12-09-2015

5 Reasons To Join a Gym

The new year is right around the corner…yikes!

Funny side story: I was reading about top resolutions that people don’t actually accomplish, and one of mine from 2015 was on there (insert laughing/crying emoji). I wanted to “learn something new” in 2015 and said I’d learn guitar or piano or take a dance class. Yeah, needless to say I did none of those things BUT I want to try in 2016! I really would love to learn any of those things OR also learn how to play tennis – random I know.

Anyway, going back to new year’s resolutions…a common one is working out more or losing weight. Many people hit the gym for the first time in the new year. Or you might be nervous about joining a gym and aren’t sure if it’s right for you. Well I’m here to give you reasons why you should join a gym.

5 Reasons Why You Should Join a Gym in 2016!

Extra Motivation

This is my number one reason. First of all, I am way more motivated to work out and lift when I am physically at the gym. A lot of people like at-home workouts but I just can not motivated myself to do them. Even though I have dumbbells at home, if I’m at the gym I am way more likely to finish my entire workout than cut it short and just plop on the couch.

Also, you’re paying for a gym membership. That is good enough motivation in and of itself! Will you feel good knowing you’re paying for something monthly that you’re not using? The same premise applies to boutique studios and fitness classes if those are more your thing. Actually paying for classes will decrease the likelihood of you skipping your workout just because “you didn’t feel like it.”

Variety of Equipment

If you work out at home, you most likely will be limited with what equipment you have (unless you have built your own at-home gym, in which case I’m jealous). You can find all sorts of equipment at the gym, ranging from kettlebells, cable machines, pull-up  bars, barbells, TRXs, and much, much more. 

We all know switching up your routine regularly will help you avoid the dreaded plateau, and having all sorts of equipment to use in your workouts is the best way to continually change things up. If you’re not sure how to use something, do not fret! I’ll talk about that in my next reason which is…

Personal Trainers

Yes, personal trainers can be a bit pricey but you’re getting someone who will create a workout plan for you, monitor your form, guide you and help you with your goals. However, if it’s not in your budget or you don’t want a personal trainer, that’s fine. You can still ask them for help during your workouts. Like I said above, if you don’t know how to use something, no problem. Simply as a trainer at your gym to show you how to correctly use something. You might feel a little embarrassed but DON’T!! Also, it is much better to feel embarrassed than have improper form using something and then injuring yourself. Trust me, the trainers want to help you and will gladly show you proper technique.

Combine Workouts

This somewhat goes along with my “variety of equipment” point but the beauty of a gym is that you have so much to work with. You can easily do a cardio + strength workout using dumbbells or kettlebells and a treadmill. Run 400 meters on the treadmill, then do 15 kettlebell swings and walking lunges. Done. Easy. Yes it is probably more fun running outside but it is also more of a pain in the @$$ to lug your weights to your local track or outside in order to do a workout like this (I’ve tried.)

Most gyms have all sorts of cardio equipment, so it also makes cross-training so much easier. Don’t feel like running? No problem, hop on a bike. Bored of your usual routine? Do 1o min. treadmill, 10 min. stairstepper, 10 min. elliptical. 30 minute cardio workout done. Want to do a hill workout? You can easily to intervals on the treadmill and “set it and forget it.”

Meet Like-Minded People

If you’re going to the gym regularly, you start seeing the same people every day. Same goes for fitness classes (or perhaps your gym also offers fitness classes which is a bonus). By joining a gym you’ll be able to meet others with similar goals as you and/or perhaps your new workout buddy! I’ve chatted with various people at my gym about running or their workout simply because we see each other a lot, or they see my race shirt so they ask me about it, etc. It is not awkward at all, in fact, if you ask someone about their workout (tip: don’t talk to them while they’re actually doing the workout), they’ll probably be flattered and will love to talk about what they’re doing. Meeting new people can be a new source of motivation and inspiration for you.

I love my gym and am glad my parents also work out at the same gym. One year ago, my dad refused to exercise at the gym because he was embarrassed. Well I know that’s the real reason despite him saying it was just easier to do it at home ;) Now, he goes to the gym every day and is more motivated than ever to lead a healthy life and exercise regularly.

Are you thinking of joining a gym in 2016?

If you’re an avic gym go-er, what are your favorite aspects of your gym?

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12-09-2014

Gym Etiquette

I just joined a new gym and so far I love it. It’s big and has probably 30 treadmills, which means I’ll never have to wait again! (knock on wood)

But with a new gym comes new questions. I wanted to get your input on a few things, and then talk about general gym etiquette for those who may just be starting to go or plan on getting a membership for the new year.

Proper Gym Etiquette

Questions:

Okay here are my questions for you gym folks…

  • At my other gym, when you wanted to use the squat rack, you waited behind the person squatting (kind of a line I guess) and when they were finished you stepped in. Is this normal practice? If I wait behind someone at my new gym will they think I’m a creep?
  • Do you bring your dumbbells to other places in the gym? We had a room where people took equipment to do circuit type workouts. At my new gym, the way the treadmills are set up, it’d be perfect to bring dumbbells or kettlebells over to do running and strength circuits. Thoughts?

Okay so I though I had more questions but that’s basically it haha. I’d love to hear your input!

General Gym Etiquette

If you plan on getting a gym membership this upcoming year and aren’t sure where to start, here are a few “rules” people tend to follow at the gym. I mean, basically just be courteous and no one will give you the stink eye ;)

Wipe stuff down. Don’t leave your treadmill, bike, mat, bench, etc. without wiping it down. 1) Who wants to touch your sweat and 2) Think of all the bacteria that can be passed around that way. Let’s all try to avoid getting sick so we don’t have to skip days at the gym :)

Don’t hoard equipment. I know I asked above if I can take dumbbells to a room or the treadmill, but some people take dumbbells, kettlebells, a bench, a box, a jump rope, etc. etc. to their little corner and then the rest of the gym doesn’t have access for a while. If you’re doing circuits, just take what you need for the first circuit, then go exchange it for other stuff as your workout progresses (especially if it’s during peak hours).

Be quick. No one is saying to rush your workout, but don’t take a 5 minute break in between sets either. I hate when I’m waiting for a bench or the squat rack and the person on it is texting during their break, walking around talking to friends and just taking forever in general. When I know people are waiting, I take a short break, and then get right back into it. Plus, that’s a better way to keep your heart rate up anyway!

Ask someone to spot you. Don’t be afraid to do this! Personal trainers and gym staff are there for a reason. If you’re just starting out and unsure of the weight you’re lifting, definitely ask someone to give you a spot. You’ll stay safe and perhaps learn some cues and tips from the trainer who helps you.

Put your stuff away. Nothing peeves me more than when I go to the squat rack and someone left the bar on the rack with multiple weights on it. Why??? You couldn’t take the time to take the weights off?? Be courteous and put things back where you got them…isn’t that something we learned in Kindergarten? ;)

Let people work in with you. If you know you need to do 5 sets on a machine, let the person waiting work in with you. They’ll ask “Can I work in?” and then you just switch on and off. You can also ask people if you can work in. I mean, I know people who find this annoying, but it doesn’t bother me at all. What are your thoughts on this?

I want to hear your thoughts on gym etiquette…what would you add to this list? Or any general tips you’d give beginners?

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01-29-2014

Making Friends At The Gym

Do you go to the gym and see the same people day in and day out?

My gym time is usually around the 4-6 pm range, and I always see the same people.

Recently, I was reading Women’s Health Magazine, and one of their tips was to “chat up the girl you always run next to on the treadmill” in order to make a new friend.

I always see this girl working out, and we both run regularly and lift. I saw her yesterday and thought of this piece of advice from Women’s Health. I wanted to tell her I really liked her hot pink sneakers, but I’m just not someone who talks to random people. I always feel awkward and like they will think I’m creepy!

So…

make friends at the gym

I’d love to meet someone with the same passions for health and fitness. I’m sure my boyfriend is sick of hearing how much I benched today, or how far I ran yesterday ;)

Well, I did a google search for “making friends at the gym” and found this great post by Healthy Tipping Point! Here are some of her tips for meeting new people without seeming creepy:

  • Listen to earbud cues:  Don’t stroll around the gym blasting music.  It makes you seem unapproachable.   Similarly, if a potential friend has her earbuds in, don’t interrupt her – she doesn’t want to chat.  Some people use the gym to socialize, and others use earbuds as a “No talking” sign.  Be aware of your signals and others, too.
  • Take classes (and show up a little early):  Find a class you enjoy and attend it regularly.  You’ll become a familiar face and other regulars will notice.  Say hello to people when you walk in and ask them how their weekend went – be engaging!  By arriving earlier, you’ll have more time to talk.
  • The best opener:  I always open conversations with a stranger with a genuine compliment.  “I have those sneakers, too.  I love Brooks – aren’t they great?” or “I love your ring – when are you getting married?”  It’s hard to turn down a compliment.  :)
  • Take it outside the gym:  Once you establish a connection with a gym buddy, try to move the friendship outside the gym after a few weeks.  This will probably happen naturally, but if it doesn’t, jokily saying something like, “We should probably hang out outside of these crappy fluorescent lights and yoga pants one day.”  Go for a post-workout smoothie or coffee.  Or suggest trying out a yoga studio or going for an outdoor run.
  • Read her full post here.

Going along with this topic, does anyone feel like making new friends when you’re out of college is a lot harder? In college you had automatic friends from your dorm, you made new friends going to parties, and perhaps in small classes. In the “real world,” I feel like it’s harder. People already have their group of friends, and meeting people randomly (like in a dorm situation) just doesn’t happen anymore.

While I think I would feel kind of creepy talking to someone at the gym, as I read through the comments of the above mentioned post, a lot of people are saying they wish they could make a friend at the gym! People want a workout buddy, and someone who is like-minded in terms of healthy living. So perhaps I’ll work up the courage to one day talk to someone at the gym ;)

Have you made a gym friend?

Do you think it’d be weird if someone randomly talked to you at the gym?

Do you make new friends easily? Share some tips!

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