Five Things to Know When Starting at the Gym

Five things to know when starting at the gym? Obviously, there could be many more than this but I thought I’d share a few ideas.

Many of us don’t go to the gym regularly so that when we sign up, we feel overwhelmed. It can be intimidating to go to the gym but it can also be enjoyable. Here are some tips to help make starting at a gym a rewarding experience.

  1. Don’t overdo it. We get excited to start our new fitness routine and tend to over do it with weight or repetitions when we first get there. After all, if some is good, more is better, right? Wrong, in this case. All you’ll end up doing is hurting yourself. Your muscles will be too sore to return to the gym in a couple of days and that will be the end of that. Instead, start easy. Focus on form. Maybe don’t even use weights. Just do the workout without the weights and do a few more reps. I suspect you’ll still feel it the next day but you should be able to return to the gym in a couple of days, still feeling enthusiastic.
  2. Go to the gym two or three times a week. That way you can begin to build a routine and begin to challenge your body in a consistent way. Your body needs to have a change to repair itself in between sessions so be sure to have some rest days. You can also throw in a day or two of cardio and perhaps a day of gentle yoga.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your gym has trainers available to answer questions and show you how to use a piece of equipment or how to set up something. That’s what they’re there for and they are happy to help you. (If they’re not happy to help, you probably need to find a different gym.)
  4. Check out the classes. Most gyms have group classes. This is a great way to learn some new workout routines and get challenged in some new ways. If you’re a social person, classes help you get to meet people. If you’re not social, there’s no need to chat. Just focus on what the instructor says and enjoy the class.
  5. You’re the important person here. Do not worry what others are doing. Don’t discourage yourself by wondering why someone can lift twice as much as you. Your workout is all about you and your progress. Just focus on your own workout and don’t let competition with others discourage you. You really want to be competing with your past self. Each workout is a chance to do a bit more in some way.

There are certainly more things you can do to make going to the gym a rewarding experience but these five things to know when starting at the gym should help you get off to a good start. If you want some more suggestions about working out at the gym, check out this article about gym etiquette I wrote a couple of years ago.

What advice would you share with others? Let me know at or comment below.

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