You have taken the first and most important step by deciding to start going to the gym. Whether you used to run regularly and the cold weather has made you think about physical activity indoors, or you feel that you will be more motivated in such an environment than exercising at home, or you are entirely out of shape, we are glad that you have decided to improve yourself and your health.
Newbies in the gym are usually shy, insecure, and afraid of embarrassing themselves. With our tips for beginners, your first time at the gym doesn’t have to be stressful. We have prepared a complete guide on how to start, what to do on your first day at the gym, what to wear, and what to bring in your gym bag, as well as how to create a workout plan.
HOW TO START YOUR FIRST DAY AT THE GYM?
After you decide to work out at the gym, the next thing is to choose a good gym. Search online for gyms near you and select the one you like best. Usually, all gyms have a reception desk, where you will get all the necessary information, such as the gym’s opening hours, price, and whether any special rules must be followed. If you want a personal trainer, ask a gym employee for a recommendation.
You need to know that the discomfort you may feel, which is why you subconsciously put off going to the gym, is only fear of the unknown. After the first day at the gym, that feeling will disappear.
Also, you probably think everyone will look better than you, which makes you feel bad.
What should encourage you is that most people are there because they are not completely satisfied with themselves, and everyone is focused on their training, so they will not pay special attention to you.
WHAT TO WEAR TO THE GYM?
For your first day at the gym, we advise you to dress as comfortably as possible.
You don’t need to buy fancy sportswear to start working out, but you do need to make sure you dress appropriately. The most important thing is that you feel good in your clothes, which are practical for exercising.
Beginners at the gym often make a big mistake by opting for cotton T-shirts and pants. Cotton clothing quickly becomes damp from sweat, which is what you want to avoid in the gym. For the gym, choose clothes made from polyester, nylon, and spandex fabrics.
Do not try to train barefoot or in flip-flops, as you risk injuring yourself. Choose sneakers you will use in the gym and use them only for closed spaces so you do not bring dirt into the training area.
Check out our recommendations of what to wear on your first day at the gym in the table below.
What should you bring to the gym?
These are the basic things your gym bag should contain:
If you want to shower in the gym after training, don’t forget your shower essentials and deodorant.
Also, although it is common for gyms to have good music in the background to provide additional motivation for exercising, you can bring headphones if you wish.
WHAT TO DO FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE GYM?
First, you must consider whether you want to spend your first day at the gym alone, with a friend, or with a professional. For people who have not been involved in physical activity before and do not know the basics, such as warming up, proper breathing during exercise, and cooling down after a workout, we advise starting with someone’s support.
Training with a friend
If you know an acquaintance who regularly goes to the gym, you can ask him/her to spend your first training session with you. Ask him/her to show you how to warm up and use specific gym equipment. Just be careful not to overdo it on the first day. Remember that the person you are training with is in much better physical shape, and you need time to get there.
Even if you don’t know any exercisers, coming to the gym with a friend is not bad. Maybe it’s your friend’s first time at the gym, and you can’t learn anything special from him, but you’ll undoubtedly feel more relaxed and comfortable. Later, when you become more experienced, you may find that you train better alone.
The simplest option is to hire a personal trainer for the first training sessions in the gym. It costs more, but you don’t have to think too much about what to do. You have an expert person who makes you an exercise plan, monitors how you perform the exercises, and gives you all the information you might be interested in. This way, you will be sure that you will not injure yourself or overtrain.
This does not mean you should hire a trainer for a few months. Try the first few visits to the gym, and if you have mastered what you wanted, feel free to continue on your own.
Tips for those coming alone
- Be sure to bring a bottle of water and a towel. Fluid intake is crucial during increased physical activity. Try to drink some water every 15 minutes during the workout. Otherwise, you risk getting exhausted soon. Never forget a towel, and place a towel on the surfaces you lie on. A towel is also necessary for wiping sweat off exercise equipment after use. If you want, bring an extra towel to dry yourself off.
- Start with a warm-up. You can do light warm-up exercises or spend 5 to 10 minutes on the treadmill or bike. While you are warming up, you can observe the other exercisers. Carefully watch how they use the gym equipment and choose the equipment that seems easiest for you to start with.
- It is important not to overreach. Start with sets of 10 repetitions. This means you do a specific exercise 10 times, then take a break of 1 minute. That’s one set. Then repeat ten times, then a short break. A break can be a leisurely walk, a great way to observe and decide which equipment to choose next. Initially, we advise you to do three sets of 10 reps. You can apply this to any equipment you choose. When it comes to weights, increase them gradually as long as you feel comfortable. Do not forget to return all equipment and weights to their place after use.
- Don’t skip the post-workout cooldown. Do stretching exercises to reduce muscle tension and return your heart rate and breathing to normal. About 10 minutes is enough, and that’s how you end your day at the gym.
First, set yourself a goal you want to achieve by going to the gym. Maybe, for example, to lose weight and shape your body or to increase muscle mass. If you have a personal trainer, he or she will prepare the best exercise plan according to your current physical condition and what you want to achieve.
If you are alone, determine how often you’ll go to the gym. For beginners, it is usually three times a week for 45 minutes. Remember that it is necessary to have rest days between training sessions for the body to recover.
After you familiarize yourself with the equipment in the gym and find out which is suitable for which part of the body, you can start designing a workout plan. You can also ask more experienced exercisers in the gym for advice. Many good training programs can be found online. For example, Adam Hameed, the personal trainer at Nuffield Health, has devised an excellent plan for gym beginners.
Don’t wait any longer. Go to the gym. When the first day is over, you’ll think it’s funny how nervous you were. Remember that the gym staff is there to answer anything you don’t understand. Trust us, you’ll soon feel so comfortable that the gym will become your second home.
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