Woman at the gym
Part of the reason that small, independent personal trainers, like myself, are popular with women is that many women tend to feel uncomfortable in big, commercial gyms. Some feel insecure about people watching them workout. Some feel intimidated by all of the equipment that they don’t know how to use, and some feel like big gyms are big germ-fests. For whatever reason, some people are just turned off by the whole gym experience. While that can be good for me, I hate to see women uncomfortable working out anywhere. Plus, hitting the gym between training or cardio sessions can show huge gains in both weight-loss, muscle growth, and overall fitness. Here are my top tips to help you feel comfortable in your local gym:

  1. Bring a bag. – A gym bag should contain everything that you need to have a successful, enjoyable gym experience. My gym bag contains lip balm, weight lifting gloves, a water bottle, facial wipes, a fitness magazine, a towel and a travel-sized deodorant. And that bag never leaves the back of my car so I never have the opportunity to skip a gym session because I don’t have “my stuff”. Need a new gym bag? Check out Urbandillo’s Hobo Gym Bag, it is fabulous!
  2. Have a plan. – Always prepare for the gym by either clipping a workout from a magazine or a website (like this great one) or planning and writing out your own. A good rule of thumb is to either hit 2-3 body parts in a day, or do a circuit for a full-body workout. There is no need to be in the gym for over an hour. Just pre-plan so that your workout is efficient.
  3. Get to know the gym. – Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from gym staff or “regulars” to teach you how to use equipment or show you where everything is. Feeling confident in the gym environment will make a HUGE difference in your workouts. I’ve have friends who’ve just walked up to someone who does workouts that they like or the body that they are after, and asked for their help and advice. Don’t be shy. They would LOVE the compliment!
  4. Use the mirrors. – The best way to check your form and to keep your head and shoulders where they need to be when you’re weight lifting, is to stare at yourself in the mirror. Trust me, you will not look vain. People will know that you know what you’re doing when they see you watching your form and movement in the mirror. When you see your muscles move and contract, you will feel how an exercise should be performed and therefore be more effective.

Going to the gym should be fun, not dreaded. So, do your homework, be brave, and get out there.

(photo credit here)