Gym Chat: Safety Tips to get the MOST from Your Membership

So, you’ve laid out the cash for a gym membership right? Did you know that statistically over 70% of people with gym memberships do NOT visit the gym regularly?!?!?!? That’s wasted cash people!

I think the main reason people become disenchanted with the gym itself has more to do with our lack of self-confidence within the environment and less to do with the environment itself. So, I’ve developed a blog series to help YOU get the most from your gym membership :)

Read on for the first installment so you can boost your self-confidence and results. Not to mention, you won’t be spending $10-$60/month on this…..

treadmill Don’t be that person….

OK, so gym safety starts and ends with you. Let’s cover the bases on how you can provide a safe environment for yourself to reach goals.

  1. KNOW THYSELF. Do NOT (I repeat, NOT) simply follow somebody else’s gym routine or attempt to lift what they lift right out of the gate. All too often I witness people hopping from one machine to another simply mimicking what they saw somebody else do earlier. This can lead to injury AND your goals may not be the same as theirs.
  2. Check your weight. Ok, not “your” weight, but the weight that is either racked on the bar or already on the machine. I saw a guy nearly crushed by the bench press last weekend because he simply sauntered up and decided to press what was already on it. NOBODY at that gym is comparing weights with you….at least nobody that matters. Err on the side of caution. Many times I start light and will simply add some weight if I feel the need. Form and safety are always first. The only person keeping track of the weight is YOU.
  3. Have a plan. If you want the most out of your membership, walk in with a plan. Don’t walk in for social hour, unless that’s the purpose to your monthly dues….in which case, sad :( . I see many people wandering the gym floor waiting for inspiration to strike. This can end up hurting you as 9 out of 10 times you’ll end up back at #1.
  4. If you’re planning to lift SUPER heavy (challenging lifts for you) either have a spotter who will accompany you and work out with you OR go when you know there are a few more bodies in the gym to help. Example: the young man on the bench press mentioned in #2: M-Th at 5 a.m. the gym is packed with available spotters (guys and gals that KNOW what they are doing and can dig you out of a jam then give you a high five for effort) and even a couple of trainers. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are notorious dead days. When this poor guy got stuck there were only 3 other people on the floor and no floor staff. Lifting heavy is cool, but make sure you have somebody to watch your back.
  5. Don’t let your friend run your workout. Having a workout buddy ROCKS…when your at the same level and have similar goals. My favorite workout buddy has a BIG goal of booty building, as do I :) So, I always loved putting together challenging butt-building workouts and KILLING the gym floor. That reminds me, I should schedule another…Anyways, if your gym buddy has NO need/desire to lose weight and that’s ALL you got your membership for, don’t let them run your workout. You can still meet up for accountability, but make sure you are working towards your personal goals. TIP: peruse the blog for tips on goal setting :)

Now that your safer and feeling a little more confident, let’s REALLY kick it up a notch!

Are you just not sure what to do when you set foot on the gym floor? Let me help walk you through this:

  1. If you’re like me and you bring a bag, lock it up….oh, make sure you have what you need first. Don’t be like me and have to unlock your locker 5 times.
  2. Know your plan OR carry it with you in a workout journal (I use one from bodybuilding.com)
  3. WARM UP! Here’s where people get fuzzy. A warm-up is not 30 minutes on the treadmill to hit the weights for 20 minutes…..that confuses me, but we’ll get to it later. If you’re working total body (which you should if your overall goal is weight loss), then a cardio machine for 5-10 minutes will do. If you’re having an upper body day, you can warm up with some dynamic movements to get blood flow to the joints FIRST, then perform 1-3 warm-up sets of a compound movement at about 20-30% of your working weight.
  4. Stay focused and avoid the super-long-check-in-on-Facebook-between-sets-rests. Seriously, stop that.
  5. Try to stretch when you’re done, but if you don’t have time simply make sure you stretch and foam roll THAT DAY.
  6. On your way out, sip on your post-workout shake so that recovery can start right away.

Final thoughts. Let’s talk about why you may not be seeing the results you want.

  1. You gym routine is on point, your diet is all over the place. A solid nutrition plan makes ALL the difference. There is NO way around it. Unclear what you should be eating? I can help with that. Shoot me an email HERE: michelle@michellecfitness.com  and I can have you a plan for weight loss, muscle building, and even general health and disease prevention.
  2. You work out SO hard you need 3-4 days to recover. Really? Consistency is key and getting to the gym CONSISTENTLY will pay off far more than killing yourself inconsistently.
  3. Your cardio is longer than your weight workouts. Stop that. Shorten cardio time to 20-30 minutes a day (especially if you want some muscle), 3-5 times per week. Focus your strength on building the body you want, not tearing it down.
  4. Pre and post workout nutrition is all over the place. Again, I can help with that :)
  5. You don’t really have a plan. Magazines make working out look so cool, but if you are hopping from one big thing to the next all consistency is lost. If you cannot figure out what works best for you, consider hiring a coach to help you get started. The beauty of the internet is that your coach is just a click away.

These can be just a few things that are stopping progress. Check in on them and get the help you need to see the results you want.

Keep living fit!

Michelle

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