A First Timer’s Guide to the Gym


You’ve made a big step in your fitness pursuits by choosing to join your first gym. You should be congratulated for taking the first step. Now you need to muster the courage to walk through the door and go into the gym. The first time you do this, it could be somewhat intimidating. Here is a guide to help you adjust to your first day at the gym.

It can be daunting the first time you enter the health club with muscle-bound men grunting as they pump heavy weights and women who are in great shape are effortlessly working the stair machines at a fast pace. Even their hair looks terrific when it’s up in a ponytail and they’re sweating profusely. Amidst all this, you’re finally in the gym, but you don’t know what to do or where to start.

The first step is to ask for a tour of the facility if the manager or sign-up salesperson hasn’t shown you around already. At the very least, you can learn where the lockers and showers are. A good way to get started with a new workout routine is to start on with a personal trainer who is experienced with new gym members. This not only helps you learn which machines do what, but the trainer can show the proper way to use the machines for both cardio fitness and resistance training. The trainer can give tips about the best form and technique to help you get the best results. Another advantage to this is you’ll get to know at least one person at the gym right off the bat.

If you can’t afford the fee to hire a trainer for regular sessions, you could ask one to show you around a little and give you some tips. Most gyms are happy to let you speak with the trainers, and they will usually show you a few machines to help build your familiarity with the environment. Fortune favors the bold, so don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with a specialist or instructor.

Some terminology you should understand when using the equipment includes “reps” or repetitions. This is the number of times you perform a movement on a weight machine or with a free-weight apparatus. A “set” is a number of repetitions in a single exercise. Someone might ask if they can “work in” a set with you, which means they are politely letting you know they also want to use the same machine when you are resting.

When the gym is extremely busy in the early evening after people get off work, it is proper etiquette to do shorter cardio sessions on machines such as the treadmill and the elliptical machine. It’s courteous to leave your cell phone in the locker, and make sure the gym has a towel that you can use to wipe up after yourself on the machines, or bring your own if the gym does not supply them.

Entering the gym for the first time is a great step toward your fitness goals. There’s no reason to feel daunted by the experience because there are plenty of people who are happy to help you. Just remember a few common-sense tips, and you are on your way to being a happy new gym member.