Tips for a first time gym-goer

A friend of mine has never been to a gym before. She was telling me how she’s really keen to go but really scared and asked me if I could write a blog about about hitting the gym for the first time.

I know that sometimes if you haven’t been to the gym for a while, or if you have never been before it can be a scary thing. Maybe you don’t know how to use the equipment, or you’re worried everybody will be looking at you, maybe you’re worried you’ll hurt yourself or you’re just scared of feeling really unfit? The truth is that everybody has been a first time gym goer and most people think and overthink these things before going. But the other truth is: its really not that scary.

Seek a gym induction with a professional

Most gyms have a rule that you need to undergo a gym induction with one of their members of staff before you actually spread your bingo wings and are set free to roam the place by yourself. I strongly suggest you take advantage of this. Every gym is slightly different and this means that the machines will be different too. At a gym induction a personal trainer will usually get you to try out some cardio machines and show you how to use them, and then show you how to use weights machines and suggest what weight you should be using. Don’t forget this will be totally free, usually one on one and it won’t last too long. Once you’ve completed an induction you’ll be free to do your own thing.

Don’t get stuck into a gym buddy habit

A few years ago when I was in my second year of uni I joined the gym with my housemates. We started going to the gym, taking the 20 minute walk into town and to the gym itself, and then we’d work out for a while. I enjoyed it, but I became adamant that I didn’t really want to go on my own. I know that I did venture out of my comfort zone a few times to escape the madness of our second year house, but I became stuck in a routine. I didn’t really want to go the the gym on my own. I developed some random phobia of looking silly or feeling out of place in a massive gym full of students and seriously beefy guys.

So here’s my tip: it’s great to go to the gym with a friend or two, it’s fun, you can help each-other out and gossip along the way too. But don’t get stuck in a gym buddy habit. I’d always advise joining the gym on your own and going on your own to build up your confidence. That way you wont be relying on someone else to get you there when you’re feeling super lazy!

Nobody is staring at you

I think a lot of people feel that if you’re new to the gym and you’re not totally confident in what you’re doing then you’re going to look silly and everyone will be staring at you. This really isn’t true. Taking note of my points above, if you undergo a gym induction you’ll be taught how to use the machines and you shouldn’t have a problem there. Secondly, everyone goes to the gym to work out, not to stare at other people. You might not think thats 100% true, but it IS. Typically, people are so intent on working up a sweat that they’re in the zone, they don’t really care about anyone else around them.

Don’t watch the clock

A good tip when you’re using the cardio machines is to take a towel and place it over the screen covering the time, calories, miles etc etc. I find this really helps. One problem friends have mentioned to me in the past is that the continuously watch the clock and it makes time go so much slower. By covering the statistics on your machine you’ll go for longer. Sure you can check every now and again how long you’ve been going, but trust me, this tactic works – especially when running.

Essential kit

Here are my kit essentials to take to the gym:

A good work out playlist- one of my friends listens to The Greatest Showman at the gym , thats cool but that wouldn’t work for me. I update my playlist every now and then and include fast, upbeat music with a good beat.

Wireless earphones – I’d be lost without these. I think it’s a great idea to take your own headphones to the gym because you can get more ‘in the zone’ and avoid any distractions around you. Wireless earphones are my go to because you can wear them for your whole session at the gym so you don’t have to worry about any wires getting in the way or having to hold your phone.

A water bottle – this is such a an obvious one, but i’ve seen people turn up to the gym and just use the water fountain with no water bottle… it seems a bit unhygienic, but also you need to be constantly drinking water at the gym!

Towel- like I mentioned above, its good for covering your machine stats and helping you go for longer, but it also wipes up your sweat without the need for the gym’s own paper towels.

Cash – All gyms will have changing rooms, but some of the will require you to pay for a locker to store your bags and coats. You will get the money back after you’ve used the locker… but it’s handy to take some coins with you. I use a re-usable trolley token just in case I loose it. But it’s always attached to my keys so I never forget it.

Thats all of the top tips I can think of for now – if you have any other suggestions leave a comment below!

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