I was 17 when I joined my first gym in 2004, Fitness First in Sydney. My gosh what a mistake that was. It was $70 a month (£37) on a 12 month contract. I have no understanding what a 12 month contract was, plus I lied about my age as you needed to be 18 to join. They were giving out free gym bags that had a water bottle in it so how could I say no? For the next 12 months I would miss every payment and the bastards would call me each month until my foster mum gave me the money to pay it all off. It’s safe to say she wasn’t happy about it at the time. So I joined due to peer pressure and the excitement of a free water bottle. After that I was left to my own devices. No one actually gave me an induction to teach me how to use the machines safely, nor did I receive a program/schedule to follow. I was given more guidance when I would go to the local buffet restaurant. Sadly, not much had changed over the years.
The gym machines had pictures on it so I would know what muscles was supposedly being worked out, only if I did it correctly which I doubt I ever did. I was ’18’, not an experience gym goer. But that didn’t matter, Fitness First had my money (so they thought) so I was now just a number to them. I genuinely have lost count of the amount of times I’ve joined a gym on a 12 month contract and not used it. Maybe 12 different gyms across Australia and the UK. Only one of those times I actually renewed my membership and continued to train 5-6 days awake. Surprising I know. However I’d confidently say that most of the times I joined a gym was in January. New year, new me!!! Of course I jumped onto that band wagon many times! The only one I didn’t jump on was Veganuary and yes I know that doesn’t surprise you. Anyways, so the whole ‘New year New me’ bullshit. My advice? Good fucking luck! I can hear James‘ mind ticking over, ready to blast me for that comment. ‘You can’t say that Andy!’ is what he’ll say. Oh James bugger off mate and go do a morning coffee run (because his blog is called MorningCoffeeRun. Yeah funny I know). That’s when he’ll tell me that he doesn’t want to help me with my blog anymore. I love my mentor. Ok. So to help repair my blogging friendship. Here is some advice about the whole New Year, New Me, joined a gym amazingness blah blah blah from an actual person who has done it and fucked it up many times.
This isn’t Geordie fucking Shore mate
If you follow my Instagram page you’ll probably hear me refer to my gym as The Geordie Shore (Avery tacky reality TV show). It’s not 100% correct but it amuses me so I continue to do so. During peak hours of a gym, usually after 5pm, the Geordie Shore folk arrive. These are the massive muscle people who stand around doing nothing but somehow have biceps the size of a car. They show off their gazillion abs, walk around as though they own the place and realistically work out just to impress women on a tinder and Instagram. You’ll see their social media pages is just them flexing shirtless and every day is #flexfriday.
I suggest that you try and train in the mornings or during the day time. Yes at every gym you go to, there will be the Geordie Shore type however in the morning people will need to be somewhere. At 6am when I train, people don’t stand around talking. They do their workout, shower and get to work. It’s prime time for those who actually want to be productive because they have a full day ahead of them. Plus it’s quiet. So if you are a bit self conscious like me, it’s the perfect time to go.
However if you are only able to train after work, what do you do? Whatever you can. Simple as that really. Most programs have a variety of exercises for you do complete. If a machine or specific area is being used, I’ll go onto the next one. When it does become free, I’ll go complete that exercise. Most people do sets of three. So ideally you shouldn’t be waiting for too long.
Find the right gym that works for you!
As very gym is different, you need to find the one that is going to be best suited to you and what you are wanting to do there. Gyms aren’t all about lifting heavy weights, there actually is so much more to a gym than just that. Some offer a huge range of classes for all abilities, are open 24 hours a day, have the fancy things such as a swimming pool, sauna, cafe etc. The more fancy the gym, typically the higher cost you will pay. Do you need a cafe at your gym? No. Will you ever use the tennis/squash courts, sauna etc? No. So don’t waste a stupid amount of money all to be trapped in a 12 month contract as a reminder of you being an idiot. I go to Pure Gym which is open 24 hours a day. The layout is very clear and simple to follow, all of the cardio, machine weights and free weights are all in separate areas. Pus they have showers which I do use prior to going to work. It works for me and is only £10.99 per month. Don’t forget that the staff are there to help you. If you are not sure what to do there or have a question, ask the gym staff. 24 hour gyms are great for this, plus they are cheap and usually have monthly contracts. Some of the big ones are Pure Gym, The Gym and DW Fitness. I’m sure their are more, so just google ‘24 hour gym near me’.
Do your gym induction!
All good gyms will over this to you, so take advantage of it! If your gym doesn’t offer it, back the fuck away and join elsewhere. The induction is designed to show you around the machines, how to use them and areas that you will frequently train in. If you are lucky, they will also provide you with a free gym program to follow. It is also a prime opportunity for the trainer to sell themselves to you. After all they are their to train people and make money. If you feel comfortable with them and are financially able to afford it then I suggest using a trainer. However read that sentence again. IF you feel COMFORTABLE WITH THEM. Do not sign up for personal training just because they have the gift of the gaff or are super duper sexy as fuck. Keep your money if that’s the case. Trainers should invest their time in you as much as you do your money with them. If you can’t afford a trainer, then try signing up to the gym classes. These are usually free and provide a wide range of workouts that really are brilliant for all fitness levels. It’s also a great way to get to know the trainers and find one that you are comfortable with as mentioned above.
Freak in the sheets, shy as fuck in the gym
A lot of us can be full of confidence outside of the gym, however once in those four walls our confidence is completely gone. I get it. It’s intimating watching these super buff, fit, Love Drongo Islanders looking like a million dollars. Then there is us (me included). Most likely coming back from work or a full day with the kids, completely exhausted. But so what? You have every right to be in that gym as anyone else. Last week I had one of these ripped chaps ask when I would be done on a machine because he needed it. I mumbled ‘two more sets’. So he simply replied ‘ok’ and that was that. Was he a dick about it? Surprisingly no. Speaking of surprisingly, the majority of these drongos who have more lip filler and abs than I have had hot dinners, aren’t actually bad people. Nor are others in the gym. They do their thing, I do mine. Just as we all do in our day to day lives. The gym is for those who are their to workout and we all know that. Even the Love Island lip filler chaps. I applaud everyone who gets the grind in at the gym. It’s not easy, however good for you! I respect the hard work we all put in to our fitness goals no matter how ‘fit’ you are.
What you need to understand is that the reality is that the majority of people doing a New Years Resolution will fuck it up. So if yours is to go to the gym five times a week, change it to something realistic. Why not have it be ‘join a gym and do one class a week’? The first part is easy! However making the most out of your gym membership can be bloody difficult. So set yourself up for success. The above points really did help me to get into a routine and are what I am following at the moment. Below also are some final points that I hope to help you with your gym New Years resolution:
- Get your gym gear ready the night before. I means you can just wake up and run out the door, no fussing!
- Create a playlist! With all workouts I need some tunes! Get the beats cranking for a fun workout
- Have your training session on your phone and know how to do everything before you get to the gym. There is nothing worse than having to google how to do a specific exercise. This also may help ease your gym anxiety. I know it does for me.
- In the middle of your workout take a look around at everyone. This will help you realise that actually people don’t stare at you in the gym. everyone should be focused on their workout. In fact the only person looking at other people is you!
- If you have rolls on your stomach, wear loose clothing. I wear baggy tops to the gym because I don’t need my own insecurities stopping me from working on myself. It’s not about ignoring body image issues, it’s about being aware of what works for you.
- It will get easier. At first the gym can be really bloody scary and usually for the first week you will also be sore. This won’t last. You’re body is just getting used to working out. So push through it.
- You can do this. So do not give up!
It’s not about New Year, new bullshit. It’s not bullshit if you are going to give it your absolute all in making some big steps forward in 2020. January is an incredible time when the world says, ‘fuck it, we’ll support whatever idea you have!’ So if yours is going to the Geordie Shore aka gym, then you have all the support in the world. When it gets tough and my gosh it will, just push through it. Find what works for you and focus on that! I do hope the above has helped in some way as it is what I follow. Anyways, enough of me blabbering on. My name is Andy and I wish you a good race 🙂