I have spent many hours in shared gyms, so I know there are plenty of things to be mindful of. Gyms are full of heavy equipment and weights, so they can be a dangerous place, especially if you’re not really paying attention! These are a few things to look out for next time you head to the gym:

1. Getting your form right when using the weight machines

Improper form can lead to an injury, which can not only set your progress back, but in some cases it can be very painful. You girls probably already know that I am a stickler for correct form, but I want to talk here specifically about correct form for weight training.

Weight machines can be helpful for getting your technique right, so long as you are using them correctly! They can be a bit confusing, with cables, handles and bars everywhere. If you’re not sure how to use one, ask for advice. There is usually a staff member in the gym who can help you or you could ask someone who is working out nearby.

2. Going too hard before you are ready

I know lots of girls use the treadmill for their HIIT workouts. Getting the hang of sprinting on a treadmill can take a little practice, especially when you start switching from a full-on sprint to a walk (or a rest period). You need to be comfortable with stabilising yourself after sprinting.

3. Accidentally hogging the gym equipment

Most gyms have busy times of day, which means it’s likely you will need to share equipment with someone. I’ve been in some gyms that have maximum usage times during peak periods (a 20-minute limit on the rowing machine or bikes), after which you have to move on to something else.

If you’re using a piece of equipment and there are people waiting, don’t start scrolling through your Instagram feed or catching up on your emails. You will not make friends. The same goes for weight plates. Once you’re done using them, pop them back in the racks. If you’re not sure whether someone has finished using a piece of equipment, ASK before taking. It’s good manners, after all.

While it’s nice to catch up with your friend at the gym and to have a bit of fun, just be mindful that other people are there to workout too. Goofing around with your friends might seem like harmless fun, but try not to disrupt other people. You wouldn’t want to cause someone an injury.

I’m pretty sure most girls could name a number of things about their gym that they find annoying. The main thing to remember is not to let those annoyances put you off getting to the gym in the first place! Keep an eye out for these three things and your gym visits might become much more enjoyable.

Love, Vanessa

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