(Closed) First time going to the gym help!

posted 5 years ago in Fitness
Post # 2
Member
146 posts
Blushing bee

Form is really important IMO. Get someone to show you the proper way to do weighted exercises – you’ll get the most out of your workouts and lessen the chance of injury. 

Post # 3
Member
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

Take it slow. When I started running it was all about the baby steps- it doesn’t matter how long it takes you as long as you get there. 

Every time I go to the gym I’m always the most inspired by newbies. Keep doing your thing and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. When you compare yourself that’s when it’s easy to become deterred. 

Post # 4
Member
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

*and etiquette: Wipe whatever you use down! Don’t leave it sweaty ๐Ÿ˜‰

Post # 5
Member
2347 posts
Buzzing bee

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Rubyrain88:  Hey! First off, good for you for starting! Getting started is often the hardest part of getting fit. Here are my tips for a gym newbie: 

1. Have some kind of plan. A gym can be intimidating if you have no idea what anything is. Look up a few workouts you feel comfortable with before you go so all the machines don’t psych you out. For your first couple of trips just stick to what you know and then you can gradually expand from there. If you’re not super in shape start with something easy, maybe eliptical machine, leg press, and light free weights.   

2. Know that everyone is focusing on themselves. Don’t worry about people watching you. I promise no one is watching you. 

3. STRETCH!!!! I see so many new workout people do like a 45 second stretch and then start lifting. This is bad. Do a real stretch before you start your workout. 

4. Be aware around lifters. If you have to walk past machines/weights where people are working out maintain a safe distance. Sometimes people walk super close to you when you’re lifting or whatever and it’s super annoying. I actually kicked a guy once (accidentally) because he got so close to me and he was behind me so I couldn’t see him. 

5. I second the form comment. Taking group classes and looking up videos online can help improve your form. Technique is EVERYTHING when it comes to working out. I’m a trained dancer and sometimes I take zumba fitness type classes. Almost without fail I am dripping with sweat 10 minutes in and no one else is. It’s not because I’m out of shape it’s because I’m literally working more muscles during every movement than they are. Look at it this way, proper technique means you spend less time in the gym and lose weight faster. 

Other than that just be patient! People expect instant results, but working out is just like earning a degree or getting a promotion. It requires you to play the long game and stick with it. Best of luck!!!! Any other specific questions or anxieties? I can imagine it’s a bit intimidating to start out and I’m kind of a fitness freak. 

Post # 6
Member
7897 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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Rubyrain88:  Motivation is half the battle. You will be great! For your first time there, ask the gym attendant to give you a tour of the facility. That way you know what’s available, and they can show you how to use the equipment properly. 

Don’t get too caught up with the other gym users. You’ll find your groove soon enough. Good luck!

Post # 7
Member
2180 posts
Buzzing bee

Everyone has great advice! In terms of etiquette, wipe down whatever you’ve used, put it back where you found it (re-rack free weights, etc) and don’t linger around equipment you’re not immediately using. And don’t be afraid to tell people no if they try to bully you out of a space or piece of equipment. 

Post # 8
Member
11341 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

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Speck_:  

I totally cosign the not lingering on equipment you’re not using!  Makes me crazy when people sit on equipment to play with their phones, oblivious to those of us waiting to use it.

Not that you would ever do that, OP.  Just wanted to get my mini rant out there.

And I definitely second the advice to get someone to show you how to use the equipment.  When I first joined Golds many years ago, they provided a free session with a trainer for that, which was great.  It would be well worth the cost of a session to get good guidance on the equipment.  Please don’t rely on other gym members–a lot of them don’t know what they’re doing.

Not only is form important, but you also want to prevent injuries.

Post # 10
Member
11341 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

Wow, 5 free pt sessions is a great perk!

Absolutely, people at the gym are focused on themselves.  And everyone had to start somewhere.

Fast walking is excellent exercise!  How many minutes a day are you doing?

Post # 11
Member
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

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Rubyrain88:  

Drink a lot of water the day before and day of your workout. Being properly hydrated not only gives you more energy, but it helps prevent soreness. Also, protein! Lean protein. Protein is a vital building block to your body. Not just muscles, but hormones and general functioning. Make sure you get enough protein for your body.  

Bring earbuds and a lot of water and something to deal with your hair in your face. haha. 

Nobody at the gym actually cares that you’re there, so don’t be nervous! ๐Ÿ˜‰ They all just care about themselves and if anyone is paying attention to them. So definitely no worries.

I’d strongly advise you to invest in a Heart Rate Monitor. It tracks your heart rate and calculates calories (by age, sex, weight, etc). For me, it always pushes me because I like to round out my calorie count. Haha. It’s also nice to keep track because some days I feel like I’m really pushing myself, but my heart rate says “Nope. You suck today.” And I have to push harder to get to my norm. The Polar FT7 is a pretty good one to start with (amazon or ebay).
Seeing how difficult it is to get to 150 calories definitely makes you think twice about eating that cookie ;D

Get someone to help you for sure at the very beginning. If you’re not doing it right, it won’t work (or nearly as quickly) and/or you’ll hurt yourself. If your gym has classes, start with those too so you can get more comfortable and get a feel of “pushing” yourself correctly. People don’t really understand that if it’s not uncomfortable, nothing is changing (basically). Classes can help you push yourself more easily and in a more structured way.

Make sure if you’re huffing and puffing after you’re done, keep walking around or biking or whatever you’re doing until you’re breathing normally again. This isn’t just to keep you from passing out, but over time, varicose veins could appear on your legs from the blood pooling in them. So make sure you don’t go from super huffy-puffy to completely sedentary. Walk around, move your legs, whatever until you’re breathing normally. This helps your body return to its normal state.  

Don’t stretch at the beginning. “Stretching” is for when you’re done and you’re cooling down and will do very little for you at the beginning of a workout and worse, not prepare you for what you’re going to be doing and you’ll be more likely to hurt yourself. Worse still, if you stretch a cold muscle, you could potentially damage it. So… no stretching at the beginning. You want to prepare to work out by getting your circulatory system going, body temperature higher, and blood and nutrients and oxygen pumping into your muscles (i.e. “warmed up”)… basically it prepares your body for more strenuous activity. You should warm up by doing easy movements of whatever you plan on doing, if possible. So if you are weight-lifting, start with very light weights and go through a the movements, or do squats without weights, etc. If you’re on a bike, start slowly for about 5 minutes and then do varying resistance levels for another 5 minutes. If you’re going to run or be on the elliptical, start with walking and then brisk walking. 

Stretch when you’re done your workout. This helps flexibility. It also helps long term because as you work out your muscles have contracted repeatedly and are often left tight or shortened. Stretching them out helps revert this process. Also, don’t bounce anything when you stretch. 

Definitely if you try and do weights, get some help because almost nobody knows the proper forms… especially when doing squats. Ask them how to breathe when you’re working out too, because that’s an overlooked but important aspect. Also, whenever you work with weights, remember that you should be feeling it in whatever body part you’re working. A lot of people will do some move… say, bicep curls, but if they’re slightly off they won’t feel it in their biceps, but they just think “I’m lifting the weight and doing the movement seemingly correctly” and don’t really realize that they’re not working the body part that they intend to work on. 

Um… yes. There’s a lot. haha.
Also, what is your goal? Why are you at the gym?

 

Post # 12
Member
9581 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

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Rubyrain88:  For cardio just crank the incline on the treadmill up to 10% and walk fast- 4mph. Unless you’re a runner! I hate running, hurts my joints. But power walk at an incline gets your heart rate up and tones your legs and tush. Do it for a 1/2 hr

Post # 13
Member
2129 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

 

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Rubyrain88:  I agree with PP that form is so so important. Don’t worry about trying to keep up with everybody else in class because you could hurt yourself in the process and they are not paying you any mind anyway. Focus on yourself and how you’re feeling, listen to your body. That’s great you get 5 PT sessions. Cardio will help shrink your misdection ( along with proper eating) but don’t neglect weight training. If possible you should fit in cardio, weight training, and some form of stretching (like yoga) every week. Good luck!!

Post # 14
Member
5789 posts
Bee Keeper

If you’re a newbie to gyms an important rule of etiquette is no cell phones being used in the change rooms! Because cell phones have cameras, it’s a strict no-no to protect people’s privacy. So if you have to check your messages or make a call before or after your workout, do it once you’re outside the change room. 

Definitely take advantage of the PT sessions! Book an appt for one asap so he/she can show you around, show you proper use of equipment and how to adjust the machines. And always wiping down with spray bottles provided is essential etiquette. 

Dress comfortably! There are all shapes, sizes, ages there and people are focused on their own workouts so no matter what, don’t feel judged or ‘watched’ or feel you have to look fashionable- in fact, I suggest no make up since you’ll be working up a sweat. 

Good luck!

Post # 15
Member
5874 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

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Rubyrain88:  Good for you!

If you’ve litterally never belonged to a gym before, I would make sure to ask for one of the staff members to give you a tour (this is a normal thing they do for new members).  Tell them you’ve never belonged to a gym before and ask them to let you know the typical etiquite in this gym.  

I new gym can be a bit intimidating, but there is really nothing to be scared of.  Just get out there a few days a week and you’ll feel at home in no time.

If you aren’t too familar with working out, consider trying some of the classes offered at your gym, or hire a trainer for a few sessions to get you started on the right foot.

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