Although I train out of Leicester Kickboxing gym, for the sake of convenience, I do some conditioning and cardio work at a more commercial and budget gym based in the city center of Leicester. I despise this gym but for the fact that it is so cheap and the free parking practically saves me my gym membership as well as it’s a great way for my wife and I to do a gym swap whilst having our 3 year old daughter distracted/occupied with the neighbouring shopping mall and all the toy shops she can visit in a 2 hour span, I go.
The trouble I find with budget, commercial gyms, is that most people go for the sake of going to the gym. I see it all the time. It’s mostly the young, hip guys and girls who probably go to the gym thinking they are having a workout but really, they’re tapping away on their mobile phones or chatting to their friend/”training” partner whilst on a piece of equipment. They float around from station to station, going through the motions and not really knowing what they’re doing but it’s okay, they’ve spent an hour training at the gym and they can go home proud knowing this fact as well has have the honour of letting their whole circle know about it by posting on facebook or tweeting the fact that they’ve just been to the gym.
Last night was no exception. I had just finished my High Intensity Tabata circuit (it is seriously not for the feint hearted, in fact, the personal trainers at the gym tell me I’m insane!) and I wanted to work my legs a bit to get some blood flowing there. I noticed a chap on the calf raise machine tapping away on his phone. He must have been sat there for a good 7 minutes not actually using the station so I approached this guy and asked him how long he’d be. “another 3-4 minutes” was his reply. I was completely gobsmacked to the point I asked him politely yet sternly, “is that 3-4 minutes of working out or texting on your phone” (Yeah, I can imagine there is no real way of politely saying that)
I then asked this dude if I could work in with him. He had no clue what that meant so I explained that it meant he do a set and then I do a set whilst he rest and he agreed and I let him do his set first. I then witnessed a guy who had absolutely no clue how to use the calf raise machine, instead doing some sort of weird incline leg press. When he was finished, I asked him if he’d like me to show him how to use the machine properly and what function it served (at this point, I promise I was very polite because I started feeling sorry for this guy). I showed him how it was to be used and he had a go. He actually felt his muscles working and said “wow, this is hard”. Anyway, his 3-4 minutes became just one set now and I finished my workout in peace.
We have a word for these people here in the UK, we call them numpties. Now, i’m not too certain on the etymology of the word or what it means exactly but I’m pretty sure it’s someone who hasn’t got a clue, and in my book, gym numpties are not cool, and believe me I have seen my fair share of them at commercial gyms from guys that read newspapers in between Reps (that’s right, I said Reps, not sets!) to guys that flex and check their muscles between sets as if they’re going to magically grow!
So, to avoid being a gym numpty (it’s okay if you are one now because that’s about to change) I would like to share the following advice:
1. Have a plan. You know what they say, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. This couldn’t be more true in the gym too. Know exactly why you’re going to the gym that day and what you’re going to be working on. You may even like to plan out the exercises out on paper before you go and take it in with you!
2. If you’re not sure, Ask. If you’re not sure how a particular exercise or piece of equipment is used, do not be afraid to ask. A caveat to this advice though is to ask someone who really knows what they’re talking about because there are a lot of “know it alls” who know all about nothing at gyms. Ask a member of staff or a personal trainer working at a gym (believe me, they’ll be more than happy to help)
3. Leave the distractions in the locker. If you’re going to text, leave your phone in the locker room. The only reason you should need it would be to listen to music or update your fitness app or make EMERGENCY calls.
4. Quality over quantity. Don’t think you’ve had a good session because you have spent ages in the gym. the quality of your workouts is far more important than how long you’ve spent working out (Unless of course endurance is your key goal but then that would be linked to quality)
5. Hire an expert. You could always hire someone to help you… ahem… that would be me You can always feel free to get in touch with me and I will save you from falling foul of becoming a gym numpty and together, we can rule the fitness world! (Or at least help you attain your fitness goals in the shortest time and safest manner). You can email me or get in touch via my website, facebook or twitter. I am here to help you
So, until next time, Have a safe and healthy day!