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Top Tips for Weedy Gym Newbies

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have spent years being a dedicated non-gym goer. That means you’ll have been focused on using all your spare time for other things. Like reading comic books or watching the TV. Maybe you’ve done even more important things with all that available time, like learnt to juggle, or perfected the cheese toastie. Or maybe you’re one of those other kinds of non-gym goers, who actively play football with friends, or go cycling, or enjoy indoor climbing.

But whether you’re Type A or Type B non-gym goer, if you’re like me, that time finally came when, for whatever reason – be it an ever-growing silhouette that greets you in the mirror in the twilight hours; be it an overwhelming concern that your years are now greater than your waist measurement (in inches) – it was time to change it up and become a semi-dedicated gym frequenter.

But that’s easier said than done. The gym near me: it’s full of fantastically built individuals, bulging biceps, firmed glutei. Beads of sweat roll of their perfectly defined pecs, quads and laterals like pearls of mercury on a plate. It’s intimidating for people like you and me – you might even doubt whether you’re up to it.

Fear not. You’re not alone. And once you get started at the gym, you might even enjoy it. Here’s how to get going as the new gal or guy at your local gym:

  1. Stop worrying about what other people might think of you. There are lots of reasons as to why you shouldn’t be concerned with what other people opine when they see your skinny/overweight/weedy/podgy frame stumble by, but by far the most compelling of these is the fact that they literally don’t care. No-one cares. About you. An overworked treadmill (hardly likely) could set you on fire, a rogue dumbbell could poke your eye out, an exercise bike wheel could spiral out of control and dislocate your face.... no-one cares. People, like you, go to the gym to stare at mute televisions and listen to their podcasts. And to get fit. You’re safe from judging eyes – they’re far too busy with checking themselves out, anyway.
  1. Don’t try to prove anything on the first day. One my first day at the gym, I was convinced I was fitter than I was. In my tiny brain I was an Olympic athlete. Daley Thompson. Kirani James. That if anyone could be bothered enough to measure, gather and accumulate the stats on my imagined gym ‘performance,’ they’d be blown away with my searing pace on the treadmill, the strength in my non-existent adductors. So I overdid it on the warm-up, had to sit down to settle my spinning vision, then head home early with an upset stomach. You’re not impressing anyone, go easy on yourself, be sensible and get into a new routine gently.
  1. Be aware of and observe the etiquette. Don’t worry, you’re not a gym goer so you don’t know, how could you? But here’s what everybody else does know:
  • You are expected to wipe down each piece of equipment after having used it, so bring a towel.
  • Replace the weights where you found them, put the mat back in its proper place.
  • Down allow weights to drop down – place them on the ground. If you can’t do that, they were too heavy for your feeble body to start with.
  • Don’t block anyone’s view of themselves in the mirror – it’s literally why they came to the gym in the first place.

And with that, your gym induction is complete. Now go get marginally closer to becoming the person you want to be.