Personal Care

How to survive at the gym

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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discouraged woman at gym
Don't sweat the learning curve
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Here's how to survive at the gym and enjoy yourself

Joining a gym is a big step towards becoming more active and healthy, but the catch is you actually have to go. Making fitness goals a reality isn't easy. However, it is doable. First you must get over the mental humps often associated with going to a gym.

Knowing how to survive at the gym will result in a more pleasant experience. In a few weeks, it'll feel less like a chore and gradually become a highlight of the day. Soon the good feelings and physical improvement you gain from working out regularly will have a positive influence on your work, relationships and every other area in your life.

Go prepared

Beginners often make their first few trips wearing head to toe cotton, paying little attention to hydration and food. That's okay – you get points just for showing up. However, proper clothing, a stylish gym tumbler, change of clothes and deodorant for after will make your visit far more comfortable and effective.

The best clothes to wear are synthetic and treated to wick sweat so you stay dry and comfortable. This lightweight material is breathable so you won't overheat no matter how hard you push. The fitted sizing allows you freedom to move without fighting loose, baggy fabric.




While most will have water fountains, it's useful to bring a tumbler of water or your favorite sports drink. The drink will stay cool and within reach so you won't have to step off the treadmill every time your throat gets dry! Some people prefer to keep a caffeinated beverage like coffee or a mocha in theirs so it's waiting for them as a recovery drink post-workout when you need that extra boost.

Wear whatever sneakers you have available at first – otherwise not having the “right” shoes will become an easy excuse for not going at all. Once you get a sense for which activities you like, whether it's yoga, running on the treadmill or spinning, get shoes designed for that activity. They'll offer support and can help prevent injury.

Be confident

For many new joiners, learning how to survive at the gym is more of a mental challenge. If you're already insecure about your body, passing body builders and trainers on your route to the locker room can make you that much more self conscious. The important thing to remember is that everyone is there to feel better and healthier, not to judge you!

The results you'll see from your hard work will increase your confidence in your physical appearance in time. For now, put on a smile and simply stop comparing yourself to others. Many people there are happy to answer questions and share training tips if you ask when they're taking a break. Make an effort to be friendly because the gym can be a great place to meet fun, active friends.

Sign up for a session with a trainer if there's a lot of equipment that you want to learn how to use – many memberships come with one free training session. Trainers can customize a routine to fit your goals and provide loads of helpful workout tips.

Fuel up before and after

Learning how to fuel a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing work-in-progress for many. To start, pay attention to how your body feels after a workout. If you're depleted and extremely exhausted, you may need to consume more calories before the workout. This doesn't mean indulge in an extra bag of chips at lunch. Choose foods that are more dense with nutrients to begin with like vegetables and whole grains.

After a workout, a small smoothie or few bites of an energy bar is all most people need for recovery. The small burst of sugar replaces the energy you just burned and evens out your appetite so you don't over-indulge at dinner.

Finally, the most important lesson of how to survive at the gym is to focus on yourself. You're there for you, so don't worry about what you look like. Make crazy faces when you lift weights if it helps. Grunt and sigh because if you're having a difficult time you're doing something right.


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