Weekly column by fitness experts Adam Wright and Jacqui Watson for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
We were all beginners once. We might know a beginner. We might feel like beginners again after shutdown. Let’s talk about that!
Everyone was a beginner once upon a time: As difficult as it might be, try not to compare yourself as a beginner to someone else that has been using the gym for a while. Or even to compare yourself to other beginners. Where you start isn’t what matters. Take your time. Start with the basics.
However, if you do end up making comparisons and holding up someone else as who you’d like to be like, consider that they were once a beginner too and they didn’t just jump straight to where they are now. Success in the gym is the result of lots and lots of small improvements made through consistent behavior over time. Breaking yourself on your first day won’t get you there quicker. Please be safe.
Very few people are looking at you (possibly no one): When you catch someone’s eye and start to worry they were looking at you…they’re probably worrying the exact same thing.
Flip it around. Do you go to the gym, look at people, judge them and laugh at them? I’m going to assume that you don’t. Why don’t we try to assume the best… that no one else does either.
The vast majority of people don’t care what you’re doing, they’re just trying to get their own thing done. If you catch their eye, say “hi”, and move on.
If part of why you’re in the gym is to change how you look in some way, also set a couple of behaviour-based goals too: As long as your goals for your physique aren’t going to damage your physical or mental health then you can go after whatever you like. We are not, however, directly in control of how we look. We are in control of our behaviour (most of the time). So even though your aesthetic goals may be completely valid, setting some behaviour based goals as well, may be helpful. For example, if your physique goal is to lose 14lbs weight then behaviour goals like, “I will be at least 80% consistent with my diet” and/or “I will go to the gym at least three times a week” are things you can actually control. If your goal is more than just weight loss, you want to look “toned” as well, then something like “I will strive to improve on everything I do in the gym by even a tiny bit over last time” would be a good idea too.
You are stronger than you think: I have literally seen clients in my classes pick up a weight to see what number is on it and then put it down again and choose a lighter one because they thought the number was too big… They picked it up. The exercise WAS to pick it up. It wasn’t too heavy. Believe in yourself. Challenge is part of it. Having said that, sure, not all weights are going to be appropriate for all exercises so…
Prioritise proper technique: Proper technique will help reduce the risk of injury. Proper technique will help ensure you’re actually training the body part the exercise is supposed to train. You might be able to move more weight if you sacrifice technique but you’re at increased risk of injury and might be using totally different body parts. Proper technique is your barometer. Treat maintaining it as the challenge when increasing the difficulty of an exercise… not just can the weight be moved.
Try to have fun! I say try because I know some people have to do it even though they don’t want to, for health reasons. For those of use that do it by choice: It’s supposed to be enjoyable. If you don’t enjoy one thing, try another! There are so many options, I’m sure there is something you can enjoy.