So, you’ve decided to join the gym. You have told yourself that you are going to be committed to going a few times a week to get fitter and stronger. Awesome!
But the gym can seem like an intimidating place with people grunting or dropping heavy weights on the floor. Some gyms might seem unfriendly as people have their headphones in and are focussed on their own workouts.
But fear not! The gym is a great place to work towards your goals once you get comfortable and familiar with the environment. There are some great ways you can ensure that you go from newbie to a regular, confident gym goer.
1. ask about a free personal training session
Every gym will give you a gym induction and write you a free exercise programme, which is great. Every gym that has a personal trainer should also offer you a free personal training. Be sure to take them up on the offer even if you are not interested in personal training.
Because even in that hour the trainer can show you how to perform basic but fundamental exercises and give you some useful tips that you can take into your future gym sessions. Of course I would encourage people to do some personal training as it can really make a huge difference in how efficiently you train.
2. go with a friend
I’ve seen many people join the gym, who don’t come back after their first week there. It can be hard to be motivated to make it to the gym consistently. There are many other things going on in our lives that seem more important.
Even with a good playlist in your ears, the right outfit and exercise programme, it can be easier and more fun to train with someone else.
If you have a friend who you know also wants to train at the same times as you, why not train together?
Sure, you’ll probably end up taking lots of selfies for the gram, #gymselfie, but the fact that you have someone you can’t let down will make sure that you show up.
I love seeing friends at the gym together because they tend to motivate each other and sometimes have healthy competition going on that can lead to even better results.
3. gym etiquette
When you’re new to the gym, you might not know what the rules of engagement are.
Yes, I know, sounds weird right?
But, there are a few things that you should be mindful of when it comes to gym etiquette and interacting with others in the gym.
Always put your weights away! When you have finished using dumbbells, kettlebells or plates, be sure to put them in their right places. Yes, the gym staff will clear these away at some point, but imagine, if you tripped over someone’s dumbbell because they didn’t put it away.
Don’t interrupt someone while they’re in the middle of a set. If you really need to ask another gym goer a question, wait for them to finish that set before you ask them your question, otherwise they could lose their focus, form or count…and it’s just a bit rude.
Clean your bench/mat. If you have been sweating during your workout and have been lying on a bench or mat, then please wipe off your sweat. Again, think about how you would feel if you have to use it after someone has dripped their sweat all over the place and not cleaned up after themselves.
4. try the classes
Every gym or leisure centre, should have a decent class timetable that includes classes like Spin, Boxfit, Zumba, HIIT and Kettlebells.
If for whatever reason you don’t like going to the gym to workout yourself a few times a week, then why not add a class or 2 to your weekly gym regime? Classes are a great way to make the gym sociable whilst you work hard.
Usually classes will push you harder than you would push yourself during your own workout, and you get to do more things than you would do on your own.
Classes are also a great way to supplement your training. If for example all you do in the gym is weight training, then attending a couple of spin classes during the week is good way to get your cardio in.
Or if you are not the best at stretching after your workouts, then a weekly yoga class, might be a good way to end a week.
5. go steady
When you’re new to the gym, it might seem like you have to go for an all or nothing approach.
I see many people who say they will be at the gym 5 times a week from the get go, and then I never see them again.
For most people, unless you have a specific event that you are working towards, setting such tough targets might be unrealistic.
The first couple of weeks your mind and body are still getting used to the idea of going to the gym, so if you set yourself an unrealistic target, you’re setting yourself up for failure from the start.
Figure out a realistic schedule for yourself that doesn’t feel like it’s taking away too much from your current lifestyle. You don’t want to make going to the gym a chore that you start resenting.
Start by going every other day for a few weeks. When you feel that you want to or are able to do more, then go for it. If you are only able to make it to the gym twice some weeks, then that’s also okay. The main thing is that you are sticking to this new commitment that you have made to yourself.
I hope these tips are useful for you guys, and if you’re ever in doubt, just ask a member of staff at the gym! They are there to help you and keep you safe! Good luck on your new fitness journey!