If you're just starting out at the gym, it's easy to fall into bad habits. To help you out, we've created this handy guide to help you achieve all of your fitness goals for the coming year.
Keep yourself motivated
For many beginners, the most difficult part of the workout is actually motivating themselves to go to the gym in the first place. It's easy to fall into the habit of making excuses to put off going to the gym; so make sure you've got something to help keep your fitness goals in sight such as an ideal weight or being able to bench a certain amount.
Take time to reflect
It's all too easy to get wrapped up in your fitness routine and not take the time to appreciate the work you've done. Reflection can be a powerful tool at building up motivation and a desire to achieve your goals. Looking in the mirror is an excellent way of gauging your progress and gems like seeing the first signs of a six-pack will do wonders for your focus.
“Make sure to set goals for both the short and long term. Always reward yourself once you've achieved them.” Chris, Personal Trainer, London
Take a break
Many beginners at the gym often fall into one of the worst possible workout habits; over training. If you're just starting out, try and keep your training to 3 or 4 times a week at a maximum. Working out stimulates muscle growth but you also need to give ample time for your muscles to repair themselves and grow.
You are what you eat
Diet is vital and depending on what you're hoping to achieve with your workout, you may need to make several adjustments. If you're planning on using weights to boost your strength, then eating plenty of quality protein is a must. Many veteran gym-goers recommend plenty of natural and healthy foods such as wholemeal bread, chicken, fish and eggs.
“Try to avoid eating straight before bed, eat little and often spacing meals and snacks out throughout the day.” Jamie, Personal Trainer, London
Always be consistent
Consistency is a vital habit if you want to encourage a successful workout routine and is one of the main reasons why many drop out early on. Being consistent with your gym visits is pivotal to your workout routine, so it's important to make your gym trips a habit as soon as possible.
Keep it fresh, keep it fun
After the initial January push, it's easy to let your gym routine lapse. There are many ways you can keep your fitness fun inside and outside the gym. For instance, you might want to sign up for a charity fun run or join a sporting league. Always be sure to check if your gym is offering any new activities.
Make it harder
When starting to seriously work out, many beginners will use the exact same exercises time and time again in their sessions. The downside to this is that; over time your body will adapt and the exercise won't provide enough challenge to your muscles and you won't see any results. If you want to achieve your goals, then you need to progress your workouts a little at a time.
“When a weight starts to feel too easy change the exercise to impact another part of the muscle area or gradually increase the weight and increase the difficulty. “ Jamie, Personal Trainer, London
Take a class
Many gyms now offer a range of different classes as part of their facilities. Spin classes, Yoga and Pilates are all increasingly popular activities that instill discipline and help to develop physical fitness. Attending a class also has the benefit of making you part of a wider fitness community that can support and motivate you when you're feeling drained. This is a chance to meet people in exactly the same position as you who share similar fitness aspirations. You can use websites like www.gymsinlondon.com to help you locate your nearest gym, studio or class.
Get more info
The best way to stick to your fitness goals this year is to arm yourself with the right information so that you can exercise safely and efficiently. Remember there are highly trained professionals out there who can advise you on your workout regime, so you don’t do yourself any damage. Having the right information can help you avoid repetitive aches, strains or even serious damage which can come from exercising incorrectly.
Start a diary
Many gym-goers find that keeping a diary helps them to maintain focus and stick to their fitness routine. A diary lets you look back on previous weeks and can help you see where your habits may need adjusting. If weight loss is your goal then it's important to note when and what you eat, how and where you eat it, and also how you felt whilst eating. American celebrities such as former model Tyra Banks and country singer Carrie Underwood swear by their food diaries and attribute them to their recent weight loss.
If you're serious about achieving your fitness goals then these tips should help you out along the way. If you start a fitness regime, it's vital that you follow it through by keeping yourself confident and properly motivated.
By Gerald Heneghan, Digital Content Editor, GymsinLondon.com
GymsinLondon.com is a comprehensive guide to gyms and health clubs in the London area. You can search the interactive gym map to find the gyms closest to you and search by keyword to find the right health club for you.