Chubby Girl's Survival Guide to the Gym

Okay, maybe I should say “gym inept’s” survival guide, I am after all more so cuddly than I am chubby. My point is that I am not one of those fit bits who can walk into a gym and know where everything is, how everything works, and look good working out. I am the red-faced frazzled girl trying to understand how the Cybex arc trainer is any different from a regular elliptical. gym-confusion If you are likewise gym-timidated, here are some helpful tips, some of which I learned the hard way. 1. Get a gym buddy. It is not only about a million times easier to motivate yourself to work out if you have someone to go with, but a gym buddy will make you feel less awkward and alone when actually in a gym. gymbuddy 2. Machines vs. free weights. (at least to start) Free weights are great, but if you’re new to working out I would stick with the machines which are pretty easy to figure out. Even if you’re a free weight pro, but you’re new to the gym, you might avoid some man-splaining, which is one of my biggest pet peeves. gymtimidated 3. Read all the signs. Knowing, which changeroom is the women’s and the men’s is pretty important, but you can also find out some fun stuff about the gym; services they offer, class schedules, etc. This also ties in to the tip above; usually there will be a pretty basic set of instruction on the side of each machine. Pro tip: pretend to be taking a long sip of water while reading and figuring out where the hell you’re supposed to put your feet. 4. Join a gym. By this I mean that if you really need that extra push in your fitness routine, and you’re serious about joining the gym, then find a gym you actually like and bite the bullet and join. I went through a phase of gym-hopping, doing all of the free trials at the gyms around me, and it’s just not as effective. After finding a gym a really liked I decided to join in the new year and I’ve been the healthiest I’ve been in a long time. g-hlt-010313-gym-441p.grid-6x2 5. Try something new every once in a while. I know it’s tempting to stick to the treadmill because it’s simple and you know how it works, but you’re really limiting yourself. I’m not saying to go crazy and try every piece of equipment in the gym at once, but step outside your comfort zone and tack on 10 minutes on a machine you haven’t used before to the end of your workout. You might just find a new favourite. 6. Get a good playlist. I cannot stress how amazing it is to just pop in your earbuds, get in the zone, and sweat. It’s a great way to distract yourself from fit bits and muscle men, who may or may not be laughing at your ineptitude (they most certainly aren’t, but who doesn’t get paranoid and self-conscious every now and again?). Here’s my current favourite playlist from fellow bodyrocker Jack Ewing. Lucky for those who are irrevocably gym-shy, daily hiit workouts can be done from the safety of your home!

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