As any exercise enthusiast will tell you, January is the worst month for going to the gym. It’s absolutely rammed full – with queues for machinery just adding to the misery.
It’s full of people who are aiming for the “new year, new you” phase, and finally looking to get into shape.
If you fall into said category, this guide is for you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting a gym routine, and you will reap so many rewards if you stick at it. However, in order to do so, you really need to avoid some of the common pitfalls that plague so many new members.
Through the course of this guide we’ll mull over some of these mistakes, and help build you build a “new you” the right way.
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Stay away from the modern toys
Nowadays, gyms are full of modern toys. For the established gym enthusiast, this isn’t a problem. They can resist when necessary, and turn to them on the few occasions its required.
For the newbie, this seems hard to achieve though. They will be desperate to try the shiny new machines, and opt for these over free weights and established exercises that are guaranteed to help them get in shape provided they persist.
When we talk about this new equipment, we’re referring to the likes of TRX belts and other “modern” stuff. Sure, there’s a place for these, and they can work well in some workouts. For the new person going to the gym though, there are far more powerful tools at your disposal which can really supercharge your progress.
The likes of squats and deadlifts are tried and tested – so make sure you turn to them. The fancy equipment and exercises meanwhile, is designed for those established pros who need to tap into new stimulus in a bid to enhance their performance. When you get to said stage, then is the time to turn to them. For now, stick to the classic movements – they will serve you well.
Your phone is your worst enemy
In the age of the smartphone, you might not believe us. But please, leave your phone away from the gym floor – as it’s not doing you any favorites whatsoever.
In short, it’s an out-and-out distraction. Receive a text message from your significant other? You need to respond. See the latest breaking news story on the sports app? You need to check it. Such distractions aren’t going to do you any favors and will stop your focus. Let’s not forget that it’s not just you who suffers here, but everybody waiting for that piece of equipment you’re hogging due to phone-abuse.
At the same time, the gym isn’t a place for chatting. If you’re on the phone and exercising, we can bet that you really aren’t getting the most out of your session.
Arriving as a group isn’t cool
Every so often you will see groups of guys hitting the gym, cycling through the loud jokes between sets and generally making the gym aware of their presence. This presence is by no means positive though; people aren’t looking at them for their amazing ability to bench press huge numbers, it’s for all the wrong reasons.
Sure, the gym can be a social environment, but there are limits. Big groups just don’t work, and you’ll also find that there are individuals in said group who are happy to dish out plenty of advice, despite their poor shape. In short, it’s just not giving you any benefits whatsoever.
Going with a buddy is fine – studies have shown that this can actually help. Anything more than this is overkill though, and will hinder your progress.
Start your new year resolution with good form
If going to the gym is your new year’s resolution, at least make sure that you are implementing good form. It’s all-too common to see guys hitting the gym for the first time and just trying to cram as much weight on as possible.
The result of this is form which is absolutely terrible; you’ll be rocking, swinging and doing everything with the weights which makes you something of a laughing stock. Also, let’s not forget that this isn’t going to make you stronger – it’s just going to enhance the chances of picking up an injury.
Instead, opt for lower weights, but learn the form. Watch videos, talk to the right people, and just make it your goal to learn the correct way to do the exercises – rather than be the clown with the big weights.
What is your goal?
Finally, let’s talk about one of the big problems that plague everyone at the gym – but it’s going to affect newbies even more and really impact their motivation levels.
So many people just rock up to the gym without really knowing what they want to do. What are your goals? Do you want to lose weight? Build muscle? Let’s get these goals down to a tee before we go any further.
If you don’t do the above, you will cycle through exercises without really knowing where you are going. How will you know if it’s been a good session? What will you think after a month of going to the gym?
To tackle all of this, it’s time to come up with a plan. Some of you might turn to a personal trainer, but if you do opt for this approach at least do some research and find a good one. During new year, there are far too many amateurs doing the rounds which aren’t going to help in the slightest.
Or, do-it-yourself. Just because you have little past experience in the gym, doesn’t mean to say that you can’t devise a plan of action. There’s now so much material on the internet, that it’s almost inexcusable not to go alone. Or, just talk to friends – but let’s reiterate that these friends need to be in-the-know, not just guys who think they know what they are talking about.