Going to the gym for the first time can be scary. No one ever wants to feel out of place, no one ever wants to feel like they don't know what they are doing. But the thing is, everyone has to start somewhere. It won't be long before you learn the ropes too. Be brave, follow these tips and before you know it, you'll be moving through your workout like you were born in a gym.
Instead of being ushered around the gym by a salesperson looking to sign you up for an expensive membership package, ask your friend to show you around. If you have a friend who is a member at the gym you're hoping to join, tag along. It is likely that s/he can bring you for a workout at a reduced cost and you won't feel so overwhelmed. You'll be treated like an out-of-town guest and not some sort of uninitiated newbie.
You've just signed up for a membership and it comes with a free session from a trainer, use it. Yes, this session will lead to an attempt to sign you up as a regular client and if this is the kind of thing you want, than this could be more than worth it. At worst, this session will be like an extended tour of the gym that offers you some extra workout moves to try on your own.
Try to avoid rush hour at the gym. Typically this is the end of the work day when the place is crowded with folks squeezing in a workout before heading home. Try going midday or between 7:30 am and 9 am when folks have headed off to work and before the stay-at-home parents get there after sending their kids to school.
You may not want to shower and change at the gym but you will need a place to store your stuff. Don't leave your phone, wallet or keys in the car or an unlocked cubby -- you'll make a perfect target for theft. Bring a lock, and keep that stuff safe!
Gyms make people sweaty. Wipe down the equipment after you use it and place a towel wherever you lay down your head. Gyms are a haven for germs. You'll notice most have paper towel and sanitizers spread throughout. If someone leaves you sweaty equipment, do yourself a favour and wipe it down and then do everyone else a favour by leaving it cleaner than you found it!
Keep your phone locked up (see #4). Checking your phone can completely ruin the intensity of your workout. Gym selfies and texting are mood killers. If you find you must have your own music to train, invest in a small music player. Maintaining focus is the key here!
If you don't have a friend with you and don't want to deal with the sales people, come equipped with a written workout plan. It doesn't have to be complicated, just a list of the things you'll be doing and moving through. It will help you keep track of where you are and where you are going once the sweat starts to pour.
If you are planning on doing three sets on a piece of equipment and someone is waiting for it, ask them if they'd like to 'work in' alternating sets with you. If you are on cardio equipment like a treadmill and the gym is busy, adhere to the time limits -- usually 30 minutes. If you find this disruptive to your workout, adjust things so you can come to the gym in the off hours (see #3).
Even if you've never set foot in a gym before, odds are you've been on a bike. Taking a spin class is a great way to workout at your own pace. The instructor will be riding at the front of class and give you directions about speed, resistance and effort. Use these as a guideline. Bring a towel and a water bottle and set up shop at the back of class. It will prevent you from feeling self-conscious.
Gym fashions have changed and gone high tech. Choose a fabric that will help keep you cool and whisk sweat away. Aim for comfort. Too tight is a no go, too loose isn't any better. Wear what will reasonably allow for a full range of motion. There is little that ruins intensity more than constantly fussing with your clothes!
Do you remember your first time at the gym? How did you deal with your gym virginity?
Source: Men's Fitness
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