Whether you’re making resolutions to lose weight, get fit, or just get out more in 2016, chances are you’ve picked January to do it. Full of enthusiasm and in need of injecting some energy after the festive blow-outs, more people join gyms in the first three weeks of January than any other time of the year.
The cold, dark nights don’t help to boost our motivation, so we decided to consult Personal Trainer and Bikini Fitness competitor, Carly Tierney for her expert tips. A trainer at DW Fitness Clubs , Carly knows that 1 in 4 people are planning to join a gym this month, and that almost half those people (48%) are most nervous about not being as fit as other members! Starting at the gym can be nerve-wracking, especially if they have different types of equipment that you’re not used to, but don’t let this put you off. Here are Carly’s top tips for getting yourself fighting fit in 2016.
Which gym should you join?
When you are looking to join a gym, scoping out where will suit you best is one of the most important things to do, and you shouldn’t base it on price alone.
Does the gym you’re looking at have all the facilities you need? A pool? A squat rack? Make sure you check out the number of classes the gym provides and whether these are included in your membership. Create a list of the things you would prioritise in a gym and go from there. It helps if you have a clear idea of exactly what you want to achieve.
What should you do once you get there?
Before you start lacing up your trainers, Carly says that you should set clear goals and come up with a plan to ensure that you make the most of each session.
“When you step foot in the gym you should always have a plan of what you are going to do. Beginners can fall into the trap of not planning ahead, they wait until they get to the gym and just do whatever they want. This leads to a lack of direction and results will fall short,” she says.
You can’t expect to walk into a gym and have the weight suddenly drop off (though we wish it did!), so it is important to do your research beforehand, and figure out what suits you. As Carly says: “Going to the gym and just doing any old exercise is like walking into Topshop and saying: ‘I’ll take anything, any colour, any size. I don’t care if they fit or suit me. Just give me clothes!”
How do you use the machines?
Along with putting in the legwork beforehand, it is important to have an induction with a gym staff member. You can ask them as many questions as you need, and they will show you how to use the equipment, which is particularly important to ensure your workout doesn’t result in injury.
Recent research by DW showed that 31% of people are worried about using the equipment in the wrong way and looking like a fool. You can prevent this by simply asking for help! Alternatively, you can book a session with a personal trainer, who will show you which machines are best to use for you to reach your goals.
What should you take to the gym?
If you are going to remember only one thing to take with you, it had better be your water bottle! There is likely to be a water fountain in the gym itself, however you’d be wasting time waiting for your turn, and you can grab water on the go to help you stay hydrated.
Carly says: “Water is vital to ensure that you remain hydrated for the duration of your workout, to help with your performance. I add amino x to my water to help fuel my training and to add some flavour to my H20.”
Is weight training all it’s hyped up to be?
The short answer to this is: Yes! The much longer answer is that weight training helps to sculpt your body and build muscle, which in turn burns fat.
A common fear for women starting weight training is that they will “get massive’. However, as Carly says: “If I had a pound for every time I heard this concern I’d be lying in the Maldives sipping on coconut water, not writing this in Barnsley! Weights help to shape your body, increase strength, protect your joints, increase your metabolism, burn fat, increase confidence, decrease anxiety, stress and are fun!
“Cardio is often the ‘go to’ exercise of choice for gym newbies wanting to lose weight. However, cardio can damage your metabolism by burning your muscle as well as fat, leaving you in a worse position than when you started. Limit your cardio and work more effectively, not for longer. How many marathon runners or keen joggers have you seen and thought ‘wow they have an amazing body?’ None? Then why do you think it will work for you?”
So, armed with this great advice from Carly, we should all be ready to tackle that fearful first visit to a gym this year. As soon as we’ve finished those leftover Christmas biscuits…