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3 tips on being less self-conscious to overcome intimidation at the gym

January 30, 2018

We’re all into the new year, new me gig (well most of us at least). So naturally, in the month of January, my gym is fuller and busier than usual. Which I think is fantastic as people are working on their health and body goals. Some people might feel intimidated at the gym, actually I often still do. Mostly because I feel self-conscious at the gym. So here are a few tips that I use to be less self-conscious at the gym.

Join a group class

Group classes are fun, especially for people who don’t know what they’re doing (read me). Also, they’re generally really tough and if you’re feeling self-conscious, nobody will notice you because they’re all dying from the intense workout. You’ll feel great afterwards, well at least I always do. The classes I enjoy the most at Virgin Active are shape, Pound and spin.

Visit the gym at a quieter time

At my gym peak is generally before 8AM and from 4PM till about 6PM. Midday and late night, it’s rather empty, especially in the winter months. If I go to the gym on a Saturday I almost always do weight training. This is because I’m super self-conscious about doing weights, but because the gym is almost empty on weekends, I feel more comfortable.

Get a personal trainer

I used the services of a personal trainer in my preparation for the Two Oceans Half Marathon last year, and if my finances allowed, I would sign up again in a heartbeat. In my experience, personal trainers push you so hard, you can’t think about being intimidated by anyone else in the gym. Plus they show you how to use the machines and how to correctly execute exercises. Unfortunately, their services do not come cheap.

Aaptiv, a nifty app that combines playlists with trainer lead fitness instruction (think having a personal trainer in your phone while listening to cool songs), shared these useful tips on how to overcome some of the common causes of gym intimidation.

The app is pretty cool and is available on the App Store and Play Store. This post is not sponsored, however I have used a 30 day trial from Aaptiv.

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How to choose a gym in 5 easy steps

June 21, 2017
how to choose a gym

A few days ago, I received an email from the gym that I used to belong to. If you recall, I wrote earlier in the year that I joined Virgin Active at the Atrium, which is not exactly cheap (unless you’re a member via your medical aid, which I am not as my medical aid is not a part of VA’s programme) and quite a distance from my house. Even though VA is more expensive and further away than my old one, I realised that wouldn’t go back. Even if it meant spending more money. These tips on how to choose a gym, are basically the reasons why I chose my current gym.

The advice I give on how to choose a gym is not technical. I made a list of needs that the facility needed to satisfy and chose the gym that ticked most of the boxes. Here’s how to choose a gym in 5 easy steps.

Do they have good housekeeping?

With people getting sweaty all over the place, gyms can quickly get gross. From weight machines to the locker room, bacteria can spread quickly in a gym. Fortunately, I have a relatively strong immune system and do not get ill easily, but never the less. At my old gym, housekeeping barely made the list (if it was even on the list at all). It was not uncommon to stains from the previous day’s spin class under the spinning bikes (they only had one a day). And I never really saw anyone clean anything. No, wait that one time I saw a lady mopping the floors. I was a member for roughly a year and a half.

Is it close to my work or home?

My previous gym was a walk away from my house (not that I would walk, because of safety concerns). Okay obviously VA is not that close to me, but it’s okay for me.

Other important aspects with the location for me was whether the gym was in a high traffic area. I hate driving in traffic. Although Newton Park has a lot of traffic, I knew that at the times that I would be going there’d be no traffic, or it would be in the opposite direction. Other gyms that I looked at were in William Moffet and Lorraine, and I knew that I would be stuck in traffic on my way to the gym. So these were definitely not on the cards for me.

Are there classes and personal instructors?

I am someone who gets bored easily. So variety is key. The only classes offered at my previous gym was step and spin. So I got bored easily (look at me getting bored at exercise when I wasn’t even fit yet). I looked at all of the classes offered at the gyms I could find in PE.  Also some of the gyms only had interesting classes during working hours. Not only housewives want to do pilates. Gyms need to cater for us working people as well. In addition, I am not always 100% sure what I am doing. Which is why I wanted a gym with certified personal trainers.

Is it in a safe location?

I’d only be able to go to the gym before or after work, and it would often be dark, particularly in the winter months. I needed to be sure that I feel relatively safe in the gym parking lot if it is dark. Is it in a high crime area? Does it have adequate outside lighting in the parking lot? Are there a lot of people moving around in the vicinity or is it an isolated area? Are there security guards? As a woman in South Africa, these are important questions. I don’t feel safe attending a gym that does not have any safety precautions,  both inside and outside of the facility.

How comfortable is the environment?

When I say comfort, I mean “Do I as a woman feel comfortable in this gym”. When I fit got into fitness, I bought a lot of workout wear. My gym apparel consistent of cute tanks and sweatpants in bright pinks, corals and purples and some of my tanks even had catchy phrases. But let’s be clear, I never went to the gym and dressed up to impress anyone. I look horrendous while working out. No, really I do. I sweat so much, you’d think I threw a bucket of water over me. So wearing cute clothing was my way of feeling like a human being. These days I mostly wear black and white, but that’s mostly due to the fact that I can’t fit in my colourful clothes.

Also if I am wearing earphones, it means I am listening to my music and do not want to have a conservation with you. I need a gym where I could disappear amongst the masses and if anyone or anything made me feel uncomfortable, the gym environment should make me feel comfortable enough to approach one of the staff members for assistance.

How to choose a gym: The final decision

These were the main aspects that I looked at when I decided on a gym. I looked at a number of places and chose the one that ticked off the most boxes and for me, it was Virgin Active at the Atrium. The only aspect that it does not meet is that it is far from both my work and home, but I am willing to travel a bit further as it ticks the rest of my boxes. There are plans to open a VA at BayWest City. Once that one opens, I will be transferring my membership to it, as it would be closer to me.

This is not a sponsored post. I would share the exact same tips if I was at another gym that ticks most of my boxes. I hope this advice on how to choose a gym helps you find a place that meets all of your needs.

Are you a member of a gym? What did you take into consideration when you chose your gym?

I post on Instagram stories my workouts, if you’re interested in them, be sure to follow me on Instagram. To keep up to date with OSI, check out Facebook and Twitter.


Apps that help me move more

October 17, 2016
Pink Kettleball and Shoes

There are thousands of apps that can help people increase their physical activity. Here are a few free apps that help me exercise and increase my physical activity. At the end of this post, is an update on how well I faired this past week.


My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal

I primarily use My Fitness Pal (MFP) to track my food intake, but it also has an physical activity tracker. The physical activities track however grossly underestimates the calories that I burn, especially with cardio exercise. So generally I would manually input the correct values from my heart rate monitor. However, recently I’ve purchased a Jawbone UP2 and linked it to My Fitness Pal and the apps automatically sync to one another. If you’d like to connect on MFP my user name is BodyElectric1 (it’s a Lana del Rey reference).


Up by Jawbone

Jawbone UP

So I purchased the Jawbone UP2 and it arrived this past Thursday, 13 October 2016. Jawbone is basically a fitness tracker. It tracks the amount of steps you take, your activities and even your sleep. So far what I find interesting is my sleep pattern. Over the past two days that I’ve tracked my sleep, although I do wake up in the middle of the night, I jump between sound sleep and light sleep often. As I’ve had the app and device for less than a week, I’m still testing it out. I will post a review and my thoughts on the Jawbone UP2 soon.

Edited to add: I no longer use Jawbone. The strap broke in less than 3 months. As the strap cannot be repaired, they sent me a new one, which did not work. So I returned it and I’m on the market for a new fitness tracker.



Nike+ Run Club

This is such a nifty app from Nike. The Nike+ Run Club (NRC) takes your runs, or in my case, walks and attempts to jog. It shows your pace, distance covered, total kms run per month and a number of personal records and averages. At first I was using the app to improve my pace, but I’ve decided to focus on my distance. NRC has helped my discover an easy 5km route from my house. The only thing I’m sad about, is the fact that it does not connect to Jawbone.


Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO

When I started walking again, I used Pokemon Go. Cause I needed to hatch my eggs! Pokemon Go is a game, but players are required to walk actual distances and go to specific places in order to play it. Unfortunately distances are not tracked if your phone is locked, the game needs to be actively on your screen. When I started using Pokemon Go, I was really slow and used the excuse that I needed to ensure that the app was constantly open to hatch my eggs. In a way this helped me from keeping my pace down and go further distances. If I went fasted I would have tired quickly and given up quickly. These days I don’t really care about hatching my eggs during my workouts so I don’t really use it anymore.

Play Music and Deezer

I cannot go out without music. It helps motivate me and keeps me going. Normally I use Play Music and depending on the amount of data I have, Deezer. On Play Music I just play a random bunch of songs that I like. Deezer has a number of amazing upbeat playlists that keeps me moving.

The past week in review

Last week I set a goal of covering 20km. Sadly I did not reach that goal. Monday the wind was terrible so I didn’t go out. On Tuesday, the weather was once again bad so I walked on the treadmill. As you may be aware from my introduction to move more mondays, I prefer walking/jogging outdoors. My treadmill is basically my last resort. When I use it I feel like giving up after 5 minutes, I go much more slower than I would outside and I drink a lot more liquids. So I only ended up completing 2.35kms.

On Saturday and Sunday I done a little over 5km each day. According to NRC I ran my fastest 1km this year on Saturday. Even though Sunday was ridiculously windy, I put on my jacket and went out. Furious wind plus hills, there was no why I was going to attempt to jog any section. So I walked the entire distance. I also had a 20 minute strength session, which focused on my arms, on Sunday.

Total distance covered for the week: 12.54 kms.

This week I’m going to set a more realistic goal of 15km.

What apps do you use to increase your physical activity?

Image via Pixabay.