Thumbs up at the gym with my bud Phil Younghusband.
1. Find the Right Gym For You
There are 3 main Gym chains in the Philippines -- Anytime Fitness, Fitness First & Gold’s Gym. I have tried them all. It is essential to choose one thats suits your needs and is in close proximity to your home or work, so you have no excuses! I might eventually write a more extensive article on the 3 gym chains, but for now, here are my brief thoughts on them:
Anytime Fitness: I am currently a member of Anytime Fitness, and one of the advantages about this gym is its flexibility. They are open 24/7 and have a number of branches to choose from. They have an extensive selection of cardio equipment (treadmills, bikes, ellipticals etc.) and a full set of dumbbells. The only thing I would include is a purpose-built bench press, but you can improvise and readily fashion one with a squat rack.
Fitness First: These gyms have more equipment, especially if you visit their Platinum branches. They are a top-notch gym; however, you pay a higher fee for the larger selection of equipment. And, unlike Anytime Fitness, they are not open 24/7.
Gold’s Gym: This is more of an ‘old school’ gym, with a focus on weightlifting and bodybuilding as opposed to fitness and cardio (however they do have some equipment). They also are not open 24/7.
2. Don't Care What People Think
When you are pushed in to a new or unfamiliar environment you tend to feel a bit judged and self-conscious. Well, don’t! I have been to the gym with a few first-timers and they usually believe that people are looking at them, checking out how much weight they can lift, and sometimes treat it like a fashion show.
Firstly, you are all there to get a good work out and improve yourselves. You're all in the same boat. Everyone is at different stages and it really doesn't matter if you are a seasoned gym-goer or a beginner. Just stay focused and don’t let anyone affect your workout.
Secondly, it really does not matter how you look in the gym. You are going to get sweaty and red-faced anyway! Wear comfortable/practical clothes, and don't worry too much about sporting the newest trends / high-end brands.
3. Listen To Advice
I highly recommend that you take advice from others in order to improve on your technique and ensure you are doing things correctly. This will ultimately help you gain optimal results. Watch YouTube tutorials, talk to personal trainers and ask people in the gym.
Even once you've become a gym regular and feel like you already know everything, you don’t. There is always room to learn more.
I like to train with different people and learn from them. Everyone has different ideas and ways of building muscle and staying fit. Recently, I have been training with my former teammate, Joaco, a former Olympic 100m sprinter, Kons, and a female bodybuilding competitor, Annie!
The reason I mention this is to illustrate to you the vast differences -- in goals and workout methods -- between each of the people I train with. Although challenging, it is beneficial to mix up your style of training every now and then.
4. Understand Your Goals
Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to put on muscle? Do you want to have a six pack?
You need to figure out what you want and adapt your workouts and diet to suit your goals.
For a quick example, if you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume; however, to build muscle and gain weight, you need to do the opposite and take in more calories than you burn.
5. Stick With It
You really need to be motivated and stay on track with your workout plan. It will be difficult at first (after the first time I worked out my legs, I literally could not walk up the stairs!), but your body will adjust and working out will soon become a healthy habit.
Realistically, you will not see results straight away, and even after a few months you will be questioning whether the arduous workouts are worth it. But, hang in there. Trust me. Slowly but surely, you will improve, and compliments will start coming in. That’s when you know the hard work is paying off!
Stick with it until going to the gym becomes routine. Stick with it, and eventually you will achieve the results that you hoped for :)