So you’re new to the gym. “What do I do? Where do I start?” If you haven’t been to a gym in a while, especially if you haven’t worked out at all in a while, the gym can be pretty overwhelming and intimidating. Don’t worry we’ve all been there. Everyone has to start somewhere. Everyone has a first day at the gym. Your greatest tool is preparation. Have you ever heard the quote by Benjamin Franklin “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”? This is so true of many things, including the gym. So let’s go through a few things you need to know to get you prepped and ready to feel confident going to the gym and have an amazing workout.
What To Wear And What To Bring
Before you even go to the gym, it’s important to think about what you’re going to wear and what you’re going to bring with you to the gym. Wear something comfortable that you can move in, also, if your gym has a dress code, make sure to pay attention to that as well. I like to wear leggings, a sports bra, and a tank top. Another important thing is your shoes, you need good, comfortable sneakers. The exact type of shoe would depend on what you’re doing at the gym (lifting, running, etc) I personally really like my Nike Free 5.0s, they are really comfortable and versatile. They work well for lifting and cardio for me.
Also think about what you want to bring with you to the gym. A water bottle is a must, you need to stay hydrated. Make sure you also bring your workout plan with you. Other optional things to bring would be an ipod with a good upbeat playlist for working out and some headphones, I know for me, music can make all the difference in my workout sometimes, it really helps me focus and get in the zone. You could also bring a heart rate monitor if you have one. You don’t want to bring a ton with you, however most gyms have lockers you could utilize if need be.
Have A Plan And Stick To It
Far too often I see people in the gym do a couple reps on a machine, and then move on and use another random machine, and they just seem all over the place. They are using random equipment without any real goal in mind. You should find a workout plan, print it out, or save it on your phone, and take it to the gym with you. We have so many great workout plans on Fitness Health Revolution; from eBooks, workout videos, and even customized online personal training, we have something for everyone no matter what your goals or fitness level. And we have plenty of free options as well. If you have an actual workout plan in front of you, then you can go to the gym knowing, “okay, today I’m doing legs, and these are the exercises I’m going to do.” That eliminates wondering around the gym wondering what you’re going to do next, using random, unrelated machines.
Research (Know What You’re Doing)
So you have your workout plan, but if you’re new to working out you may not know exactly how to use all the machines properly or how to perform each exercise. And if you Google French press, you’re going to get this..
..and while we all love coffee, that’s not exactly what we’re trying to do here… This is a French press, by the way..
That’s why we have created our exercise database. We have a picture and video demonstration for every exercise along with explanations and variations. I recommend watching the videos or looking up how to do each exercise you’re going to do that day before you go to the gym so you can feel prepared and confident. You can always bring your phone into the gym with you too and quick look up the exercises while you’re there if you forget (don’t worry so many people are looking at their phones at the gym!)
Focus On Form
Proper form when you’re exercising is extremely important. You’re not going to get all the benefits of the exercise if you’re not doing it properly. But more importantly, incorrect form puts you at risk for injury. So when you’re new to a certain exercise, make sure you’re doing it properly before you worry about upping your weight or reps. Remember: quality over quantity. Don’t be afraid to use the mirrors to watch yourself as you exercise, that’s what they’re there for. Watching yourself perform the exercise can help you to identify issues and make adjustments to your form. If you have a gym buddy, ask them to help you with your form as well. You want your workout to be both safe and effective.
Don’t Worry About What Others Think
I can’t stress this enough. I know what it’s like to feel self-conscious, believe me. But don’t let you being new or feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing prevent you from getting in a great workout. Are people going to look at you? Maybe. Are people going to judge you and think things like “she has no idea what she’s doing.” Possibly. But here’s the thing, you don’t know these people, and they don’t know you, and they don’t matter, you matter. You’re in the gym because you want to do something positive for yourself, you want to be healthier, or more in shape, etc. And everyone else in the gym is also there for a similar reason. Just put your blinders on, turn your music up, focus on your goal, and kill your workout, no one else matters.
Don’t Overdo It
When you’re new to the gym, it’s important to not go crazy right away. Don’t go in your first day and try to lift the heaviest weights and do really challenging workouts and completely kill yourself. Work your way up. Start out small, get comfortable, perfect your form, learn your limits, and then increase weights, step up your workouts, etc. Also remember the importance of a proper warm up and cool down. Take it from me, I hadn’t been to the gym in like 3 years, went in the first day, went CRAZY on the Arc Trainer, abruptly stopped without any proper cool down and then almost passed out right in the gym, it was embarrassing, but not a mistake I will be making again.
Ask a Professional
Something to consider doing when you’re just starting out is getting a session with a personal trainer, many gyms offer the first session for free. You can consult with someone who can show you around the gym, where everything is, and how to use it. Don’t hesitate to ask gym employees a question, that’s what they are there for. It can be really beneficial to purchase a custom workout plan, if you’re really determined to meet your goal, it may be worth it for you. Having a plan that is tailored to you, your goals, fitness levels, likes and dislikes can make all the difference between success and failure.
It’s going to take you some time to feel comfortable and confident in the gym. It will take you a little while to get familiar with all the equipment and to find what you truly enjoy. Try different things so you can find your passion, is it weight lifting, yoga, running, etc? There are a million different ways to work out and you need to find what works for you, everyone is different. Patience is key. I know we all wish we could go home after a hard work out and see instant results, see the fruits of our labor immediately. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. It will probably take a few months or more to really start seeing significant results. But be patient, it is so worth it.