By Reem Abdulrahman Jassim al-Muftah
Last week we talked about how someone could start going to the gym and how to go about it, this week let’s take it a bit further and discuss the gym environment.
So firstly, should you do anything specific before your workout? For example, many gym goers take pre-workout energy drinks, protein shakes or coffee before they hit the gym. We are continuously bombarded with these product advertisements and see them in shops and on menus everywhere now, but is it for you? I would hold off on starting with any workout supplements and think of it at a later time when you are more comfortable with the idea and understand if you truly need any or not. If you do have any questions though, please feel free to reach out to me on my account and I will try to help support you in your research and decision-making. We are consumers in a profit focused world and should be cautious of the trends that might encourage taking or doing more than what is necessary and possibly harmful to your health. Most importantly, make sure to not eat within an hour before you plan on heading to the gym as it might make you feel nauseous. Just make sure to have eaten a couple of hours before and to be well hydrated for your session ahead. It is crucial that you eat a high-carb meal to have a good source of energy to burn as you get busy in the gym, so if one of your goals is to be healthy, please do not fall victim to the ‘no-carb’ trend and remind yourself that carbs are necessary in a healthy and well balanced diet, specifically if you’re active. If you are still adamant about incorporating some type of pre-workout, maybe start with one serving of sugar-free coffee (I suggest adding non-dairy milk to decrease the chance of any acidity on an empty stomach) or MUSIC. These are two easy, simple and uncomplicated forms of pre-workout that you can directly incorporate into your programme without having to worry your mind about the technicalities.
Since music is such a big part of my fitness lifestyle, I have to emphasise its powers. When it comes to music, I do not know how well-disciplined I would be with out it. Music helps me get the pre-workout vibes going, it helps me focus in the gym and prevent any distractions, it helps reduce people conversing with me and provides me with an unseen barrier that keeps me in my zone. I definitely recommend finding the music that gets you going and trying it out before, during and after the gym. Go for ‘pump up’ music then energetic vibes in the gym and relaxing music as you wind down to a cool down and stretch.
So, when you get to the gym, play that music and start getting comfortable with your environment. Walk around and make sure you understand the layout; look out for the cardio machines, where the weight machines are, the location of the free weights and other equipment and if there is an aerobics or fitness room or a cool down area for stretching. Look at all the gym signs and all the notices that may describe the gym guidelines and other useful information. To take it a step further, check out the weight lifting machine infographics that identify the suggested exercises and the engaged muscles to help you understand the benefits of each.
In next week’s article, I will discuss the final part to planning your first workout in the gym and how to be mindful of your body and your goals, but for now, I leave you with a few general tips on the customary behaviour of most gyms…
Reem’s gym etiquette guidelines:
1- Wash your hands before you touch the equipment and definitely after.
2- Be mindful of your body odour.
3- Wipe down the machines if you left sweat marks.
4- Return the equipment to its original place.
5- Respect the equipment and prevent any damage.
6- Practice general safety for yourself and especially around others.
7- Share machines when possible and don’t take too long on any one machine/equipment.
8- Respect others’ privacy and do not engage if not invited to.
9- Do not be too loud.
10- Do not have your music blasting so that others can hear it.
11- Do not stare at others.
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