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Nov 05 2012

Five common mistakes when first joining a Health Club

by Gillian Reeves

Just signed on the dotted line? Ready to be transformed into the body beautiful? We pinpoint the five most common mistakes newbies make when joining a gym or health club for the first time. Avoid these and you are well on the way to a healthy and rewarding relationship with your Health Club.

1. I don't need any help - I can just turn up and do my own thing? After all, how hard can it be to jump on a treadmill?

You are right. Switching on the treadmill isn't that hard. But knowing the best combination of exercises to do if you only have twenty minutes a day? Or understanding that you'll get results faster if you put the weight through your heels in a squat? Or that a mixture of strength and cardio will shed the baby weight faster? Or which classes to combine for the ultimate all over body tone? Our Fitness Coaches know all this stuff. And what they most want to do in the world is share it with you! They will make sure you get the maximum benefit from your time in the gym. You can have an appointment with one of them whenever you want. And the best bit - it's completely free.

2. Spending hours on the treadmill is a good way to burn fat and get fit.

Doing something, anything, is better than doing nothing. But unless you are training for a marathon, spending hours on the treadmill is not the best way. A mix of cardio and resistance training works best for most people. And pushing harder but for shorter times. Try mixing it up with a gym floor fast class. Or a bit of swimming. Or some freeweights. Those pesky Fitness Coaches will soon have you working up a sweat the right way. 

3. It is important to build up a routine and stick to it.

A routine that makes you get to the gym. Oh yes. But not an exercise routine. We're creatures of habit. It's easy to find yourself doing the same exercises over and over. But do this and your body will soon find them too easy to make a difference. There is a bit of a theme developing here - but you need to see your Fitness Coach every few months. They will both track your progress and make sure you have new routines that will constantly challenge you.

4. Don't eat before a workout.

Wrong. Have a small snack about an hour before you workout. Not eating enough or being dehydrated reduces your energy levels and you can't work so hard. It may also make you feel lethargic and light headed. Check out our best pre-exercise snacks here.

5. Get exercise advice from out of date books

The library and internet is full of fitness advice and routines. But how up-to-date is it? We are learning new things all the time and here at Virgin Active, we make sure our Fitness Coaches, Personal Trainers and Group Exercise Instructors are bang up-to-date. There are lots of classes available that are based on the latest fitness trends such as willPower & grace, a barefoot cardio class and TRX fast classes, a suspension training system using your body weight as resistance. Ditch the old stuff and give them a go.