The gym can be a scary place for people who have taken a break from their fitness journey, especially in this current climate. Whilst chain gyms have made fitness more accessible, the rows of treadmills and exercisers with headphones in their ears and a don’t talk to me facial expression on them, can make them a fairly intimidating place to be.
Environment plays a big role on your results in the gym, if you don’t feel comfortable in the space you may find yourself sticking to exercises that are familiar and feel safe. In a chain gym, for example, you might start the program you were provided with at your induction and stick to these exercises every time you visit. Six months down the line if you are still following that program, still doing the same exercises, the same reps and sets, on the same machine you may start to plateau.
When you plateau, what once brought progress in the beginning, no longer challenges the body and your progress can come to a standstill. This is where we see the true importance of change. Constantly changing your stimulus, can be the linchpin in improving the results you see in the mirror and that you feel within your own body.
When training there are so many aspects that can work to improve your fitness, and focusing on one, means you could lose out on the benefits of the others. Rob Macdonald of Gym Jones in Salt Lake City compares improving your fitness to knobs on a soundboard, and for instance, turning up the cardio knob means your missing out on strength and muscle building which if interested in fat loss, is key to increasing your metabolism.
Setting yourself challenges to work towards allows you to train with a purpose. For instance, completing a 500m row in sub 2 mins, or pulling a Deadlift with the same weight on the bar as your bodyweight, or completing 100 Burpees in sub 5 mins. Whatever the challenge, it should never be easily achieved, that way you have a bigger drive, and once you do achieve your challenge it will spur you on to newer goals for yourself.
To get the best out of your time in the gym try to incorporate a variety of weight training, cardiovascular conditioning, Circuits, High-intensity Training and low-intensity Cardio work. Combine these with good recovery techniques and you should be able to keep the dreaded plateau at bay.
As we mentioned above, the biggest factor when completing your gym sessions will always come down to the environment you train in. Training together with like-minded people spurs you on to greater results both in the gym and in every aspect of your life. I have trained people one on one and in small group and large groups and the group training always delivers increased results. Having taught spin classes for the better part of 8 years there is something inherently magical about a group of people all training together and sharing the pain. They push harder than they would if training alone and they spur each other on even if they are complete strangers.
This is the key element that we incorporate at our gym Everyday Athlete in the heart of Glasgow whether it's in our (currently reduced and socially distanced) conditioning classes that we are known for, or our open gym sessions, we always have an experienced coach to cheer you on, so you never feel alone, and we work to ensure no movement is too intimidating.
One question to ask yourself is, is the environment I train at setting me up for success? If the answer is no, and you constantly turn up to the gym and do the same routine and are left to your own devices, it's definitely time for a change. Don’t fall into the trap of doing the same thing day after day and still expecting different results. Instead, take action and challenge yourself in new ways.
Instead of training alone why not ask a friend to join you on your sessions. Try a class you have never done before. If you constantly work on the CV Machines why not try your hand at strength training or circuits to bust through that plateau.
Ultimately your time is precious and needs to be spent efficiently getting the most amount of results for your training efforts. To spur you on to new challenges why not grab a couple of friends and try the challenge below.
5 mins CV @ light Pace
Set up a clock for 20 mins and complete as many rounds of the following as you can within the 20 min time frame:
Complete 10 reps of each exercise below to complete 1 round -
Squats (bodyweight or weighted)
Pushups Box Jumps (choose a height of box you can jump but is challenging)
Inverted Row (using TRX or Suspension straps)
Lunges (per Leg)
Take recovery when needed but aim to get as many rounds as possible within the 20 mins.
Record the no. of rounds you and your friends complete and over the course of 4 weeks aim to repeat this session and increase the no. of rounds achieved.
Rest 5 Mins before completing the cardiovascular finisher below.
Complete a 500m row for time.
Set up the rower to a 500m distance, then row this as fast as you feel you can, once complete record the time taken and again each week you complete this finisher aim to decrease the time taken to row 500m.
If you would like help breaking through your own training plateau or with any aspect of your fitness goals why not get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or check our page on training at EDA Glasgow, here.