There’s lots of good advice available on what to do at the Gym. This is what you probably shouldn’t do….
1] Join a Gym
No seriously, a Gym has absolutely no health benefits whatsoever, you cannot get fitter or lose weight there. It’s the exercise when you are at the Gym that does this. So if you not going to go there regularly and work out basis, save your money
2] Ignore Your Health
If you are going to join a Gym for the social kudos of being able to say ‘I have Gym membership’ and then only use their spa facilities and café you have no need to seek medical advice so long as you keep the chocolate cake and frappe consumption to reasonable levels.
If however you are intending going from sloth to super fit in weeks you may just want to run it by a medical expert. Douglas Adams, the brilliant author of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy sadly passed away exercising in a Gym at a mere 49 so be warned!
3] Forget Hygiene
To get fit you are going to have to work out and raise a sweat and you will give off body odour. Unless you are the Tooth Fairy or Spiderman it will be a whiffy sort of smell. So wear deodorant and it probably best to hide those armpits.The clue is when you realise no one ever uses the machines next to you.
4] Sip Water
If you are thirsty, have a drink. There is absolutely no need to take a sip every thirty seconds as it’s not necessary. All you need to do is replace the liquid that you have sweated out so there’s no need to carry round that 2 litre bottle of triple-purified, Elderflower scented organic Alp water taking ostentatious sips between each lift of the 0.5 Kg dumbbell.
5] Forget a ‘wipe off’ towel
While we are on the subject of sweating, such a nice subject, please remember that this precious liquid is yours and yours only and should never be shared with anyone you don’t know intimately and then only in private.
Therefore should any drop of sweat from your perspiring extremities leave your body then use a towel to wipe it off the machine surfaces after you have finished. You could bring a can of Mr Cleaney with you but this is considered over the top.
6] Use the equipment incorrectly
Check the equipment out and ask for help if it’s not clear what to do. Or if you are very shy watch someone else use it (don’t stare with your mouth open as this is also considered bad form) and then copy what they did.
Note; if you try something and it is a] too heavy b] too fast c] won’t move, then stop and adjust. If that doesn’t work move discretely to the next station. Next time you are by that machine go back to the beginning of the first paragraph and follow the advice in the first sentence.
7] Give up easily
Working out is good for getting fitter and losing weight. But you need to put some effort in. The clue here is feeling more tired physically leaving the gym than when you came in. This means you will have exercised your muscles and burnt off some fat and calories. The more effort; the better the results.
For weight loss, 2lbs a week is considered by experts to be a reasonable rate of change. By my calculation an average 12st man will weigh nothing in around a year and a half so there is no need to sign up your Gym membership for more than a year.
How about Yoga? Researchers in one study found that those who started out overweight but did at least one session of yoga a week lost about 5lb over ten years. Which means you need around 330 years to achieve weightlessness using Yoga.
8] Buy the latest, expensive, branded gym wear
Are you here for a fashion show or looking for a mate? Research has also shown that £100 tops or running vests do not make you run faster or lose weight quicker.
They simply highlight you as a newbie or someone not confident about their appearance. Get over it. We’re all here because we foolishly think we can eventually become supermodels or at least head-turners. So save your cash and wear something loose and comfortable that will survive multiple washes. The latter helps with point 3] as well.
9] Use your phone
It is never ever acceptable to use your phone in the gym. That means no voice calls, texting or emails. Yes, you can listen to music from it.
If your life is so thin that you feel you have to be multitasking when you should be focused on one thing, getting fitter, then mentally you are unlikely to achieve your physical goals. You’ll never hit the Zone, find the body and mind working in parallel or discover what a good workout can really feel like. Plus it’s irritating and distracting to other users. So leave the phone in the locker.
10] Show your naked body to everyone
Obviously not in the Gym itself as this is likely to cause consternation and could also cause serious harm with people firing backwards off running machines and dropping weights onto their toes.
This refers to the changing room. If you are removing clothes to change or go to the shower do it discretely. No need to be the virgin on the beach and wrap towels around you, just get changed. But don’t be you 5 year-old self and wander around the changing room with your bits on display until you naturally dry off. No-one wants to see this. If you are a natural extrovert and want some attention go to the other changing room where the men/women there will give you all the attention that you require.
(Written on mobile phone, whilst in Gym cafe as I forgot my designer towel and was also feeling fat, hot and sweaty ……and yup I was naked…)