How to get a plan, get in shape and not get lost in the gym
Whether you’re just beginning a new fitness regimen or have been working out for a while, it can be difficult trying to figure out a good, effective gym plan. Maybe you find yourself kind of wandering around the gym 20 minutes into your workout, wondering what to do next. The gym can be a hard place to navigate; especially if you’re there during a busy time when you’re surrounded by people you assume have a plan. Here are some ways to avoid looking like a lost puppy at the gym:
- Make up a plan before you go in to the gym. Depending on your goals, there are plenty of different resources that can help you with this. There are tons of programs available online, so you can find a specific plan, whether you want to get stronger, lose weight or tone up. Regardless of the plan you choose, it’s important to figure out exactly what you need to be doing on the days you have scheduled to work out. Going in and winging it is going to be a lot less effective than going in with a structured workout already in mind.
- Keep track of your progress. Get a journal and record the gains you’ve made. There’s nothing worse than backtracking because you don’t remember how much you lifted last time or how many miles you ran. You can keep a traditional journal or download an app on your phone. However you do it, make sure you’re updating it consistently.
- Don’t be intimidated by those around you. Do not worry about what everyone else is doing at the gym! Your workout is for your benefit, not anyone else’s. Be concerned with working toward your goals for your body. If you are consistent and hard working, you’ll reach those goals. You’re not competing with someone else; you are working to be better than you were yesterday.
- If you don’t know, ask! There’s no point in paying for a gym membership only to be baffled by a bunch of confusing machines and equipment. There’s nothing wrong with asking a staff member for help navigating the weight room—that’s why they’re there. If it’s leg day and you’re not sure how to use the squat rack, find out. Don’t walk away because it’s unfamiliar—you might be missing out on something really beneficial.
- Keep it interesting. Pick a workout plan that is going to keep you wanting to go back to the gym. If you’re bored the first week into a program because it’s not intense enough or lacks variety, that probably isn’t the best plan for you. Working out is definitely work, but it doesn’t have to be boring, so play with your routine if it’s not keeping your interest.
- Try new things. The gym is starting a yoga class, your friend is going for a trail run, there’s a 5k coming up next month… Opportunities to have new fitness adventures are always available; you just have to be willing to take them. Venture out a little bit and experience other ways of getting into shape. You might just pick up a new hobby!