Sport Spotlight: Gym

Welcome to Sports Spotlight. Every week, as InQuire’s Website Sports Editor, I will be taking on a new sporting activity for the benefit of those interested in diving into something to get fit. Or those just wanting some ideas. These articles will be posted every weekend, with the lowdown on how to make the most out of the weekly chosen sport and many top tips on how to be a pro.

This week it is...Gym

We’re not talking about PE classes, where you’d huff and puff as your teacher made you run lengths for the dreaded bleep tests. We’re not even talking about hardcore bench pressing in an attempt to show off in the weight room. As a beginner myself, we’re taking to the gym with tips for those starting out and who might shiver at fear with the stares of those who gym 24/7. Think of it as ‘gym for idiots’, a guide on how to work the gym for the inexperienced.

There’re no excuses, as there is a gym directly on campus that do sweet student prices. Therefore, get yourself a Kent Sport pass, and be physically unfit no longer.

So, read on, for more fitness fun.

Main types of gym equipment

Bikes – you may fear speed class, but you can take the gym bikes at your own pace. Perfect for warmer weather when it’s difficult to bike outside.

Treadmill (my fave) – when it’s too hot to run outside, I love to hit the treadmill and be able to go for half an hour thanks to the aircon

Cross trainer – for those who don’t know, a cross-trainer is similar to a treadmill but slightly more focus on the arms. Really helps for those who don’t want a huge overdo of cardio but still want to feel the movement that a treadmill will give you. The best one for going at your own pace

Rowing machine – as I have no upper arm strength, this one proved to be a bit more of a challenge. It’s also incredibly hard to get keep your body upright to achieve maximum workout, but powering through, it is very rewarding and you feel like you have biceps of steel in no time

Stair-stepper – this one is good for a cool down. Not too much agony but great for your calf muscles!

Exercise mat – perfect to tailor your own workout, with routines or stretches

Weights – risk it if you dare, but I almost dropped one on my foot. Still great for muscle strength and they have a whole range of different sizes

Top Tips to Become a Gym Pro

Go in non-peak times – I found that a 10am or late-night gym sesh was the perfect time as it’s not too crowded and there’s always at least one piece of equipment free. Plus, you haven’t got to worry about anyone watching or judging you

Water breaks – between each piece of equipment, I make sure to drink a quarter of a bottle of water, keep hydrated

Socialise – the best mate dates can often be had at the gym. Whether you’re there to do some serious exercise or want a bit of movement but with a chat, then it’s much better with a friend! It also makes the time go faster, and feel like exercise is super easy

Half an hour is the key – I found that picking four pieces of equipment and spending half an hour on each was the best, as it was just the right amount of time to exercise without getting bored of the same old steps

Biggest Pro… blast those tunes.

Biggest Con… people are everywhere, and you can sometimes feel constantly judged if it’s busy (even though you’re probably just being paranoid!)

Intensity: 9/10

Comment: Take it at your own pace, but you can get super sweaty.

Practicality: 7/10

Comment: Not really suitable before a lecture, as you feel super sweaty and not in the mood to concentrate. However, due to the location of the gym, it’s very accessible to be able to go home and get changed/showered.

Time: 8/10

Comment: Can go on the way home from work, before a night out, as the opening hours were super good as their open early and late.

Fun: 8/10

Comment: With friends, time flies. Even on your own with your tunes blasting, you forget that you’re even having to work hard to get fit. Plus, you can just change the equipment you’re on if you get bored!