In the fitness world, nothing is scarier than taking your first step inside of a gym and having no idea where to start, how to use equipment, what any of it means, and be completely on your own because the staff is no where to be found (or perhaps the staff is too busy being entertained by their co-workers to pay attention to the new person walking in) <— YES! trust me when I say I know the feeling.
In order to avoid this from happening to anyone else, let me help by giving you some tips/advice & steps to take when venturing inside a gym for the first time. Step one is plan ahead, this saves time and also builds your confidence — because I realize how intimidating it becomes when you are on a fitness journey and everyone around you seems to look to be in shape. Don’t worry about everyone else, because this journey is about YOU, and secondly, we have all started from the beginning at some point in our lives. #Truth
Planning ahead comes with some homework — but nothing too tedious, rather a good way to make sure you are packed and ready for the gym experience. While planning ahead, here is a list of things to consider and/or do before hopping inside the car ..
- pack your gym bag to meet your needs (headphones, water, lock for the lockers, proper shoes for the type of exercise, change of clothes if necessary, etc.) whatever you feel is necessary in order to be comfortable because no gym bag has all the same things — this is always personal preference.
- have a workout in mind — you can create your own workout or you can follow a template you find online. I always say for the first time, do something ‘total body’ so you can experience different muscles at work
- mentally prepare by keeping an open mind — every gym is different, so if in the past you had a bad experience at a gym, don’t allow that to contribute to your thoughts about the new gym — go in with no expectations.
- Choose workout clothes that are comfortable. No need to be up on the latest trendy fashion or feel the need to expose your body because all the insta chicks do– it is up to you what you wear and as long as you like it, then it doesn’t matter what others think.
- Know the hours of operation of the gym, so you don’t run into having to to rush your workout or show up to a closed sign
- have questions handy in case you run into a staff member and need something explained.
- Eat something before heading out if you are the type of person that needs something before they start an activity, and drink plenty of fluids beforehand so that you stay hydrated
Now that your planning is all finished up. ..
Now that you have arrived at the gym, you need to locate where things are, take a quick walk around the gym and pay attention to restroom signs, exits, cardio machines, free weights, weight machines, water fountains/coolers, locker rooms/cubbies, the staff (what do they wear so you know who to contact in case you need assistance). Be attentive but take your time, you might have to do multiple walks around the gym or ask for a tour BUT regardless, get acquainted with your surroundings.
Start with a warm up — do something on the cardio machines, pay attention to the button functions and go a slow and steady speed so that you can maintain good form but also this will allow you to people watch and get a good glimpse of the gym.
Decide if you want to use free weights or weight machines or a mix of both. Typically weight machines come with directions on the actual machine — most of the time they can be descriptive but other times they lack detail so you might have to either ask another member or find someone who works there for assistance. Nothing wrong with learning something new, don’t be embaressed! It is always better to ask questions than to get hurt. Worst case scenario, you can use your phone and YouTube videos showing you how to use a particular machine or do a particular exercise using the free weights. #KnowledgeIsPower people!
When your workout is finally finished, think about the pros and cons & decide if this gym is the right gym for you or if you need to do more research and search for another option! either way, it is your choice to make and if you decide to take the high road, don’t feel bad about it — choosing a gym is important and needs to reflect your needs, and the kind of atmosphere you want to surround yourself in.
All in All, I hope this was helpful information. Make sure to leave comments and likes! & Follow me on the blog & social media to keep updated on fitness/health!