*This post contains gifted items*
The gym and I have had an on-off relationship for the past 4 years, I’ve joined 3 gyms, 2 of those gyms more than once and I’ve even had a personal trainer in the past. Each time I used to walk into the gym the same two things would go through my mind, first being phew, I did it, I am in. The second being what equipment can I use without being stared at for the way I look. Although the first statement remains true, each time I enter the gym, I do feel good about it and I am always proud of myself for making it into the gym. But I’ve stopped caring what others in the gym think about me as much. Part of this is down to me telling myself that I am not trying to be a model, I am going to the gym to work out, and yes I don’t have any makeup on and I am covered in sweat but that’s my purpose of going to the gym.
Over the last few years, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks to make my experience at the gym easier and I thought I’d share these with you. I know that the gym isn’t for everyone, whether that it is down to personal preference or being unable to go to the gym for whatever reason, this post may not be for you. These are my tips as a plus-sized 24-year-old and I hope they help some of you, whether you’re a gym newbie or have been going for years.
Wear the ‘correct’ gym gear:
I’ve spent years going to the gym is some slightly too big leggings, a badly fitting sports bra and a baggy black oversized top and my favourite trainers. Unfortunately, these clothes don’t provide me with the support I need. I was constantly worried about my sports leggings falling down and how my chest looked when I was running that the actual exercise part wasn’t my priority. Purchasing workout clothes from my town is pretty much an impossible mission as the only shop which sells workout clothes is sports direct and this doesn’t really ever have anything above a 16 in from my experience. Especially with Sports Bras, there is no hope. However, looking online I usually order a few sizes, my normal size, one up and one down to make sure I have a great fitting sports bra and then I tend to send the others back. Investing in an actual gym top is great too as it is actually made of breathable material and is more lightweight than my trusty black oversized tee.
Headphones are a lifesaver:
Sadly, people who go to the gym can often be judged by others as it is that kind of environment, but those people really aren’t important to your journey and don’t let them take over your session. I usually pop my Plantronics wireless headphones on before I walk in and head to the equipment I want to use. My headphones are soundproof so I literally can’t hear anyone around me, so all that is important is me, my tunes and mastering this piece of equipment. Also, a great music playlist can help to boost your mood, motivate you and get you in the rhythm of working out. Spotify has some great playlists to pick from too.
Take someone along with you:
If you’re anxious about going to the gym alone, especially for your first few times, it’s worth taking a friend along so you have someone to ask questions to, or if you’re both struggling with something at you’re not alone. Going with someone else is great for moral support too. If you’re both new to the gym, I’d totally recommend doing an induction. Although they can be long and boring it’s worth it as you get to learn how to do things on the machines you wouldn’t know about otherwise. Each gym I’ve been to has a variety of machines which are different from the other gyms so it can be worth having one at each gym you try.
Find the gym that works for you:
The first gym I ever went to, we went at 6 pm on a Monday, and you can imagine how busy this was. Especially as it’s a gym a lot of bodybuilders like to go to as it has a huge selection of weights. From then on, we did find a better time to go, but with being such a big gym it was always fairly busy. It’s taken me three gyms to find one I like going to. The gym is quiet during the days, and most of the people who go during those times are older and you can tell they’re there for themselves and you don’t feel as judged as you can see them smiling at you when you’re doing well which is adorable. Sorry tangent. As stated above, gyms do offer a variety of different things within, like classes, swimming and even a spa so it’s worth finding one that ticks off the boxes of what you’re looking for.
It’s ok to do short sessions:
Being plus size and asthmatic long high-intensity workouts aren’t really possible for me. However, I’ve found out what works for me. I often use the incline feature within a treadmill so it’s like walking up a really steep hill which I find easier and it tends to burn more calories for me. With running I do struggle a lot and it makes it almost impossible to carry on after. However, a workout is better than not doing a workout and even if you only manage 15 minutes, that’s still 15 minutes that you managed. I often have days when I could go for hours and then other times I do 25 minutes and I’ve had enough. You know your body and you know once you’ve had enough.
Get a personal trainer:
Getting a personal trainer is amazing for those who are newbies to the gym world. When I got my first PT he taught me tons of workout essentials that I didn’t know from going on my own. Including the exercises, you need to do to target certain areas and what order to do exercises in. I did a variety of workouts which I would never have tried without getting a plan and advice from a personal trainer. Even if you can only afford one or two sessions it’s worth it as you can remember the workout for when you do it alone.
I hope you enjoyed this post I put together, as much as I enjoyed writing it and let me know in the comments what your favourite exercise to do is?