Many people are apprehensive about their first visit to the gym, so we asked a few of our gym-newbies what they wanted to know before walking through the double doors.
What do I have to bring?
Have a gym bag packed and ready to go. Bring a water bottle, trainers, gym clothing and a small towel for your workout, and any toiletries you may need for afterwards such as shampoo, conditioner, brush, deodorant, and thongs for the shower. Also don’t forget a notebook and pen if you like to record your workouts manually, alternatively you can log them on your phone.
What shall I wear?
If you invest in one item before starting at the gym, it’s a new pair of trainers. Book a gait analysis with a specialist shoe shop so that they can recommend the most appropriate training shoe for you. They will be worth their weight in gold, helping to prevent injuries and protecting your joints.
Secondly, if you are a woman, buy a well-designed sports bra as it will save you embarrassment, discomfort and stop the breast tissue from stretching.
When it comes to clothing, go for comfort. Bear in mind cotton fabrics absorb your sweat, keeping you wet, but wicking fabrics pull the sweat away from your body and dry quickly, making your workout much more enjoyable. It’s worth considering that for both men and women some clothing may be more revealing than you would like when you are stretching.
Guys, keep your shirts on!
What are the rules?
There are a few unspoken rules that are good to know before you start, so here’s the heads up.
No one likes to use equipment drenched in someone else’s sweat, so it makes sense to wipe down machines after you have used them with your towel.
Put things away after you have used them, including returning weights to their rack and stacking steps after a class.
Don’t hog the machines – bear in mind that other gym goers will want to use the machines too. Equally, give people space and don’t hover while you are waiting for a machine someone else is on.
It is great to listen to music to keep you pumped and motivated during a workout, but make sure it is for your ears only. Check that you are able to carry your phone easily while you are exercising, using an arm band or phone pocket so it doesn’t get in the way.
You will probably want to carry water, your phone and a small towel with you during your exercise program. However, use the lockers provided to keep your other things safe and prevent people from tripping over your bag on the gym floor.
Will everyone be looking at me?
Most of us feel self-conscious when we are doing something new, but most gym-goers are too busy doing their own workouts to worry about what you are doing.
Before you start, take a tour of the gym to get familiar with the equipment. Some of it may look a bit daunting but don’t be put off. Ask the gym staff how various machines work and what precautions, if any, need to be taken. You will feel much more conspicuous if you haven’t asked and you fall off! Try to start gently. Lift lighter weights, using easier exercise movements until you get the hang of it. Injuries are more likely to happen if you increase your workout load too quickly.
Make it fun
The key to sustaining your gym-interest in the long term is finding something you really enjoy. Take advantage of the different things on offer. You could book a class with a friend or share a personal training session. Going to the gym regularly together will help motivate you both.
We hope these tips get you off to a flying start. Before you know it you will have evolved from a fledgling ‘newbie’, and flown the nest to become a fully-fledged gym-goer.