym kit is the kit that gives you support in the right places and is comfortable. Trust me if anyone is looking at you in the gym they are jealous, this is because everyone is looking at everyone else. The only person you need to worry about though out your journey is yourself.
Make sure your gym kit is out for the following morning or packed in the car ready to go. My friend has a bag for a week’s worth of clean kit in the boot of his car and a great sealable wet bag to throw his sweaty gym kit in. Then on Sunday he empties the boot, washes everything and sets it up for the new week.
Yes a water bottle, not buying bottled water every time (think of the money you waste and the environment). A reusable multipurpose bottle. Again don’t spend a fortune on water bottles. The best water bottle I own, is a smoothie maker bottle. I make my shake in the morning, wash and rinse it, then fill it with water. What I will say is, your bottle needs measurements on it. As you train you can monitor how much you drink throughout and at the end of the day record the total water you consume. You should be consuming 1 litre of water for every 1000kcl of food you eat and if you train hard you’ll need even more water.
Towels are great not just for wiping the sweat (your fat that is crying) but for wiping down the benches or even to protect your neck etc when doing certain exercises. Towels again don’t need to be expensive. I own a few Pure Gym towels because I find them the right size and they have a nifty zipped pocket to keep my phone and pen in. Again, if you have towel sets at home; it is most likely you have a small A4 sized towel or even a bar towel.
Workout card or Gym routine notebook
I give my clients a folder with a gym card in. This means they track the weights they do and keeps them focused. When I train, I keep a record in my note-book. This means you can reflect on your training and also it stops you playing with your phone an getting distracted. Yes, it’s great having an online app format to your training but you get distracted by messages, emails or even social media. Gym time is focus time.
Gym gloves come in handy if you have a poor grip, your hands aren’t seasoned to using dumbbells and barbells or you have sweaty palms. This again may be a great investment, but I have found that some gloves don’t last and it is another thing to wash and maintain. If you need them, great, but they are not essential.
We’ve all seen the guys using the big chunky branded belts when lifting heavy, the belts with the chains dangling from or even resistant bands. What I will say is if you are advancing with your training a back-support belt may help but ask advice from your personal trainers or the fitness team at the gym first. Most decent gyms have these to borrow and will have resistant bands you can borrow. Or if they don’t grab one of the personal trainers and ask, they most likely will lend you what you want or even if you’ve employed them will use these in your sessions anyway.
An absolute must. This is worth spending a little bit, max of £5.00. Most gyms have these available in the vending machines and will even come with free support to set them up. Just ask a member of the gym team. Most gyms today require you to use your own padlock, if you pay to attend a Health Club, like Bannatynes, they also allow you to borrow padlocks for a small returnable deposit.
It is not essential to have pre-workout. It is a supplement that people seem to be going for to give them that extra boost. I would suggest not having pre-workout if you are new to the gym. A good black coffee or cup of tea is just as good if you are feeling a little tired pre your workout. Once you are progressing and have sussed out your highs and lows when it comes to training then and only then use pre-workout supplements. They contain high caffeine and other stimulants that boost the gym session and make it epic. Always follow the directions on the package, ask your personal trainer for advice and even consult your doctor if you feel any side affects.
Post Work Out
To shake or not to shake, those rumours, that locker room gossip. Well after any work out it is great to have something. Most people tend to go straight home and eat, but I do suggest a post-workout protein shake is a good option. This stops you snacking before you get home and helps you recover. Be careful with vending machines as many of them sell protein with sugar in the recipes. Also, for what you probably spend on vending machines, save your money and buy a bag/tub of protein. Mix your own with water as you leave the gym and enjoy. Just remember to wash the protein shaker as soon as you get home and don’t leave it in the car.
Hope this helps you all to make sure that your first gym session or in fact all of your gym sessions are EPIC!!!. Remember; be prepared or prepare to fail. Catch you soon and get in touch if you have any questions.