Happy new year! Maybe you are thinking of joining the gym for that new years resolution, whether it be for shedding weight, adding muscle or just to getting healthier! Just make sure it for yourself and no one else, it’s up to you to keep yourself motivated and accountable.
I’m here to shed some light on things that will help you in your health kick. I’m going to cover topics including finding gym, what to wear when working out, and what to eat.
Gym clothes have come a long way and they are more stylish than ever! Here a few things to keep in mind while shopping for new gear.
Wear a breathable, flexible shirt
A cotton t-shirt or tank will suffice for most men but I find that it gets covered in sweat quickly and it weighs on you and ultimately you’ll be the guy that covers every piece of equipment with your sweat! Let’s leave that for the bedroom and not the gym floor! Cotton shirts tend to smell after a few wears and washes too, and that’s not a good thing! Most men can’t smell their own gym musk but everyone around them can!
I go with shirts that are made from a breathable, sweat-wicking polyester. Pick something that will absorb sweat and that won’t restrict your range of motion.
Hitting the gym hard recently? A tank-top will to show off your arms and the t-shirt can be a slightly more modest choice. If you get cold easily, then get a long sleeve shirt (some even come with hoods!)
Wear shorts or sweatpants, but no jeans
Make sure that your bottoms give you a full range of motion. Be conscious of how much you will sweat during your workout, and think about how hot you might get.
- Try not to wear shorts that extend more than an inch below your knees – especially if they are loose around the legs. The lower your shorts, the shorter your range of motion.
- If you decide to wear shorts, be aware that other people may be able to see up the leg of your shorts when you’re using machines like the leg press – unless that’s what you’re going for!
- Compression pants are awesome but they can be revealing… but if you got it flaunt it! If you like wearing compression pants but find them too revealing, then wear them under sweats or track pants! Please don’t wear compression pant with shorts, it looks awful and it’s not cute!
- Don’t wear jeans to the gym… it bears repeating! Metal rivets tend to rip the material on the bench
Shoes, Shoes, Shoes
Proper footwear for the gym is key for a successful workout! Wether you’re going to be doing cardio, taking classes or just hitting the weight room, proper footwear will help you reach your goals and protect you from gym hazards.
I usually recommend running shoes. They can be found in pretty much any department store. If you are having issues with finding shoes that work with you and not against you, I recently found out while Christmas shopping with my partner that the New Balance stores do a professional fit analysis where they measure every aspect of your foot, and find you the right size and width. They’ll even analyze your gait to determine what level of support and motion control you need, and who says size doesn’t matter?!
When you’re out buying footwear, tell the salesman the types of activities you’ll be doing and let them point you in the right direction.
Never ever wear sandals to the gym – unless you want to lose some toes!
Your body needs fuel!
Protein is your friend and if you want to be the next Incredible Hulk, you’re going to need to grab some. Unfortunately not all protein is made equal and the Consumer Report does a really good job pointing out the bad ones. Protein makes you feel fuller faster and prevents spikes in blood sugar levels. It’s a sure way to keep the heart beat steady and the body in balance.
Since moving to New York City my partner has introduced me to a great store called The Protein Bakery in the heart of Chelsea. The owner, Stephen Lincoln, has created his own unique muscle-building whey protein concentrate, which is great tasting and a huge component in all of their baked goods.
All their recipes are all trans-fat free, gluten-free, preservative-free, wheat flour-free, and fiber-rich. They combine natural ingredients like heart-healthy rolled oats, light brown sugar, and the finest chocolate. Then add in gourmet accents like swirls of rich peanut butter, toasted walnuts, sun-sweetened coconut, and tangy cranberries.
They prepare small batches from scratch every day in a certified KOF-K Kosher kitchen! If you’re ever in New York City, make a stop in there and tell Stephen I sent you, you won’t be disappointed!
Don’t you worry though, you don’t have to reside in New York City to benefit from these wonderful, healthy delights, they also ship within the Continental US from their website. Visit proteinbakery.com to shop the full range.
Finding the right gym
More people join gyms in January than in any other month. But not all of them will stick around. So if you’re going to sign up for one, wait until February when you can actually see how the gym looks when is back to normal operating status.
You need to find a gym you like, and more importantly, one where you feel comfortable.
From the moment you walk in, it should be about the energy and the experience. Do they greet you? Do the people working out look like they’re being serious, or are they too busy hogging equipment while playing on their phone? The experience makes or breaks whether a gym keeps you as a member.
Here’s a few things to consider while gym shopping!
Look beyond the deals
When you’re weighing the costs of potential gyms, it can pay in the long run to sign up for the more expensive option. Bargain gyms often have members that stop going because the amount of money they pay is so low they don’t take the time to cancel their memberships. They figure, hey, it’s only this much money, eventually I’ll get back there. But you can guilt yourself into going by spending just a few dollars more – enough where it feels like it’s a real waste if you don’t make it at least once a week.
Find a gym close to home. Most people, despite their best intentions, won’t regularly go to the gym if its completely out of the way! Use your smartphone to plot all gyms within a five-mile radius on Google Maps! While you’re scoping out your options, check for parking or ease of transit, another potential deterrent to hitting the gym.
Visit at your prime workout time
Saturday afternoon may be the ideal hour to check out a gym, but is it really when you’re likely to grind out the miles? Visit at a time when you’re likely to go, cruise by the specific equipment you plan on using. If there’s a line five deep, try another gym.
Check for clean machines
Gyms are germ factories and keeping things clean takes more than just the nightly cleaning crew swabbing down the floors. A professional crew should come daily, but employees should also be wiping down machines throughout the day. While you’re visiting, watch to see whether there’s a strict policy of wiping down everything after use.
Invest in your membership
Most gym membership includes free training sessions with sign up! Take advantage of the offer so you can see where you are physically and if you really like what you got out of those sessions you should invest in it. If you are the type of person who tends to “fall off the bandwagon” then you might benefit from putting money down on training that requires scheduled attendance. For example, a paid program, such as using a personal training or a small group program promotes accountability. I always tell people to think of it as a protection for your investment. If you can see results, you’re going to stick with it.
Check the culture
Some gyms actively discourage “grunting” in the weight room, or have removed certain pieces of equipment considered too “intimidating,” such as dumbbells and squat racks. If you like to get primal during your workouts, some gyms may not be a fit for you. Try and figure out what the gym’s target demographic is. You want to be that target.
Every gym or health club offers something different, so look for a good mix of equipment
When I’m shopping for a new gym I always look around a gym floor. I’ll take a mental inventory of the condition of the machines. That is, see if the machines look like they’re in good shape or if they’ve seen better days.
When you’re checking out the gym during primetime, see if there are enough pieces of equipment available for use! There’s probably nothing worse than getting psyched up for your workout and then realizing that your gym has a single squat rack, a pair of flat bench presses and only three pairs 30 pound dumbbells – the weight most commonly used. In that case, you’ll find yourself waiting around for a while…
Double-check the contract.
Oh boy I’m about to sound like my mother! If there’s one thing that was drilled into my head and has actually saved me time after time, it’s this: PLEASE don’t sign anything until you read all the print and understand everything fully! That includes reading the fine print.
Contracts are the number one source of complaints reported to the Better Business Bureau. Make sure all verbal promises are put in writing. And, if you sign up for a contract that automatically charges your card each month, then you might want to check your statement to ensure you haven’t been charged any extra fees.
Ask about their cancelation policy. I’ve seen contracts requiring a notarized statement that you are cancelling your membership three months in advance!
Finally, while laws vary from state to state, consumers generally have 3 to 10 days to change their minds about a contract. You should never feel pressure to sign right then and there! Remember that you’re in charge and no sales person should waste your time with pressure tactics. So take your time.
Lastly, always keep a copy of your signed contract, in case something comes up down the road!