Hey you, with the sparkly new leggings…
So, this post was intended to go out in the thick of New Year, New Me season, but I ran out time. I still wanted to share though as the subject was something I was thinking about a lot as I was overhearing huffs and puffs about new members at my sports club – you know the sort, “Uh January, gym’s full of newbies, but no worries they’ll have stopped coming by February.” (Insert eyeroll here from me).
I’m so against body shaming as a ‘motivator’ to get people into doing exercise or activity. But I also want to make it very clear that I’m also not against finding activity and movement that you enjoy and makes you feel good! And I know that this time of year is a time when a lot of people decide to try something new.
But I also know that joining a gym or a new class can be intimidating or daunting – from maybe having to go on your own or not knowing how to use some of the equipment to also not being 100% sure about what you need to wear.
But we got you! I’ve roped my sister in to help me write this short post sharing some tips for finding forms of movement that you enjoy. Issy is a Level 3 qualified personal trainer and is just about to go back for her final term studying geography at Aberystwyth University.
Whilst Issy’s jam is strength training with a spot of running thrown in, I’ve reignited my love of swimming + have been popping along to the odd yoga class for the past few months. The point we’re trying to make here is that there’s no better or worse forms of movement – we want to help you figure out what you enjoy + what’s accessible to you.
I also want to say that this is not a post where we pressure you into joining a sports club or anything like that. Think of it more as reassurance that it’s OK to be nervous about trying something new, or to feel silly the first time you try a downward dog. And also, we’re gonna cover some of the basics for kit you might need for starting out with a couple of different activities that we know about – because no one wants to spend a bomb on unnecessary gear!
Tips for trying something new:
- Try out different classes with different teachers. When I first started going to yoga classes, it took me a while to realise that every teacher/instructor will bring a slightly different style and overall atmosphere to the class – and this will be the same for many other types of classes. Try not to let one teacher or experience put you off + don’t be scared to try out a few of the other teacher’s classes – it’s natural for you to prefer certain people’s style over another.
- Try not to set overly ambitious goals. Think about what is achievable for you to try – maybe don’t sign up to a daily circuits class straight away (remember that we actually need rest days in the first place!) – think about what will be achievable for you to help you stick at it. Also think about what you will actually enjoy doing – gone are the days when I would drag myself out of bed to go to a gym class first thing in the morning – my schedule has changed, but also, I hate hate hate getting out of bed when it’s dark and freezing. I know that that’s some people’s jam, and that’s cool! But it’s not mine. So, take some time to figure out what will work for you.
- Issy also recommended trying out a circuits class and/or booking in for a gym induction if you’re joining a gym. Both will make sure that you are shown how to use some of the equipment safely, but also how to do a few different exercises which can help if you want to go solo in the gym or branch out to various different classes.
- Don’t be scared to make it clear to gym instructors or trainers what you’re there for – tell them if you want to improve your stamina, or gain strength, or improve your posture. Also don’t be scared to tell them that you’re not there to lose weight or change your appearance and that you don’t want to be measured or weighed. Hopefully they’ll take this on board, and if they don’t, they’re probably not the PT for you.
- If you fancy starting walking or running a bit more, Park Run is a great place to start – not only is it free, but you can walk or run with dogs, pushchairs etc. And you can do it entirely your own pace + never be last – there are sweepers at the end of the race coming in behind you.
This isn’t an extensive list + we haven’t made any recommendations as we’ve all got different body shape, sizes, preferences, budgets. But I know that when I started yoga, one of my concerns was about what I needed to wear.
For gym workouts/general exercise classes:
- Comfortable trainers
- Sports bra
- Leggings that don’t slip down – Issy recommended trying on a few different styles and brands. They don’t need to be expensive but she recommended getting some that fit well and don’t ride down when you move. Maybe try a few on and do a couple of practice squats or lunges in them before committing!
- Comfy/stretchy leggings
- Yoga/sports bra
- Top – I prefer a closer fitting top for yoga so that it doesn’t fall over my head when I’m doing downward dog etc., but this is a personal preference.
Most studios should have yoga mats and blocks for you to use but it’s a good idea to check when you book.
- Swimming costume with higher front
- Closer fitting trunks (not beach shorts – a recommendation from my brother. Apparently when swimming lengths, beach shorts may slip down)
- Swimming hat if you have long hair/fringe
And with all, don’t forget to hydrate and fuel baby! An objective way to check that you’re drinking enough is to check the colour of your pee – if it’s a light straw colour – you’re good. If it’s dark yellow, then you need to drink up!
Making sure you’re eating enough is really important when you’re engaging in physical activity. I usually take a snack with me in my bag as I have to walk home after swimming or my yoga class and hangry Jess is not fun!
We hope these tips are somewhat helpful. Please share any of your tips in the comments below or on Instagram.
For more on movement + activity check out: