Are you dying to know how to have complete confidence going into a gym for the first time? Here are the tested and proven life-changing tips that every new gym goer needs to know about.
This post is all about gym tips.
Getting started in a brand new gym is extremely exciting but can also be extremely intimidating. If you are anything like me, you are trying to do as much research possible on how to be fully prepared and not make a fool of yourself your first day. As someone who goes to the gym every single day, I am giving you the top gym tips that my clients and I swear by when going to a new gym for the first time.
You are going to learn about the most important gym tips, from gym equipment, gym workout, gym bag, gym body and gym weights.
After learning about all of the essential gym tips every new gym-goer needs to know about, you’re going to feel insanely prepared when walking in to your new gym for the first time and confident that you will have a wonderful workout.
This post is all about life-changing tips every new gym goer needs to know about.
1. Pick a gym with flexible hours. This is crucial for everyone. If you’re anything like me and you find you have one time you really like to go to the gym, days will come where you have other things going on, and going to the gym at your normal hour just is not possible. When these days happen, you will need to plan ahead as to when you will be working out that day, whether it’s earlier in the morning or later on at night. And that’s okay, as long as you have a gym that is open for an extended period of time. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck missing out on your workout and feeling behind on progress when there is a very simple fix. Having a membership to a gym that is 24 hours or close to it is great because even on the days where you have to move your schedule around, it’s easily doable and saves a lot of time and stress trying to plan a workaround. This is also helpful for days when you don’t feel like seeing or being around a lot of people and just want space to be able to do your own thing. You can always go at a time when the gym is dead and there is practically no one there to help refocus and reset your mind.
2. Be consistent, even if that means just getting there. I will be completely honest, even though I have been working out for as long as I can remember, there are days when I am so mentally and physically exhausted that I don’t feel like working out. There are also days when I’m having a really bad day and I’m just not in a great mood, also resulting in me wanting to stay on the couch and binge watch my favorite shows and snack away. I promise you, even years from now when you are well established in a fitness routine, you will also have days like this. What is most important to remember is that you need to go even on the days you really do not feel like going. Why is this important? Practicing working through hard days will make your subconscious more resilient and it reinforces the habit of persevering through hard times and staying dedicated to goals, even when it feels nearly impossible. As I always like to say, you only regret the workouts you don’t do.
3. Have low to no expectations. Expectations are something we always have. Right now for example, you have the expectation that reading this post will provide you with great tools to use to be successful in a new gym setting. You also probably have the expectation that by going to the gym and working out you will have insane results. While this can be true in a lot of cases, this only holds true if you stay consistent, aren’t eating the wrong foods, and making sure your overall health is in check. Even with all of these factors in place, it can take a really long time to see the kind of change you are hoping for. That is why it’s extremely important to make sure that you have low to no expectations, and any expectations you do have are the right ones.
Which expectations should you have? You should have the expectation to stay consistent with your workout routine. Have the expectation that you will not give up on your goals, even when it gets hard. Have the expectation that you will need to work really hard to have the results you want. Don’t have the expectation to lose 15 pounds in your first week of weightlifting. Especially if you are a person who has never tracked weight loss before and does not know how long it actually takes to lose body fat, having a goal like this will set yourself up for disappointment. Rather than having an extreme expectation, make them more reasonable, achievable, and have very low expectations in terms of how your body should look. This way any small changes that happen you will be more excited about, and you will be more likely to stay consistent with your workout routine.
4. Buddy up. Making friends in a new gym, or even finding friends that will want to go to the gym with you can be hard. If you’re anything like me you may want to reserve the gym time as your personal time to really focus and work on yourself. I love using the gym time to work out all of the stressors from the day and refocus my mind on my goals and what is important to me. However, it is extremely important to have friends that you can call up and have a partner to go to the gym with, especially if you are new to going to the gym or just starting to go to a new gym in general. Why? This is important for several reasons.
As I have said before, there will be days when you do not feel like going to the gym. Friends are great for helping to pull you out of that mindset and make sure you stay on track with your fitness progress. Also, having a great friend at the gym will increase the positive reinforcement that the gym is a positive, happy place. Over time, your mind will associate the gym with a positive, welcoming and inclusive feeling, rather than one that is lonely and intense. Not to mention that having the possibility of seeing friends at the gym is another motivator to go and have a great workout.
5. Water intake. I covered this extensively in my last post, How To Lose Weight Fast In 7 Ridiculously Easy Steps, so I highly recommend reading that for a more in depth analysis of why drinking water is so important, but I will try to sum it up as best as possible. Our bodies are mainly comprised of water and it is essential for survival. All of the systems in our body need an adequate amount of water to function properly and failure to drink water can have serious health consequences. When adding workouts into your daily routine, water will be that much more important to focus on because lack of water can cause dehydration even without working out. Exercising without enough water will speed up the dehydration process and can cause extensive physical harm to your body if taken too far. Make sure to start drinking water early in the day, continuously throughout your workout and even after while your muscles are replenishing.
6. Proper food intake.
Just as water is extremely important, it’s also important to make sure you are fueling your body with the proper nutrients it needs to perform well during a workout. However, it is also important to make sure you are not eating too much prior, or you may feel too full, weighed down and tired to complete a workout. I highly recommend having a nutrient-dense breakfast and a light snack prior to working out at the minimum so your body has the energy it needs to perform. I also highly recommend keeping protein shakes and certain healthy protein bars ready in case you are in a hurry and need to consume something quick and nutritious on the way to the gym. The key takeaway is to not think too much into what to eat before a workout, just keep it light and healthy. As I love to say, less is more.
7. Warm up. I cannot stress the importance of this enough: WARM UP BEFORE WORKING OUT. Especially if you are someone that is new to working out and stepping foot in a gym, making sure your body is properly warmed up for whatever you are about to put it through. Even experienced health and fitness professionals have accidentally injured themselves due to a lack of a proper warmup. Great ways to warm up include dynamic stretching or doing some light cardio such as walking on a treadmill for 10 minutes. The idea of a warmup is to get your heart rate going and prepare the muscles and joints for movement without overworking anything. The warm up is just as important as the workout itself. Think about it, you’ve done so much work researching and preparing to start a new workout routine, don’t put yourself at risk to injure yourself the first day because you neglected this one extremely important step.
8. Proper Rest. This is very self-explanatory. Make sure you are giving your body the time it needs to rest, rejuvenate and recover. Especially in the beginning stages of working out, it will be extremely important to include rest days once or even twice a week minimum to avoid burnout and overworking your muscles.
9. Double everything. I highly recommend keeping a separate gym bag that is only for working out. This is a personal preference for me and I have found it to be extremely helpful. I found that carrying around just one bag or purse for everything got very heavy and annoying very quickly. I used to only keep one bag because there were a lot of things in my purse that I’d also want to bring with me to the gym, so I made it a universal bag. However, one day I decided to buy two of everything from my purse that I wanted to use in my gym bag, such as chapstick, extra contact solution, deodorant, etc., and stored it in a separate gym bag I keep in my car and this has made such a huge difference. This has significantly reduced the amount of clutter I carry on a day to day basis and it keeps my fitness life separate from my work and home life. Not to mention it is always in my car ready to go when I need to go to the gym so there is less I have to keep track of. Keeping things separate and organized is the key to success.
10. Keep a journal.
Journaling has several amazing uses, and each one will come with trial and error to find what you like. For one, journaling is what’s allowing me to give you these amazing gym tips…haha just kidding. But seriously though. Journaling is a great way to keep track of anything and everything you want to keep track of. This includes water, sleep, the exercises you did that day, how you felt before/during/after a workout, etc. Journaling is a great way to keep track of weight and measurements if you are working with a trainer or even if you are checking just for your own weekly progress.
There are many ways to journal. The first is to start your journal in the morning with your weigh-in and measurements update if you choose to keep track of that. Regardless if you are tracking body measurements, you can always keep the journal with you in your gym bag for use while you’re at the gym. Here you can record the weight/sets/reps of the exercises you do, how you feel doing them, and even record exercises you notice other people doing that you’d like to try on another day. I highly recommend setting aside some time on the weekend to plan out your workouts for the week and then taking the journal with you to remember what you planned out. Chances are you’ll notice a lot of other experienced lifters in the gym doing this also because it’s a common practice.
Another way to journal is to only save your fitness journal for at night before bed once your workout, food/water intake and any other activities are done for the day so you can take this time solely to reflect. Set aside five to 10 minutes just to be alone with your thoughts each night and write about anything and everything you felt that day. Even on the days when you don’t feel well, write down what went wrong or why you are having a bad day. Write down why you feel that way and how you can possibly work on to improve the situation so you don’t have more of the same negative habits or thoughts in the future. The same goes for the great days. Write down all the components of your day that made it a great one. This way, when you are having another low day, you’ll be able to recognize any patterns in behavior as well as see just how far you’ve come.
While there are numerous ways to journal, try a few different techniques and see what you like the best. It is only there to help you. Even if this doesn’t sound like something you will get great use out of, try it anyway. Journaling may really surprise you in ways you can’t see yet until you try it.
11. Two words: self-awareness. Self awareness is extremely important because lack of self-awareness in the gym and your surroundings can lead to accidental injuries. If you are not careful maneuvering through a new gym and have headphones in, it can be easy to miss that someone is a little too close to you swinging a barbell or carrying heavy weights. Trust me, you do not want to accidentally get smacked in the head with a barbell because you’re not familiar with the layout of a new gym and you don’t have great self-awareness. It goes along with the same principle as texting and walking. If you are so focused on texting that you lose awareness of your surroundings, you could walk into oncoming traffic or walk straight into a pole or door. Also trust when I say you don’t want to be known in the new gym as the girl who walked straight into the weight rack because she had no idea where she was going. Really focus on being extra careful the first few weeks in a new gym because these injuries happen more often than you might realize.
12. Learn your time. Take full advantage of the fact that you are either just starting to join a gym and workout for the first time or that you are joining a new gym and try going at different times of the day. Try going in the early morning before work for a week and see how you feel about it, then switch it up. During the weekends or on off days go to the gym in the middle of the day after running some errands in the morning and eating a proper nutrient-dense breakfast. The following week, try going right after work and then the week after try going later on at night after giving yourself a few hours after work to rest, recharge and reset.
In high school, I loved going to the gym at 5 am so that way after school was over I had plenty of time to do homework and spend time with family and friends. In college I loved going to the gym between classes for a midday break. After college I love going after work to destress from the day and reset for another long day ahead. I personally loved going at all different points of the day and you never know which one you might like the best. The most important thing is that you find the time you enjoy the most so you are most likely to stick to your routine.
13. Do your research. There are a few things to be researching when starting to go to a new gym. Research the gym itself, know the hours, rules and regulations, etc. In addition to that, if you are someone who is new to weight lifting in general, be sure to research basic gym exercises so you are not going into your first workout blind with absolutely no idea where to begin. If you can, have someone give you a tour of the place so you know where all of the equipment is. Knowing where the equipment is in combination of researching some exercises online, you will be able to create a starter workout will be extremely help exercises (come with a list of exercises you can do with free-weights incase all of the machines are taken during busier times
14. Don’t use too much weight. I know that going to a new gym can be really intimidating, and you may not want to look weak when it feels like everyone around is lifting more weight than you. Trust me, do not compromise your safety for the purpose of appearance, it’s just not worth it. No one cares how much weight you are lifting. Focus on only doing the things that you are comfortable with and use weights you know you have complete control over.
15. Form First. Sure, if you are new to a gym it can be easy to just watch what other people are doing around you and try to do the exact same thing thinking it will give you a great workout. The truth is, it’s just not safe to only go by what you see without thinking through each movement to make sure you are using the right form. Even the most experienced bodybuilders, lifters and athletes hurt themselves from time to time by accidentally picking up a weight the wrong way or by being slightly out of form. To avoid injury, make sure you focus on form with basic exercises and light weights. Once you have perfected the form with lighter weights, then start progressing to a higher weight or a slightly harder variation of the movement.
This post was all about life-changing gym tips that every new gym goer needs to know about.
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