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How to Get Started at the Gym

How to get started at the gym

Practice makes perfect

It’s crazy, but overtime, with repetition and confidence things become easy. Your knowledge increases and you trust your own instinct. Well, the same applies to the gym.

I remember when I first went to the gym, I felt totally out of place and I thought that even the way I picked up a weight must have been wrong. It’s funny now that when I look back at it, as long as I am not mimicking one of those crazy people in the gym doing a headstand in the squat rack, I really couldn’t have been doing all that much wrong, and therefore had no reason for anyone to be staring, judging or even caring.

I know now that when you’re at the gym, no one really cares what you are doing. They are there for the same reason you are, and they probably don’t want to spend any more time in the place than you do. We all have other things to get done in our day.

Doing it is the first step

Getting started at the gym

But insecurities aside, if you’re new to the gym, where on earth do you start?

When you start at a gym, most will at least offer you a guided tour and walk you around when you join. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with the layout, the equipment and classes on offer and maybe ask some questions. So, you now know that the matted area is the perfect space for stretching, not in front of the dumbbell racks.

Many gyms will also offer a couple of free one-on-one personal trainer sessions to get you started and maybe even a program.

Take up the offer! At least until you get a feel for what you should or want to be doing. It’s also your opportunity to try out the equipment with someone that knows exactly how to use it, how to adjust the settings and provide information on proper technique.

Starting gym classes

If you joined a gym with classes such as spin, yoga or boxing these are also a great way for some more coaching time.

These instructors will be happy to help you through the session and keep an eye on you if they know you’re a newbie. You can also easily hide at the back of the class and observe other people as you build your confidence.

Classes and personal trainer can be a great way of familiarising yourself with exercise and the gym.

Sourcing online workouts

Now you have been attending gym classes for a month or two and you’re feeling confident in your knowledge and skill level, you might still not feel confident enough in making up your own gym routine.

But how about changing it up a bit? You can do this by Googling gym workouts. E.g. a specific leg and butt session, a minute HIIT workout or an arms and shoulders session.

One thing I find is that a lot of exercises can have multiple names, so if you don’t know the exercise, try looking up a YouTube clip first. You might find it’s one you are completely familiar with.

Taking the next step

Maybe by now, you want to take your training even further. You can make the decision whether you continue to research, read and find your own workouts or if you want some extra help.

You can also purchase online workouts from reputable couches. Purchasing a training program depends on your budget. But I encourage you to have a goal in mind when making the purchase.

If your aim is weight loss, maybe you don’t need a training program so much, but rather a meal plan?

Maybe your goal is to increase strength or muscle mass. You will be asked the question when you inquire and purchase any program and most likely the program will be customised to this goal. So it’s important to have a good idea.

As well as considering online, you may have excellent local coaches. They are also worth consideration as they are more readily available to discuss and work with you, as well as implement options for other services such as PT sessions, stretching and massages.

So, if you haven’t started at a gym yet, there is only one way to try it, and that’s by getting in there and having some fun. You may find you fall in love with it!

Further Reading

If you're looking to kick things off at the gym as part of a new years resolution, our detailed guide contains everything you need to know.

Nicole is a professional international racing cyclist

Nicole Frain

Formerly working as part of Bulk Nutrients R&D team for many years, Nicole Frain is a food scientist, personal trainer and a professional international cyclist.

She's applied her learnings at the national stage for bodybuilding, and has several qualifications in Food Science, Nutrition and Business!

More about Nicole Frain
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