As you know from my recent post, I’ve recently been made an ambassador for Nuffield Health Gyms with a membership to the gym nearest my office and personal training to help me achieve my fitness goals.
As my friends and family will attest, I have always been unfit and would be puffed out just making it to my third floor office at work. However, having seen my husband work with a trainer to lose over two stone and gain a lot of muscle, I have found some inspiration in him though, I feared, not enough for me to follow through with the gym visits and intensive weight training sessions.
But the last couple of weeks have been a revelation. I have found that my biggest challenge hasn’t been the physical, but rather the psychological. My self talk in my mind tells me that other gym goers are watching me making a fool of myself, sweating and grimacing through the leg press reps, or attempting to run on a treadmill (who knew I could do anything other than walk?).
Having been honest with my trainer, Christina, about how self-conscious I am, she’s not let me use that as an excuse and so with each session, I’m increasing the weights I’m lifting, planking for twice as long already (no mean feat when you’ve been training for an hour by then and your arms are like jelly!) and improving my technique.
So what tips would I give other gym goers who aren’t those perky Fabletics-wearing fitness junkies or muscle-clad Adonises?
1. Everyone is there for themselves. They really aren’t interested in you fighting for breath over a cardio machine. You’re not watching them do their workout and they’re not watching you. Once you can get past this fear of being judged, it all becomes a lot more fun.
2. Showing up is 90% of success. For me, there are a million reasons why I can’t fit the gym in; the children, my work schedule, household chores and errands. But turning up and walking into the building and just hopping on a rower or cross trainer to warm up tells me I can do this and then I do!
3. Music really helps. I love dance music and I find trying to keep pace with whatever Ministry of Sound anthology I have on my playlist really increases my workout without it feeling painful. It also uplifts my mood.
4. If you can afford to, having a trainer that gets you really helps. Christina has explained all the equipment to me – and because I am a little scared of all the machines – my exercise programme includes little pictures so I can find the right machines to work out each muscle group. She also doesn’t stand for any of my BS so when I said I don’t run on treadmills, I just power walk, she immediately took the speed up to a run and of course, I ran! She believes in me before even I do!
5. Try everything before deciding what’s right for you. I would NEVER have tried any sort of weights machine prior to this. I assumed it would turn me into some hulk-like beast but with the right weights and reps, it simply tones and gives you more strength and stamina. There are also a huge variety of classes at Nuffield Health so whether you’re into Clubbercise or BodyAttack, or something more sedate because they also offer swimming lessons – there really is something for everyone!
If this has inspired you to consider joining a gym, Nuffield offer a free day pass so you can try one out and see how you like it. Find out more here.
I’d love to hear how you get yourself motivated to exercise or go to the gym. Do share your tips in the comments.