Going to the gym can be overwhelming. It’s a new place filled with strange looking equipment, and everyone but you seems to know what the heck they’re doing. It can feel very discouraging! However, I’ve got these special tips to share with you on how to be successful at the gym. I’m not a personal trainer, so you won’t find any specific exercises to do while at the gym or any tips on how to get jacked. These tips are more for your mindset and just general how-to’s.
Before we jump into it, be sure to follow me on Instagram, where I often share gym snapshots and other healthful tips!
How to be successful at the gym
1. Accept the fact that you’re probably going to look/feel stupid whenever you’re learning a new skill.
Working out is a whole new territory for all people at some point in their lives! No one was born doing dead lifts or squats or bench pressing, okay? We all started at the beginning at one time or another, and we all swallowed our pride so that we could get better. We humbled ourselves and started with low weights and readjusting our form constantly. We all took the time to read the instructions on the machines. We all tried something new and failed (some of us for awhile).
All of this sounds really uncomfortable and awkward, but it’s part of going to the gym and mastering new skills. This isn’t just for newbies either! I’ve been going to the gym for two years now and still often make a fool of myself while trying new lifts or movements. It’s all part of learning how to be successful at the gym!
2. Don’t sacrifice form for weight.
I get it – it sucks to go into the gym and work with low weights. It can make you feel inadequate and weak. But I’d much rather feel inadequate and weak than injure myself.
If you prioritize weight over proper form, injury is bound to happen. Remember, we all started at the beginning.
3. Look up exercises ahead of time and create a plan.
When I first started going to the gym, going in with a plan was crucial to my success. I didn’t know enough movements and lifts to formulate a workout plan on the spot once at the gym. Writing down a plan also helped keep me accountable. I found that when I was just doing stuff off the top of my head I’d run out of ideas and leave after only 20 minutes or so.
Preparing a plan also helped me to research movements and lifts before stepping into the gym. I was able to watch lots of YouTube videos on proper form so I was going in with a better idea of what to do. Pinterest is another great resource for looking up work outs!
4. Always bring a water bottle.
Working out is the only time I ever push water consumption (otherwise, I just drink to thirst). I bring a 24 oz bottle with me and try to drink all of it during the course of my 45-60 minute work out. If I don’t drink it all, there’s usually only a few sips left.
I like to bring my Polar Pop bottle. It’s affordable, light weight, and I like having a sport spout, as opposed to a straw or open spout. It’s also slim enough that it fits in the cup holders on all the cardio machines.
5. It’s not a race.
This sort of goes along with point number 2. Your goal at the gym should not be to see how quickly you can get in and out. Yes, sometimes speed is the name of the game for certain styles or circuits, but as a general rule, slow and controlled movement is the goal.
This allows you to prioritize your form and really focus on that mind-muscle connection. Often times when I’m moving too quickly I notice that I’m working muscles I shouldn’t be, and therefore not activating the muscles I want to.
Bonus tip on how to be successful at the gym…
Please, please, please, please put your equipment away when you’re through with it! And please put it where it belongs – not necessarily where you found it.
And that wraps it up! Five tips on how to be successful at the gym! If you’re a veteran gym goer, what additional tips would you share?