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Prior to this year, I had never set foot in a gym. Weird, right? I know, I know. Though fitness is now a part of my everyday life, I started with running, then yoga, then studio fitness . . . I was always intimidated by the gym. Would it be full of super meaty, ripped dudes pumping iron and side-eyeing me and my five-pound hand weights? Or super sculpted and svelte babes with some kind of crazy strength routine their personal trainer made just for them? What do I even do with the machines? They look like torture devices!
I’d consider myself to be a pretty awkward person in general, so as a complete newbie, I anticipated a lot of social anxiety vibes when I stepped into Equinox for my first gym day (not to mention a huge fear of having ZERO idea about what to do once I actually got to the gym). Fortunately, my experience this year was far less scary than I had predicted, and I learned some things along the way.
If you’re nodding your head saying, “Yes, that’s me,” and “They really ARE torture devices!” then I’ve got you. These tips will help you feel more prepared so you can get the most out of your experience. You’ll be a gym rat pro in no time!
Pump yourself up. Before you even leave your house, remind yourself of your goals and why you got this membership in the first place. A few words of intention and a quick pep talk can clear your mind of any anxiety or jitters that may be making you feel intimidated. Remind yourself: you are STRONG! Your decision to start working out means you’re stronger than you know.Bring a buddy. This one doesn’t need much explanation — bring a friend! Whether they’re new to the gym as well or an expert who can take you under their wing, it’ll help so much to have a pal there with you (and know that if you don’t have a friend to bring with you, that’s OK, too!).
Make a game plan. Going in with zero idea of what you’re going to do won’t end well; this is one of the aforementioned lessons I learned, but I learned it the hard way. If you have no idea how to use the machines, and no one has ever taught you a gym routine, you’ll end up on a treadmill — walking — and if you’re like me, you’ll be really mad at yourself. Do a little research: use one of POPSUGAR’s printable workouts, or bring your favorite workout program with you on your phone (like BBG or Tone It Up), and follow one of those routines. Knowing what you’re going to do ahead of time and having that intention makes you feel less aimless, lost, and insecure.
Pump the tunes. Headphones are everything in the gym, in my opinion. You need your music to pump you up and make you feel strong — and more comfortable! A good gym playlist can help ease tension and fuel an awesome workout.
Try a trainer. Some gyms offer you a free personal training session when you start your membership (Equinox is a prime example of this). I used this time to pick up some tips and tricks and learn how to use the machines. See if you can book a session or just ask a trainer how to use a machine — one quick lesson could set you up for so many more workouts so you can optimize your gym membership.
Start with classes. If your gym offers group fitness, this is an awesome way to get into the swing of things (and definitely how I started!). You’ll have a trainer telling you exactly what to do, and the benefit of the group fitness experience.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t waste your time feeling afraid or nervous. Ask someone who looks like they know what they’re doing, or anyone on the gym staff — that’s what they’re there for! Their end goal is for you to get healthy and love the gym, which you obviously can’t do if you’re floating around aimlessly or too intimidated to come back.
Snap a selfie. Before you roll your eyes, let me explain (then you can go back to rolling your eyes). For many women, a gym selfie has nothing to do with vanity — in fact, it can be quite the opposite. Taking a picture before or after your workout can inspire confidence, build up your self-esteem, and keep you accountable for your workouts going forward. In fact, these pictures can be so effective, trainers actually encourage gym selfies!
We chat to the sisters behind the @basebodybabes to find out what their life in fitness involves.
For anyone who grew up with a mad love for their soul sister, or who wouldn’t be seen dead in the gym without their fit buddy, this dynamic duo is for you. Personal trainers and experts in post-pregnancy fat loss, the basebodybabes love spoiling us with athletic snaps almost too cute to handle. The happy pair offer a range of online personal training systems for women, run their own successful business in Base Gym and top it off with health food café Base Fuel, brimming with raw, sugar-free deserts.
“Once we started training and helping others, everything shifted for us and we knew this was what we wanted to do. As sisters, the fact that we could do it together was even better. We felt like we had a lot to offer our clients and women in general – it’s a really great feeling helping them achieve their goals and change their lives. It was a no brainer for us, we just had to make a career out of it.”
Our fitness regime
“Weights, weights and more weights! We lift between three-to-six times per week and we love it! Our system is based on a combination of strength and circuit-style training.”
“We love to eat fresh, natural wholefoods. We have a portion of protein with every meal, with lots of vegies and some fruit. We drink loads of water throughout the day and we try not to buy too many processed or packaged foods.”
Behind the scenes
“We tend to store fat in the lower part of our bodies, which is common for women. When we were younger, we weren’t so great at appreciating our natural body shape. As we grew up, and became more educated and experienced in life, we began to realise that we are all different as humans and we should embrace our natural curves. We have booties, so rather than trying to change that, we work it!”
NEXT: Find more motivational tips from the experts here.
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Whether you’re after workout inspiration, fit fashion tips and healthy eating ideas, we’ve put together 7 Instagrams you need to follow now.
1. Steph Prem @stephieprem
As the founder and head trainer at Studio PP Steph Prem’s feed varies from reformer workout shots, healthy eats and snaps of when she’s out and about, that’s what keeps it exciting and oh so inviting.
2. Lily Kunin @cleanfooddirtycity
Hailing from the Big Apple, Lily will show you how to cook up a storm for any day of the week with simplicity and authenticity.
3. Sally Matterson @sallymatterson
She’s been in the personal training business for over 12 years so rest assured you’re in really good hands. She has a cute staffy and her office is on the water, um need we say more?
4. Lauren Hannaford @lozhannaford
As a former elite gymnast, you’ll find her doing handstands all day, everyday. Be right back while I go practice my handstand.
5. Belinda @belinda.n.s
Fit mum alert! A true advocate to the healthy lifestyle, there are go gimmicks here. Full of fresh foodie ideas, outdoor adventures and daily motivational quotes, we’re loving her motto.
6. Sarah B @mynewroots
As a self taught cook, Sarah’s feed is filled with plant based dishes, wholesome foods and innovative creations. This might be the feed you need get cooking.
7. Diana & Felicia @basebodybabes
Where fitness, fashion and food come alive. WARNING: may evoke a serious case of workout gear envy. You were warned.
Don’t forget to follow us at @whandfmag for more inspo, wellbeing and fitness love.
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