Okay, it’s the New Year and you’ve decided to get fit and healthy. That’s great!

Nevertheless, there are a number of things it would be handy to know in order to guard against getting discouraged in the first month. Gyms can seem hard and uninspiring places when you first begin. As well as the variety of specialist gear and expensive technology, there is the issue of getting to grips with ‘workout language’.

However, by knowing what to expect before you start, you can be assured that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You just need to be determined and push through.

Expect aches and pains

Muscle soreness is generally a sign that you’ve done nothing worse than give your muscles a good workout. As you start your fitness regime, you’ll be using muscles that haven’t been worked in a long while, so there are bound to be some aches and pains. However, you can continue to train through the muscle soreness, and by sticking with your fitness regime, you’ll soon find it easy to complete exercises you once found difficult.

Take sufficient rest

That said, if you don’t give your body sufficient time to rest, then burnouts and real injuries are a distinct possibility. Your body can’t improve itself if you don’t give it time to recover. If you fail to do so, you may not get fitter or lose weight. In fact, you may actually become slower/weaker if you ignore the need for breaks in your workout schedule.

When planning your fitness regime, ensure you schedule at least two rest days a week.

Don’t compare yourself to others

Your resolution to get fit and healthy was made by you and for you, not for anyone else. This means your workouts should be entirely about you too.

It sounds easier than it is in practice, but this means you need to ignore the sprinting pace of the person on the treadmill next to you. Similarly, if you can, try to avoid feeling intimidated by the person loading a huge stack of weight on the bench press after you have completed your set.

Don’t try to match others – keep to your own schedule. Remember, everyone has their individual goals, and will be at a different point in their fitness journey.

You don’t need fancy sports drinks

When you exercise, you’re definitely going to sweat, but you don’t need to bring or buy expensive sports drinks – simple water will be more than enough to replenish what you lose. You would need to be doing over an hour of intense training to deplete your sugar and salt levels to the point where you need to replenish them with specialised electrolyte replacements.

Gyms aren’t usually this busy

If you’ve joined a gym as part of a New Year’s resolution, you may come across queues for showers, treadmills, parking spaces, etc. If this is the case, don’t get discouraged – on average, over half of these people will stop coming to the gym by mid-February. Before long, you’ll find the gym a relaxing and relatively quiet place.