People think that working out at the gym is scary and overwhelming, especially if you’re new to it. In reality, there are many things that you might need to know or items that can help your visit be a bit easier. Here are a few tips for your first time going to the gym:
- Don’t worry about being intimidated by other people in the room. There will probably be a few bulkier guys at your local gym who take up more space than they should or women who have expertly crafted their makeup, so it lasts from their morning commute until after their workout. But don’t let them intimidate you! Everyone was once new at this, too and has been in your shoes before.
- Using a workout timer can be a great way to make sure that you’re staying on track and getting the most out of your session. There are a lot of different timers out there. A workout timer is also a great way to ensure that you’re sticking with your workout plan and not just wasting time!
- Use the appropriate equipment for what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re using dumbells at home, don’t be afraid of asking someone in an employee shirt where more weights might be kept! Many people will already have their headphones in or on their way out, so they won’t even bother you.
- Don’t feel pressured into buying something new. If this is your first time going to the gym, it’s because you want to improve yourself and work toward a specific goal.
- Put your phone away. Nothing is more distracting than seeing your phone light up with a text, email, or notification. There are only two appropriate times to use your phone in the gym: If you’re using it to record yourself lifting for future reference and when you’re dead. Wait until after to post the video of how much weight you bench press that day on Instagram!
- Read the signs for proper usage. For example, there might be a sign next to some equipment letting you know what order in which items you should use in your workout. Or maybe there’s a tip posted reminding people not to drop weights on the floor. You’ll save time and avoid injury if you read these signs before starting your workout.
- Bring water and a towel. These are two essentials that you’ll need. You don’t want to leave for class or work dehydrated, do you? The water bottle can act as either an encouragement to drink more throughout your workout or be there in case you’re feeling thirsty. Don’t forget the towel because no one wants to use equipment that’s sweaty!
- If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. Whatever machine or exercise you decide to do at the gym, make sure that it challenges you by using proper form and putting your all into every repetition. If this means using lower weights (or no weights at all!), so be it. Don’t put yourself through the pain of an exercise if you know you can do more!
- Watch out for other people. If someone is on the machine next to you, don’t be afraid to ask them politely if they can move over a bit so that they would have enough room to complete your workout safely. It’s also best not to station yourself right below anything that could fall or drip onto you—just being safe!
- Focus on form. Working out isn’t just about how much weight are you lifting, but rather it’s about how well are you performing each rep? Are your muscles engaging? Is your posture correct? Are your eyes focused straight, or are they wandering around? All these factors can determine if you’re maximizing your workout and getting the most out of it!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There’s nothing to feel silly about asking for help. If something doesn’t look right or you want a proper demonstration, don’t hesitate to ask. No matter what gym you go to, there will be people who are more than happy to answer any questions that might pop into your head while working out. They should also have pamphlets that include tips and exercises specific to certain goals, such as weight loss or muscle building.
- Clean up after yourself. Remember to wipe it down with the towel when you leave your machine, so no one else has their workout interrupted by your sweat. Fitness karma!
- Don’t be afraid to go back. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the gym, don’t be discouraged if you feel awkward when you first walk in or when using equipment that has been out of use for a while. It doesn’t matter if it’s been a few days, weeks, months, or even years—most people will understand and won’t remember seeing you last time. You can always ask someone who looks like they know what they’re doing if they wouldn’t mind spotting you on something!
Are you pumped to start your fitness journey? We hope these top tips for your first time at the gym help make your experience a positive one. Remember to always consult with a professional before starting any new exercise routine, and be sure to give yourself enough time to recover between workouts. Most importantly, have fun and stay motivated! What are some of your favorite tips for staying on track at the gym?
About the Author:
Maria Espie works at Timebirds – a manufacturer of portable and durable workout timers. She loves to watch movies and series while eating her favorite snack when not working.