Joining the gym: advice for beginners
It’s January and working out is high on a lot of people’s new year’s resolutions list. Gyms have their new year’s offers out and you’ve got a newfound motivation to go. There’s just one problem, you’ve never been before and you’re not sure what to expect. Anxiety surrounding the gym is not a new concept and most people, if not everyone, has experienced it before. The good thing is there are ways to lessen some of that anxiety so you can walk into the gym confidently and feel accomplished when you leave.
With such an array of equipment, it can be overwhelming to know what to do. The best way to avoid that lost feeling is to make a plan before you even step foot in a gym. There are plenty of resources available at your fingertips to help with this. Find a beginner workout plan online, download it, or write it in your notes on your phone. Remember, if you’re just starting out, don’t overwhelm yourself with a complicated workout. Plan to go to the gym and try 3 movements or machines. If you feel comfortable you can always up the weight or add additional exercises on your next visit.
If you’re still feeling anxious about using the machines, there are options available. When you get to the gym, hop on the treadmill. You can focus your session on just cardio. Or, you can use the treadmill as a 10-15 minute warmup. This allows you to get used to your environment, and even assess where the machines you eventually want to use are. That way you can confidently walk straight to where you need to go without the fear of being lost among the equipment. Every machine will have a diagram on how to use it. Don’t feel ashamed of taking some time to look at it and figure out how you’re meant to use it. There are different types of machines at each gym and even avid gym-goers encounter something new on occasion. In addition, you can also ask any lingering staff for assistance, they’re always willing to help!
Another great option is taking classes at your local gym. Classes are usually included in your membership so take advantage of them. This option takes the stress of having to plan your own workout away. Find a class that interests you, sign up, show up, and do what your instructor tells you to do. This also ensures that you feel you’ve had an effective visit to the gym.
Okay, you’ve got your plan now. But, what are you meant to wear? The short answer is anything you can comfortably move in! You want it to be breathable fabric and not be too constricting. Wear some comfortable trainers and you’re good to go. Some other things that you might want to consider bringing are a water bottle, some headphones, extra hair tie if you have long hair, and a padlock for the gym lockers.
Entering the gym for the first time can feel like a daunting task. It’s important to remember that everyone is at the gym to focus on themselves. They aren’t there to judge you so try not to worry about how you’re being perceived. Instead, enjoy the experience! Deciding to start working out is a great step towards living a healthier life and if you can find enjoyment in going to the gym you’re much more likely to keep going!