David Ball PT

Storm Fitness PT

Working out in a mainstream gym.

I’ve been a Personal trainer for over 7 years now and up until moving to Storm, I was based in a mainstream gym in Newcastle. New Year’s bring with them new goals and refreshed determination, probably the most popular of these is too get fit. Every January it would be the same, crowds of new members swarming into the gym determined to final achieve their fitness goals. This could make it very difficult for me both when trying to complete a session myself but also when trying to train my clients. It’s tricky year round anyway but January was always a step up.

Trying to do anything out of the ordinary is virtually impossible, especially at peak times. Supersets, tri-sets are unthinkable. Wait for the correct dumbbells for 10 reps and then there’s no bench. Don’t even think of trying more than 3 sets and you’ll get the local gym expert (who has done the same gym programme 3 times per week for 5 years) asking “got many sets left mate?”!!!

So here are 5 tips that’ll help you stay on track, working hard and keep your cortisol from getting too elevated while you do it.

1.     Plan your workout. This will help you get in and get out. List your exercises, weights, reps and sets. Sure you should be doing this anyway, but it’s even more important at this time of year, don’t make things up as you go along. This way your workout will hit all the areas your targeting rather than simply jumping on the nearest free machine.

2.     Wear headphones . Sure it’s rude, but your not there to chat, your there to work. Put some rage against the machine on, turn the volume up and get working. It’s amazing how much privacy you can get, allowing you to work.

3.     Don’t be afraid to help. Sometimes at New Year, some of the long term gym members can get very put out. Huffing and puffing as people “get in the way”. Yes some peoples need is greater than yours. Instead of moaning about the guy currently on “your” squat rack, why not ask him, politely, if he has many sets left, would he mind if you worked while he rested? If he looks puzzled by the machine that you want to use, why not show him how to use it correctly before mentioning if it would be ok to do a quick set. Politeness will always get you a lot further.

4.     Have an alternative. After making your plan, try and make sure you have an alternative exercise available.  So all the benches are busy, try the chest press. Squat rack busy? Why not try a front squat or deadlifts? All the rowing machines are taken, why not to some treadmill sprints for a change? Sure this isn’t always ideal, but rather than waiting an age for your equipment and cooling down keep moving and keep working.

5.     Try a complex. Here’s a great idea for increasing your heart rate in super quick time and uses muscles from all over the body.  With a complex you group together different strength exercises into one continuous routine with no rest and using the same weights. All you need is one kettlebell, barbell or pair of dumbbells.  Here’s an example for you to try, after a 5-10 min warm up grab a pair of dumbbells,  try 4kg for an untrained female or 8kg for a guy, and complete the following exercises, 6 reps per exercise before moving to the next one.


  • Squat
  • Upright Row
  • Bicep Curl
  • Front Squat
  • Push Press
  • Bent over row
  • Split squat jumps

5 sets,  1 min rest between them.  Give it a try, it’s tough but well worth the effort. Remember the weights are YOUR choice, can’t manage 5 sets lower a little. Piece of cake?  Up the weight. That final set should be JUST completed, or maybe even just failing on those final few reps.

Hope you liked the post, and keep working

#trainsmart   #teamstorm


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This entry was posted on January 7, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , .
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