Joining a gym in 2017? The Gym Group’s Longwell Green general manager, dual Team GB Olympian Allyn Condon (above), offers some key pointers for newbies...
1 TAKE ADVICE
Most people, when they first join a gym, have been thinking about it for a long time but recognise you can’t achieve what you want to unaided. At The Gym Group, we get a high percentage of people that drop out of membership because they don’t seek advice. So use a personal trainer; somebody you feel comfortable with.
2 SET REALISTIC TARGETS
Once you have a trainer, use them to help you set goals. If you set an unrealistic goal then as soon as you break it you tend to give up. We all know people who were doing really well giving up smoking who then have one cigarette and are back puffing away. Goals also have to be realistic. If they are not, then failure to achieve them simply becomes demoralising. For example, If you start in January saying 'I want to lose two stone by February' then that is not realistic. Do it in stages. Say 'I will lose two pounds by February', then set another goal for March. That way you can celebrate your success rather than live in fear of failure.
3 HAVE A PLAN
Many people who join a gym do so because they have an objective like ‘I plan to do a 10k in six months time’. With that kind of goal people tend to stick to it because they are not trying to say 'I will run a 10k and do it in under an hour'. The achievement is in doing the race. It also means you can work out a plan. For example, can you complete10k by the end of two weeks by jogging for 2k and then walking the rest? Then you can build up in incremental stages.
4 MORE THAN JUST EXERCISE
Around 40 per cent of our members sign up because they want to lose weight. Age has got little to do with it. I have a new member who is 65. Seventy percent of what he does is about changing his lifestyle through diet and nutrition, combined with increased exercise. It’s very difficult to out-train a bad diet.
5 CLASSES HELP
Classes create a buzz. If it’s the first time you have been to a class then you are at least struggling together, rather than trying to do everything on your own. It gives you a chance to find a training partner who is in the same position as you.