That Time I sat on a Machine Backwards

I’m now a qualified Personal Trainer and I think many assume that means I’ve always been ‘sporty’ and into fitness.  I haven’t, at all.

Although a long time ago, when I was at school and during Sixth Form, games was not my thing!  I was on a few teams but when it came to it, I wasn’t really fussed. Running was a whoooooole world of pain for me.  The dreaded cross country runs saw me finishing in the bottom 5 of about 50 girls.

During uni I guess my housemates and I tried a little with the whole fitness thing- running miles around the local park before refueling on carbs- roughly translated as ‘slowly jogging about half a mile before eating a load pizza and then hitting the town.’ Post uni I became more of the classic cardio bunny. I joined a gym and did endless amounts of cross trainer and treadmill, while lifting more than 4kg dumbbells.

So yeah, I haven’t always been a fitness keeno, and I have learnt A LOT about training in the last few years (and am excited to learn a while load more.) If you are new to the gym, or considering joining a gym, do not be nervous!  I have spoken to a lot of gym members recently who say they feel a bit intimidated by the gym, they don’t know what to do and fear looking silly, the weights section scares them (mainly a comment from women), and they worry they won’t be able to keep up during the classes.  I’ve felt like this but you can over come it, and actually start to enjoy your training.

  • EVERYONE IS NEW TO SOMETHING- It can be a different thing for different people but everyone will be new to something.  It could be weight training, it could be fishing, it could be baking (my eclectic selection!). If you are new, your are not expected to now everything, or anything, so don’t feel like you should. When I started weight training I didn’t know you added the 20kg weight of the bar to what you lift, embarrassing to admit but how would I know that?!
  • EVERYONE HAS TO START SOMEWHERE- When I started squatting I was far too scared to even look at the squat rack.  I began with the smaller fixed weight barbells, chucking it over my head and on my back to squat. Initially it was just 10kg, then gradually I managed to increase it.  That was about 2013 I guess, I can now back squat 100kg.
  • ASK FOR HELP– If you’re really not sure what the hell you’re doing, ask someone! It genuinely makes me happy when a gym member asks me something as opposed to trying to go it alone with no idea what they’re doing.  I remember sitting at an unknown resistance machine many many years ago, doing a few reps and thinking it felt weird so I went to another. The i saw someone else use the machine I’d just left, I’d been sitting on it backwards! The PTs in your gym should want to help you.  If you want to learn things, ask them! Or ask me via email or social media.  I will always try and help if I can.
  • FOCUS ON YOU– It doesn’t matter what the guy is curling, or what the girl is doing on the smith machine.  What matters is your training.  Everyone has different likes and dislikes, they also have different goals and abilities. Your training should be specific to you, no one else.
  • DO WHAT YOU ENJOY– To a certain degree I guess there are parts of our training that we won’t ‘enjoy’ (squat jump finisher!) but you should enjoy the majority of your training.  If you hate running, don’t run.  If you hate resistance machines, don’t use them. Adapt things to suit you.
  • PUSH YOURSELF– Having said the above, in contrast it is good to push yourself, and by this I mean get out of your comfort zone.  Try that new class you thought looked fun, you never know, you may actually like it
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