Exercise tips

Exercise tips

Useful exercise tips for working out. How to beef up on a budget – with DIY tips and online resources to help you exercise for cheap

As a self-confessed bookworm and one who carried with her a childhood happily governed by fantasy-filled quiet time with myself and a few equally-inactive imaginary companions, I was not someone inclined to be noted for my physical prowess or any sort of stamina (rather, I was the slow, vertically-challenged runt people tended to rub on the head and refer to as ‘so cute’ whenever I got angry).

Being chucked into a tough spot lately made me relinquish my comfort zone and head off to a scary place I like to call The Gym. Somebody told me once that it’s like getting free drugs pumped into you, and I could use a little free anything these days.

They lied. The gym wasn’t really free – I did have to fork out a little bit for the monthly gym membership, but it was entirely (entirely!) worth it. (Note: almost all gyms have a special rate for limited time memberships, so if you have time during the day and on weekends, this is a great time to go – and a much cheaper option. Some gyms may even have student rates. The first gym I went to was in the basement of a college and only had 2 treadmills, an old elliptical and some weights. All I needed!)

For fear of sounding like an exercise nut, I think I should outline all the benefits exercise has given me before heading into the techniques I employed to buff up this little body of mine.

1. I didn’t kill the administration officer at my local immigration office because I was too busy enjoying the endorphins, too tired from my workout, and too busy admiring the quivering biceps that were telling me to take them home and pamper them. Mine, of course. Not the administration officer’s.

2. I saw some real freaks in the weights section who I’m sure will be in the news some day for murdering people of importance. I consider this a benefit, because you can’t put a price on being present to watch someone prepare for some good old gangster revenge from the Dirty Thirties. Alternatively, who knows? Maybe the endorphin-release of going to the gym will actually stop them from thinking they’re Charles “Lucky” Luciano. Or the Kray twins.

3. Gyms are the poor man’s answer to the country club. If you’re at a big one, take some friends along, get a cappuccino at the cafeteria, sit in the sauna (most gyms have this) and complain about / delight in how much arse you’ve seen in the walk from the locker to the shower. You may also discuss why people forgo all social rules when suddenly naked among strangers.

There are countless reasons why getting serious about exercise is great, but this article is more on how to find the useful stuff and not waste your time panting around and seeing no results. There are also lots of tools online to help you find workout routines. Unfortunately, there’s so much junk out there too, so hopefully I can provide some links here that will be useful to the average non-athletic girl (such as I was).

What type of exercises to do

Weight training

As you’ve probably heard so many times, you should always incorporate weight training into your exercise sessions. Apart from being useful in the long-term, it’s also incredibly motivating to feel yourself get stronger and watch your body strengthen. Fun! Don’t let a fear of getting too muscular put you off from weight training because you needn’t beef up too much – in fact, it’s quite hard to do so immediately. Building muscles will always work well for you because, as you’ve heard, muscles build even when you’re not working. With a little weight training, your body will always be working for you, and it certainly made me more motivated to continue exercising. It made me feel like there was something I was actually working towards. I loved feeling my arms every now and then and finding a new little hard spot I didn’t know I’d been working out.

Too shy to head for the testosterone-filled weights section?

I personally found the weights section in my gym daunting at first, so I got some exercises online and bought a couple of cheap dumbells from the sports store to do it at home and figure out what to do first before I mortified myself (or so I feared) in public. The truth was that nobody gave a crap about what one dork like me was doing fumbling around the weight area and they were all too busy kissing their muscles and watching themselves in the mirrors to spot anything else that may have been amusing around them.

But if you’re still rather shy, then