The gym can be a rather intimidating place especially if it’s your first time. It’s common for beginners to feel completely out of place. As you look around the different machines, it seems like everyone else knows what they’re doing – all except you.
Don’t be discouraged though. Everyone has been in this exact position before. Figuring out how to navigate the gym and establish a regular routine is actually easier than you think. Once you do, all of your initial concerns will fade away as you focus on hitting your fitness goals. Here’s a beginner’s guide to getting started with the gym.
Pick the Right Gym
One of the first things you’ll need to think about is choosing a gym. If you only plan to do low-impact activities such as light cardio and weightlifting, then any regular gym will do. But if you’re looking for something more structured, a boutique gym that offers CrossFit or yoga classes might be a better option.
The start of the new year is often when gyms push new promotions. If you sign up around this time you may be able to take advantage of special pricing. Before committing to a membership (typically a year), ask the gym if there are any trial periods. That will enable you to try out the space first and get a better feel for whether it’s a good fit for you. If you like a gym, you’ll be more likely to go.
Follow Proper Etiquette
Proper etiquette is important to ensure a pleasant workout experience for everyone. Always keep the following in mind at the gym:
Bring your own towel and wipe off any machines that you’re finished with
Don’t leave your weights on the ground – rerack all weights and dumbbells you use
Wear appropriate attire and don’t wear flip flops or sandals to avoid injury
Rotate through workout equipment if it’s crowded
Minimise your phone usage as it can be distracting to others
Don’t rest for extended periods of time or hog machines
It’s natural to feel self-conscious at the gym but everyone is there for the same reason. Focus solely on your workout and follow proper etiquette.
Have a Workout Plan
Perhaps the most difficult part about going to the gym is figuring out what to do. The easiest way to get started is with circuit training – A series of body conditioning and strength training exercises with short periods of rest in between. As you move through a circuit, each machine works out a different part of your body. Completing a full circuit two to three times a week is a great way to get in shape.
You can create your own circuit by starting with five exercises. Some gyms also have their own circuit areas that you can easily follow along so be sure to ask the front desk for help. Don’t be afraid to add or remove different routines into your circuit. Carefully read the instructions for any machines you use to prevent injuring yourself.
Work Out on a Consistent Basis
Whether your goal is to build muscle or lose weight, you won’t do so just by going to the gym once. But you’ll gradually start to see results the more you go. Make regular exercise part of your weekly routine. Aim to go to the gym at least two to three times a week to make your membership worthwhile and have a workout plan each time you go.
Going to the gym doesn’t have to be an intimidating experience. Follow this beginner’s guide to the gym and with enough preparation, you’ll build the confidence to go on a regular basis.