3 September 2014

So you want to join a gym?

Exercise has always been a huge part of my lifestyle, all through school i was a member of various different sporting clubs as well as going at least two nights a week to gymnastics and trampolining. However, when i got to high school and started my GCSE's all of this stopped and i found myself only doing the compulsory exercise in our PE lessons, not exactly ideal but its what happened. Ive now been out of school for a year and other than Horse Riding (yes, it is a sport) i haven't been doing anything at all. I don't know if you'll agree with me but i always feel better after doing a bit of exercise, so i decided to join a gym. Ive only been going for about a month now but i feel like its already become a part of my daily routine and these are my tips for you if you think you want to join a gym.

Look Around: I can't stress enough how important it is to shop around and look for the gym thats going to suit you and your needs. I went to about 5 different gyms before i settled with the one I'm at now, all ranging from bodybuilder gyms to fitness fanatics. All i wanted was somewhere i could go and do a bit of exercise without feeling judged or out of place and i definitely wouldn't have felt like that anywhere else. You've also got to figure out what it is you want to do there, do you just want to use the machines? If so then a smaller gym may be a suitable for you, but if you want the full works with the swimming pool and exercise classes then looking at a chain of gyms may be the best option! Go and have a look around each of the gyms and don't feel pressured into signing up with any of them. If you're not 100% with the gym then you're not likely to want to go there.

Choose The Right Contract: You've all heard the stories of people who get into 12 or even 24 month contracts and only end up going to the gym once, don't be one of those people. Gyms tend to offer a range of contracts to suit individuals and their needs, for instance, i had the choice between a Teen contract, Student contract and an Off Peak contract. In the end i decided to go with the teen contract as it offered the best hours for me to go to the gym and the only downside was that i couldn't use the sun beds.. considering i dont use them anyway thats not really an issue for me! You've firstly got to figure out when it is you want to go, will it be before/after work? Or would you go down around lunchtime? These things factor in whether it will be best for you to get a peak/off peak contract. Also, a lot of gyms if you talk to them are more than happy to offer you a 6 month contract instead of 12, or even 24; this should be one of the things you ask them when you go have a look around, as if you're deciding between two gyms, i would definitely go with the one that fifers you the shorter contract just in case you really do hate it!

Attire: If you feel the part, you'll be less self conscious. Shoes are the most important thing when it comes to the gym. If you dont have the right support for your feet then it can cause so many problems  and it would've just been better to buy the correct shoes in the first place. But that doesn't mean you have to spend hundreds of pounds on a pair of trainers! A lightweight pair of trainers that feel comfortable and dont rub your feet are essential and they don't have to cost the earth; pick a pair of trainers that you like the look of and feel comfortable even if they dont have the latest brand name on. A shoe is a shoe, yes some are made better than others but as long as you find it comfortable the £30 shoe will be just as good as the £80 shoe that has the brand name. The rest of the gym attire is really up to you. A sports bra is a good idea but not essential, as is the rest of your clothing. (Your choice i mean, clothes definitely are essential.) As long as you're happy with what you're wearing then who is anybody else to tell you otherwise?

Have Fun: You may be there to lose weight, tone your body or just burn off that extra bit of fat leftover from Christmas.. but at the end of the day if you don't enjoy it you won't be motivated to do it again. I go with a friend so when one of use wants to go and the other doesn't we get dragged along and generally feel better at the end for going. Also we may have different fitness level but seeing who can do the most sets, or run for the longest or even do the racing game on the rowing machine is a brilliant way to push yourself and have fun at the same time! Go with a friend, join some classes, listen to music, watch some tv; as long as you're enjoying it thats all that matters! 

Anyway, i hope these tips have helped you in some way and given you some things to think about. Joining the gym is one of the better decisions I've made and I'm so glad I've done so! 

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