The first time I joined to the gym, I was about fifteen years old and I asked my mom for a boob job (not that we could pay for). Instead, she signed me up for the gym. Flash forward to fifteen years later and nothing ever filled out as I hoped. But that is a post for another time. Español aquí.

More recently, a friend asked me for recommendations to go to the gym. I texted at length about hygiene (the stories I could tell you about my unpleasant gym experience in Lima…), motivation through Instagram, and more hygiene. Because I enjoy talking about the benefits of exercise for a healthy lifestyle, here is my list for seven tips to improve your gym experience. I hope you like it!

1. Have your gym clothes ready
Having my exercise clothes available and close at hand when I used to jog at 5:00 a.m. improved my ability to get out of bed and leave the house on time. Now that I go to the gym, having my workout clothes clean and in a specific spot also helps me get to my destination.

2. Track your workout
For a long time I made slow progress with my exercise because I wasn’t consistent with my exercise. I would forget my routine or the weight that I had used. That all changed when I started tracking it. Use a small notebook or an app. It really helps you see the big picture.

3. Make a playlist
This is awesome advice: group your workout songs in a playlist and avoid having to interrupt yourself to search for a new song or stop one that doesn’t go with your vibe. Choose songs that will keep you energized and enjoying your workout. Don’t forget to make it as long as you workout so that you don’t replay the same songs over again.

4. Use a water bottle
We know it’s important to be hydrated when you are exercising. While most gyms have a water fountain, carrying a water bottle keeps the water at hand and avoids interrupting your workout.

5. Eat something
Remember to eat before and after working out. Skipping meals can cause fatigue and also your body to burn muscle (and not fat) to give you energy. I’ve had bad experiences when I forgot to eat and I had to sit down at the gym because I felt too weak.

6. Motivate yourself
A trick I used when making myself go jogging in the New York winter was following workout accounts on Instagram to see ladies with healthy looking beach bodies. I do the same now when I am lazy. Always keep in mind you want to be your best self, emphasis on being yourself.

7. Keep clean hygiene habits
Lastly, be considerate with yourself and others by maintaining good hygiene. This includes changing your gym clothes regularly and making sure your deodorant is still active when you hit the gym. Use a towl to keep your sweat off the gym equipment when you work out. As they say, do unto others as you would have them do to you.