Going to the gym to lose weight
Going to the gym to lose weight
Joining the gym to lose weight is the main reason people sign up. But once you're in the gym, where do you start?
Here are our tips for losing weight in the gym.
- Start small
- Make wiser food choices
- Combine cardio and resistance training
- Book a gym induction
- Ask for help
- Find something you enjoy
Start with small goals
If you try to do everything all at once, you can burn out or injure yourself. Both of which mean you might end up quitting the gym.
It's better to set yourself small, achievable goals. We talk about setting SMART goals in a previous post.
Your goal will depend entirely on your experience and ability, so make sure it's realistic. It's probably not wise to copy someone else.
Here are a few goal setting ideas to get you started.
- Pack your gym bag the night before
- Join a class once a week
- Aim for 30 minutes each gym session
- Practice squat technique every Monday evening for 10 minutes
- Try a beginner's strength workout
Make wiser food choices
Working out and eating poorly won't get you very far. To lose weight, you'll need to balance exercise with a healthy diet.
You can eat a reasonably high-calorie diet as long as you burn off more calories than you consume. This is called a calorie deficit.
What is a calorie deficit?
You have a calorie deficit when you burn more calories than you consume.
Consuming too many calories can stop you from losing weight. But consuming too few calories can reduce your metabolism and muscle mass.
When you create a calorie deficit, your body gets energy from stored fat. Stored fat is stored energy. So, when you exercise, your body can use stored fat instead of using energy from food. And when your body burns stored fat, you lose weight.
Combine cardio and resistance training
Balance your cardio workout with resistance training. Don't be afraid to use weights, free weights and resistance training are useful if you want to lose weight. In a recent study, we found 64% of gym-goers don't know what weights to use.
How much weight should you lift?
How much weight you should lift is a process of trial and error, but you must learn the basics. Practice your form with light weights until you have the right technique.
Grunting, breaking form and dropping weights are all signs that your weights are too heavy.
If your current weight is not challenging enough, use the next one up. It's important to keep challenging yourself (without overdoing it).
How to use free weights to lose weight
- Try supersets. A superset is one move followed by another with little to no rest.
- Reduce weight. Lowering the amount of weight and increasing reps will help you to burn fat.
- Don't overdo it. Keep sessions to 45 minutes maximum. High intensity is better than being in the gym for hours.
Book a gym induction
50% of us think visiting the gym is scary.
During a gym induction, a Personal Trainer (PT) will show you around the gym and equipment. Gym inductions have a reputation for being a tick box exercise, but they're crucial.
Most machines will have instructions, but it's worth going over the equipment with a qualified PT. PT's can check your form too so you can avoid injuring yourself.
Ask for help
If your goal is to lose weight, you'll find countless exercises, diet plans and advice from fitness gurus. Relying on the internet to find answers is one way, but there are PTs available in the gym who will happily answer your questions.
No question is too simple or silly. If you have a question about setting up the equipment, how to perform an exercise or you need someone to check your form, ask a PT for help.
Find exercises you enjoy
For the best results, focus on exercises you enjoy.
If you find working out a chore, you'll make excuses and eventually quit the gym.
To keep yourself motivated, try out a range of exercises to get a feel for what you like. Follow our workout videos for inspiration.
Nearly half of the females we spoke to (45%) said they would be nervous in the gym if other gym-goers were fitter than them (29% of men felt the same way).
Other people in the gym are busy concentrating on their workout. So, enjoy yourself.
It's handy to make a workout playlist with your favourite motivational tracks. Plug in, tune out everyone else and get started!