You’ve signed up to join the gym, you’ve booked a session with a personal trainer, you’ve bought the new kit and the heart rate monitor – you are all set to transition from couch potato to gym bunny.
Unfortunately for many people, this is where the troubles begin. As you throw yourself whole-heartedly into your new gym routine, you start to get niggling injuries, you feel tired and lethargic or after a few weeks you simply can’t be bothered. These are all common problems that people encounter when they start a new fitness regime. The good news is, they are challenges that, once identified, are easily overcome.
Identifying and overcoming your Gym Problem
Gym problem #1: The most common gym problem is not varying the workout. So many people do the same workout, the same exercises, follow the same routine and never change up the weights or intensity. Physically, your body quickly gets used to this routine and so it becomes easy and secondly, your brain gets fed up with a lack of stimulus.
Remedy: Change things. Make your session harder/easier; make your weights heavier/lighter; do different exercises; go to the gym at a different time of day.
Gym problem #2: Niggling injuries, aching muscles and stiffness in joints. Every time you finish a gym session, 24-48 hours later and everything hurts. You feel so tight in your glutes that even sitting at a desk is painful.
Remedy: Warm up and stretching is essential, both pre- and post-exercise. It is fundamental to an injury-free workout as stretching will warm up the muscles and get them ready for the stresses you are about to put them under. Imagine a piece of chewing gum as your muscle: when it is cold and first out of the pack, you can easily snap it, one it is warm, it becomes pliant and flexible.
Gym problem #3: Mistaking brain tiredness for physical tiredness. You get home from work/college and you feel absolutely shot to pieces. All you want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep. the last thing you want to do is exercise, even if all you have done all day is sit in meetings.
Remedy: The Livestrong website says: “You may think that exercise will tire you out and take up your energy, when in fact it can accomplish the exact opposite. A low- to moderately paced workout can give you a 20 percent boost in energy, as compared to a leisurely walk. While you may feel so tired that exercise doesn’t seem appealing, it could help remedy your exhaustion so that you feel better throughout the day.”
Gym problem #4: Always focusing on the big muscle groups and losing the strength and functionality of the small, but essential smaller muscle groups.
Remedy: Instead of starting off with deep squats, bicep curls and bench presses, think about the muscle groups that actually underpin all the movements we do. These groups include the shoulders – shoulder rotators, supra spinatus, infra spinatus and teres major – and the hips – gluteus medius and periformus.
Gym problem #5: Not having targets for your gym sessions can lead to a serious lack of motivation. What is the point of endlessly running on the treadmill or lifting these weights?
Remedy: Whether your goal is improved health, fitness, body composition or sports performance, you should always set yourself a target to measure performance. In practical terms, make a note of your main goal and then set a time frame. Break the goal down into incremental (and achievable) steps that you can measure each week.
In all these cases and for any other advice and guidance, please feel free to talk to one of the Kelsey Kerridge Outlooks Gym staff who will happily discuss your gym requirements with you.