With the weather cooling down, getting into the gym might be the best way to keep your fitness routine going. But the ins and outs of gym etiquette can be daunting if you’re new. Rather than let any gym anxiety get the best of you, we asked celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak for his tips to avoid typical gym mistakes. Here are 8 easy ways to keep your routine going.
1. Shake things up
Doing the same workout every time can be repetitive – and boring. It also might cause you to plateau, or worse, cause injury. So try to keep things fresh by switching up cardio with weight training. Many gyms also offer a number of fitness classes, which can help keep things fresh.
2. Keep your phone out of it
So many people are tethered to the world through their phones these days, but going to the gym is a great way to escape that. Leave the texting for later by keeping your phone out of the way – either sitting nearby if you’re using it for music, or better yet, in your locker. You can use an auto-responding app or service to let your friends/colleagues know you’re busy keeping healthy.
3. Share your equipment
When there’s a lot of people and a limited amount of equipment, it can be tempting to keep your machine to yourself for your whole workout. But that can also mean someone else is left waiting. Don’t rush your workout, but do be considerate of others. That can mean moving elsewhere between reps, cleaning up quickly after your workout (rather than waiting until the end of the game that’s on TV), or simply not using equipment as a bench.
4. Warm up rather than stretch before a workout
It’s a common misconception that you’re supposed to stretch before a workout. Instead, try a good dynamic warm-up beforehand, and leave your stretching (or better yet, foam-rolling) until you’re done.
5. Work out all of your muscles – not just your target areas
It’s tempting to only work out the area of your body you’re hoping to tone, but you’ll actually get better results if you train your body evenly. This can even improve your posture!
6. Focus on hydration instead of eating
It’s important to eat a balanced diet throughout the day, but you don’t need to worry about fueling up right before (or worse, during) your gym routine. Focus on hydration instead.
7. Use headphones and create motivational playlists
Listening to music can be a great way to break up the monotony of your workout routine and help keep you feeling pumped. But it can be distracting for others if you aren’t using headphones. Invest in a set of earbuds, and save your phone calls for later. Then take the time to create a few playlists that will keep you motivated throughout your entire workout. Finding the right song(s) can really help keep you mentally engaged and push through any walls you may hit along the way.
8. Clean up after your workout
Hate to sound like a gym enforcer, but cleanliness is next to Godliness, right? That goes 10-fold at the gym. With so many people using equipment throughout any given day, it’s important to keep things clean by wiping your equipment down after each use. A little effort goes a long way for the next person that uses your bench or mat. Pay it forward, y’all.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.