I used to loathe PE at school. I would feign an array of rare diseases in the hopes of being allowed off. Safe to say the teachers quickly caught onto my antics. Several years on and I've had a complete change of heart, and am a gym fiend.
So the last two months I've had off, because of Christmas and moving around and not being a member at a gym nearby. Now I'm back up North and ready to attack the gym full speed, and I thought I would write a post for all the ladies out there who maybe want to but are unsure about certain things. This is the 100% honest post on going to the gym. So read on if it's something you want to know the ins and outs of from someone who has defeated gymtimidation.
I don't know how to use the machines.
Neither does anyone when they first start. You aren't born with that knowledge, and even a seasoned gym expert may not have a clue at another gym with different machines. Every gym offers a service where someone will take you around and show you how to work them all without injuring yourself. (Or looking stupid.) When you ask to sign up they should offer it to you, if not just ask. Don't worry about looking like a rookie, they show dozens of people around in a week, you aren't alone.
I don't want to do weights in case I bulk up.
You won't. Women don't have enough testosterone to bulk up, but it will burn serious calories, make you stronger and more toned. They say abs are made in the kitchen, but asses are made in the weights room so get on down there.
I'm worried people will look at me and judge my technique/body.
Nobody in the gym looks anywhere. Everyone is sweaty and gross and has the priority of avoiding eye contact with anyone. Everyone is in their own zone. I have looked and judged someone once in my life,because she was on a cycling machine eating an ice cream. I think I was justified in the weird looks in that case.
I can't set up the weights on my own.
Ask someone in the weights room to help you set up if you need, often guys love to help because they feel honoured you asked them. Otherwise, go with a friend.
What do I wear?
Make sure you have good trainers!! Other than that, any old tee shirt will do paired with some sports leggings and a good sports bra. I love Nike and Adidas, but H&M, Forever21 and Bershka do some fab cheaper sports wear. Wear something cute because you'll feel better about yourself. A gym shop is always great motivation!
What about makeup?
At the gym wearing makeup? Who cares. At the gym wearing no makeup? Who cares. I have judged one girl, who applied a full face in the changing rooms BEFORE going into the gym. I would never do my makeup for the gym, if you don't sweat it all off you aren't working hard enough! But if you have makeup on from your day and then just go to the gym in the afternoon, who cares?
When do I go?
The quietest times at my gym are 11 and 3. Mornings are busy, lunchtime packs out a bit and after 5 is INSANELY busy. I don't like going after 5 because it gets too rammed out and hot, and I don't like waiting around for machines.
My muscles hurt!
Stretch before and after, have a protein shake (You can get some at Holland and Barrats, they will help you pick one suitable for you but only do this if you are doing heavy exercise like weights) and try a bath with muscle ease in it. (You can get this at Boots)
I sweat a lot.
Use a good deodorant to stop smelling, and carry a body spray in your bag for after. As for actual sweat, I've seen someone with a small pond underneath his cycling machine. People sweat. You're exercising. It's normal. I'd be more worried if you left the gym dry!
I don't know gym etiquette.
When you're on the machines, wipe down after you've used them any sweaty bits. You can take a towel if you want but most gyms have towels and spray out for this. If you're in the weights room always put the weights back.
I would always suggest going with a friend the first time so you feel less awkward, and you can chat and have a laugh. The main thing I think most people worry about is looking stupid, but unless you go the first time to realise nobody will look at you, you'll never know!