Return to site


· Fitness,healthy lifestyle

Hello everybody and happy Monday! 

It is the new year and this usually means a lot of new comers to the gym ready to make a change and to that, I dedicate this blog to you! Those of you who are ready to embark on a new journey, improve your technique or agility, this weeks blog is here to help you feel good in yourself knowing that you have worked hard and achieved something. Below are my top 5 tips to feeling this way and achieving an effective workout and the bottom 5 tips are how to recognise that your body feels it too by achieving correct form.

1. If you are new to the gym and all of the resistance machines and dumbbells are completely alien to you then ask an instructor to show you around. They usually do this during an induction anyway but if you have not had one, book one. They are super useful to show you around the gym and get a feel for the machines and where everything is so you feel less nervous and incapable the next time.

However if you prefer to explore for yourself or maybe to shy to ask for help then use the resistance machines for the first couple of sessions until you feel comfortable. They should have a small picture diagram of which muscle groups will be your prime movers for the exercise and they offer support unlike free weights. Getting the practice in on the machines will boost your confidence when you start working out with free weights as you may have more of an idea about what to do now.

2. In order to achieve an effective workout you need to establish your goals. Note that if you go to the gym and have a sort of 'mess around' on a bit of everything at low impact with long rest breaks, you are effectively doing nothing beneficial to your body. 

Establishing goals before going to the gym saves time when you are there and gives you the opportunity to think and plan your workout ahead of getting there. For example if your goal is to lose weight you would focus on cardio such as high intensity interval sprints on the treadmill or bike or long duration hill climb. By actively working towards your goals you are more likely to feel better in yourself afterwards.

3. Take photos of your workout and log what you have done. By taking photos you are more likely to continue working out as you will start seeing results and by logging what exercises you have done, you will know you need to mix it up during your next session or push yourself to go a little longer or faster so your body continues to find new limits.

4. Zone out!! My workouts are my time for ME. They are my break from revision, my stress relief, my time to unwind, my medicine and my motivation. Whatever your reason for going to the gym, it is all about you and your journey so plug in some headphones, power your workout and feel good in yourself for doing so. Leave your phone in your locker and take some time out from the world. I never used to take my phone into the gym and I would just have my iPod but after sadly losing it, my phone now stores my workouts because I write myself so many variations and I just listen to the music in the gym until my phone gets upgraded.

5. If you seriously lack the motivation to go to the gym, get yourself a workout buddy. It doesn't work for everyone but it is definitely worth a try. I am a mixture of both. I love to workout by myself and get it done, particularly if I just want to pump my workout and have minimal rest to push myself. However sometimes I also like having a friend to work out with as I am a competitive person, I always find having people around watching me makes me push myself even further. 

If you have a workout buddy, set challenges such as, whoever finishes the circuit last has to do 10 burps or a paired workout where you are using each others body weight to perform an exercise together. Working out with someone can also be less daunting if you are new to the gym and more fun and enjoyable for you.

6. So moving on to form, the simplicity of it is that without it, you are doing nothing beneficial to your body. Therefore when performing an exercise you need to consider the muscle group being used, the prime mover and the antagonist. All I mean here is what is the main muscle you are using during your concentric contraction which is the heavy lifting part of a movement and the opposite muscle used during the eccentric contraction which is the lowering phase of a movement. If this still doesn't make sense then consider a bicep curl, the bicep is the prime mover during the lifting aspect of the movement and the tricep is the antagonist which you should feel in the lowering part of the movement. 

You know you are performing a movement correctly when you can feel it. It is as simple as that. If you cannot feel it, consider the weight you are using, whether it is too light or too heavy, change it so you can perform the exercise right. Remember that lifting heavy will not get you where you want to be any quicker if you are sacrificing your form.

7. When performing an exercise do not just consider the muscle being used but in fact your entire body positioning. When bent over to perform something like tricep kickbacks as shown below, keep your head in line with your spine to avoid straining your neck or altering your spinal position. If the positioning of your spine changes, so does the impact of your exercise.

8. It may be useful to watch yourself in a mirror, as well as feeling the muscles contracting and relaxing, it may help you to also see it. Watching yourself in a mirror also helps for keeping your head up for example in a squat and seated exercises on a bench such as a shoulder press. Being able to physically see your muscles working may help you to understand the exercise and what it is doing.

9. Muscle memory is the best way to achieve correct form as it is all about learning through repetition of the movement and practice makes perfect! Try focusing on hitting the same spot every rep during your set. You will soon become familiar with where this point is for you and failure to hit this point during a set means you either need to reduce the weight for a drop set or consider the weight you are using altogether if the entire set it too difficult. 

10. Lastly it is important to consider your rest breaks to allow yourself a moment of recovery before continuing with another set. Without an appropriate rest break between exercises and sets your body will be quick to fatigue and tire and you will find it more difficult to continue for longer. I personally do not time my rest breaks, I just listen to my body. After a set of heavy weight activity such as deadlifts or squats where I am heavy breathing, I rest to allow myself water and for my breathing to get back to normal and then I mentally prepare myself for the next set. This works for me although others prefer to have an exact time they are allowed as this helps to maintain focus and structure. Which ever method works for you is fine, everyone is different. 

Exercise is so important and there is so much to learn that some people may not have time for. This blog is therefore a quick guide on basic things to make sure your workout is right for you and reduces your risk of injury.


Until next time,


J x

Exercise is so important and there is so much to learn that some people may not have time for. This blog is therefore a quick guide on basic things to make sure your workout is right for you and reduces your risk of injury.

Until next time,

J x

All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly