In recent months, the gym has quickly become one of my favourite places. I find that going to the gym makes me feel better about my health and my body image and also makes me a lot more aware of what I’m putting into my body. I also just love the feeling of finishing that final rep when squatting or doing a lunge and feeling like your legs are going to give way. When you get to the end of your workout and realise how much you’ve achieved it makes you motivated to go back and see how far you can push yourself the next time.
I’ll always do 30 minutes of cardio, whether that’s on one machine or a mixture of different ones. Sometimes I do twenty five on the cross trainer and five on the rowing machine. Recently, I’ve been absolutely loving the step machine; so at the moment I’ve been doing twenty minutes on the cross trainer and ten on the step machine on about level 5. I always have a playlist downloaded on my phone that I listen to on shuffle to help me get through. Currently, the top songs I’ve been listening to are:
Charli XCX – Boys
Martin Solveig, Ina Wroldsen – Places
Cash Cash, Conor Maynard, Sagan – All My Love
Halsey – Now or Never
Camila Cabello – Havana
Felix Jaehn, Hitimpulse – Cut The Cord
Dua Lipa – New Rules
The Chainsmokers – Roses
David Guetta, Justin Bieber – 2U
Louisa Johnson – Best Behaviour
Drake – KMT
Ella Vos, R3HAB – White Noise
I like to listen to a mixture of different tempos so that I can ease myself into my workout. If a song starts out and it’s too upbeat then I end up feeling really sluggish when I’m only about five minutes into my workout and I then don’t get the most out of my exercise. I’ve also found that when it comes to cardio, trying to go the fastest you can on the cross trainer or treadmill isn’t always the best way to burn calories. Sometimes I’m in a really energetic mood and can go quite fast on the cross trainer, which is great. However, I burn more calories by going at a pace that I can actually maintain for the whole twenty minutes. It’s definitely not slow as I do like to push myself, but it’s also not as fast as I could be going. This is what works for my body but it might be worth bearing in mind for yourself too.
I watch a lot of fitness videos on YouTube so I always go over to the mats after my cardio to do some floor exercises with my weights. As my gym doesn’t have many of the machines I like using, I have to think of a lot of exercises myself. For the first month or so of going, this was fine. I’d do two sets of 10 of 15kg squats with the bar, followed by 10 reps of squat pulses and a 20 second squat hold. I’d do some lunges. I’d do 30 sit ups and 30 Russian twists using a weighted ball and then I’d do a 30 second plank. But then I got bored.
I got told about an app by a colleague at work called the 30 day fitness challenge. Now I don’t use this as an actual 30 day fitness challenge because I think those kinds of things are just a little bit silly. What happens after the 30 days? Do you just pat yourself on the back and say well done? I don’t know. But I use the app because it gives me different exercises and different repetitions to do and it times it all for me. Each day gets harder and there are some rest days, but it has allowed me to introduce some exercises into my routine that I never would have thought of doing. Fire hydrants, donkey kicks, jump squats etc. The app also has little demonstrations of the exercise and really easy to follow instructions on how to do them. And best of all, it’s free!
So if you need some playlist inspiration or you want some more exercises to do at the gym, then there you go!
With the weather changing and the sky getting darker, it can be difficult to find the motivation to go to the gym. I’ve found that taking my gym gear to work and then going straight from work to the gym just doesn’t work for me anymore. I get to the gym feeling sluggish in all my work clothes as if I’m carrying the whole day with me. It’s much easier for me to go if I just go home and get changed first. I then walk to the gym which acts as a little warm up for me and by the time I’m there, I feel more energised and ready to go. I’ve also found that going after work when I finish at 6 o’clock isn’t always the best option for me as the gym is always so busy and I can never get on any of the machines I like. I much prefer going on the days when I finish slightly earlier or the days I have off, when the gym is emptier and has just been cleaned. It’s also quite nice going before work when I start just a little bit later as it makes me feel more awake for the day ahead.
With the gym I think it’s just important to find what works for you. The gym doesn’t have to be a place of dread. Trust me, I still love a chocolate bar, a double cheeseburger, a can of coke. Just because I go to the gym doesn’t mean I’m suddenly saying no! If you only go twice a week that’s better than nothing, so don’t bother listening to the people that tell you it’s not worth the money. Unless your membership costs something ridiculous like £90 a month, of course. And also, do the exercises that work for you. Just because the guy next to you is doing a two minute plank, doesn’t mean that’s what you need to be doing. You just need to make sure you feel the burn as you walk out and if you do, then you’ve done a fabulous job!