Going to the gym for the first time can be intimidating. Here are some tips to make your first trip less stressful and more enjoyable.
Every gym is slightly different and offers different things. Just in case you want to bring:
- A lock in case the gym doesn’t provide them. Many gyms don’t allow you to carry your bag around so you don’t want your bag to be left unattended.
- A towel. You will sweat and no one wants to be touching your sweat.
- A water bottle. Working out without water is hell.
- Ipod/phone/music player. Creating a good playlist can help you get through your workout. Just make sure your music doesn’t hinder your ability to workout. Many people use arm bands or wrist bands so they don’t need to worry about their device getting in the way.
You are at the gym. Now what?
Some gyms require that you check-in before you can head to the locker room. On your first time you might need to fill out some remaining paperwork. As you walk to the locker room, scope out the gym layout. On your first visit, I recommend starting with cardio (after you do a warm up). This way you can get a look at how the gym is run and get more familiar with the layout. Before you hop on a treadmill, make sure there is no waiting list or time limit as treadmills are very popular. If you have used free weights before, go for it. Otherwise I suggest a session with a personal trainer to help prevent injury.
Know gym etiquette.
- If you don’t know something, ask. It is better to ask than to do something that could either cause an injury or embarrass yourself.
- Use a towel. Be sure to wipe off equipment once you are done.
- If you want to use a machine but someone is standing by it, ask to see if they are done. If they are not done, ask to “work in.” This simply means that you take turns doing sets on that machine.
- Wear proper attire. Keep in mind that you are in public. The leggings that we all love to wear tend to be see through so be mindful of that. If you are wearing loose running shorts, wear bike shorts under them if you plan on doing any stretching.
- Re-rack your weights. Just like you were told to put your toys away when you were done with them, put your weights away. If they are too heavy, either ask for help or use lighter weights next time.
- If you are going to a class, don’t show up late and expect to be let in especially if it is your first time. If you have never taken the class before, you should be a little early and let the instructor know that it is your first time. Instructors like to know so they don’t kill you by accident.
- If the gym offers towels, be sure to put them back in the appropriate bin.
Don’t be afraid of…
- Being overweight, old, or a newbie. Many people are afraid that people will be judged or looked down upon but it is the exact opposite. People who regularly go to the gym actually get all warm and fuzzy inside that someone is helping themselves create a better life.
- Not knowing how to use something. People are more than willing to help you out. People work at the gym for a reason and most people will be willing to help you even if they don’t work there.
If you are super nervous and don’t think you can go alone, bring a friend! Friends make everything more fun and less stressful!