When you step into a gym for the first time, you’ll inevitably feel even a little intimidated. After all, you will be surrounded by many people you don’t know, along with equipment and machines that you aren’t sure how to use. Although the gym is a no-judgment zone, it’s best to know the basics before anything else. Coming prepared will ease your nerves and even help you enjoy the thrill of trying something new!
Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your first time at the gym:
Get Your Essentials Together
You need to pack for the gym as if you’re packing for a short trip; make a short checklist so you don’t forget anything! You can bring whatever you want or think you need, but there are some essentials that every person needs in their gym bag. Here is how and what you need to prepare before going to the gym.
When preparing your attire for the gym, comfort should be your top priority. Choose something that you can move freely in without feeling self-conscious. Wear breathable clothes made out of materials like nylon or acrylic. Your shoes will also play a huge role in how some of your exercises turn out, so make sure to grab something flexible and soft, with a good grip on the soles to prevent you from slipping. To avoid developing blisters on your feet, don’t forget to wear socks!
Packing your Gym Bag
First, you must bring a set of fresh clothes for when you’re done working out. Most gyms are equipped with shower rooms that are free to use, so make sure you bring your kit of toiletries as well to freshen up. Most importantly, don’t skip the deodorant. This is essential both before and after your workouts, any unpleasant smells will likely be an inconvenience to you and everyone else at the gym.
Headphones aren’t exactly a necessity but they do make your exercises much more enjoyable! Try to invest in the wireless kind so that it doesn’t get in the way. Staying hydrated throughout your session is important. Most gyms will have water refill stations so bring your refillable bottle.
Familiarize Yourself With the Equipment
You will encounter many types of machines and equipment during your sessions. To avoid any mishaps from occurring, you need to have a basic idea of what the equipment is for and how to use them. All of these machines and equipment are categorized depending on their purpose. There are two main categories: Cardiovascular and Strength training.
Cardio exercises are meant to increase your heart rate and support your body in burning the most optimal number of calories per session. Cardio exercises require your whole body to work, even though it seems like they are only targeting a specific part of your body. For example, even though your legs are doing the most work on a stationary bike, you will still find yourself out of breath and sore in several parts of your body.
These machines require a lot of agility and movement to function. The most common examples are the treadmill and elliptical machines, which imitate walking and climbing. Certain settings like speed can be adjusted to your preference. There are also special types of treadmills that are tilted upward to create the effect of walking uphill, which requires more effort and burns more calories. Aside from those two machines, basic cardio equipment includes stationary bikes, rowing machines, and many more.
Strength Training Equipment
The main purpose of strength training is to build muscle. This promotes enhanced strength, stamina, and endurance when performing their daily activities. Training the muscles is also an efficient method to burn calories and speed up the recovery process when injured.
Weight lifting is one of the best exercises to build muscle. One of the most beginner-friendly ways to get into weight lifting is by using Free Weights. This kind of equipment includes dumbbells and barbells, which are a great companion when doing exercises. They are the most versatile type of gym equipment since they don’t limit your movements to one specific area or exercise. Free weights can enhance the effects of squats, hip thrusts, step-ups, and many more. They can also be used with other equipment such as chest press and leg press machines.
Don’t Overexert Yourself
If you have been working out at home or have not exercised at all before going to the gym, then you must make sure that you don’t overdo it. Being surrounded by people who seem to already know what they’re doing could cause you to feel pressured and catch up with them. Keep in mind that it’s alright to go at your own pace, especially if you don’t have any prior gym experience.
Know your body’s limitations. Forcing yourself to do more than what you can physically handle could cause you to get hurt. Take the time to stretch before you properly begin your routine, familiarize yourself with the proper forms, and figure out which equipment settings work best for you. If you feel as if your body is unable to handle the exercises, consider taking a break or switching to an easier program. It’s completely fine if you can’t get the hang of things right away. After all, your fitness journey isn’t meant to be a race against other people.
Collaborate With Others
It’s like the saying goes: the more, the merrier. Working with other people, especially fellow beginners, could help you feel more at ease in your new environment. May gyms offer group classes for exercises such as Yoga, Pilates, Circuits, HIIT, and many more. These specialized classes focus on improving specific aspects of your body such as your flexibility, balance, and muscle endurance. These fitness groups often come in groups of 10 or more. The routines and lessons are led by trained or skilled instructors who have experience in the field.
If you are still unsure of where to start your fitness journey at the gym, then it might be wise to get a personal trainer. Personal trainers will guide you throughout the entire experience by creating exercise programs that are specially planned for you, offering their professional advice for all things regarding your health and wellbeing, and motivating you to stay on track. Your trainer will serve as both a friend and a trusted advisor that will ultimately make your time at the gym more productive and worthwhile.
Working with other people promotes a healthy relationship with other members. Partaking in group classes or working with a personal trainer will help you become familiar with your peers, letting you associate a name and personality to the same faces you see every time you go to the gym. The more you work with others, the less intimidated you become. This enables you to exercise and work on your physical well-being with no reservations.
Let Yourself Enjoy it
When in doubt, go back to this guide and read up on how to prepare for your first time at the gym. Going to the gym as a beginner can be quite a nerve-wracking experience at first, but it will eventually grow into an activity that you can enjoy and even look forward to! Don’t be afraid to try out something new and head to your local gym today.