Let's admit it, the gym can be a very intimidating place. It's a place where there can be very fit people who are very focused in what they are doing. Everybody is doing things that is not what you usually see in an everyday basis. Everyone seems to know what they are doing and you have no idea where to start.. If it's your first time in the gym, it is specially intimidating. If you are a newby and you were to ask me for some advise, here are some quick tips I could provide:
1. Hire a Personal Trainer
We all know that not everyone will hire a Personal Trainer due to different reasons: no money, my fitness goals do not need a trainer, there is no trainer available, etc. These may be valid reasons but you still have to consider hiring a personal trainer. It is important to hire a teacher to set you up in the right track. This way, having a trainer will save you not only from plenty of time but also from potential injuries. This in the long run will save or even earn you some money. You may choose to train hard and have the change to get results, or you can train smarter by hiring a Personal Trainer and get results minus wasted time, injuries and money. When hiring a Personal Trainer, make sure you hire a good one (future blog = how to hire a good personal trainer).
2. Read the Gym Guidelines
Most gym are mandated to have guidelines, usually at the entrance or any where it can easily be seen in the gym. Take some time reading it and you will feel more comfortable with your workouts. If you already are a gym goer and until this point you haven't read your gym's guideline, I would advise to make a stopover for a read before doing your exercise. Every gyms have modified guidelines so it is always worth checking it out whenever you visit a new gym.
3. Set a short term and a long term goal
It is important to have clear long term goals; however, having this goals can cause us to get distracted, lose focus and be frustrated. To resolve this, short term goals can come to play. It includes doing small things in the nearest future. For example, on your first day in the gym, instead of paying too much attention to losing 20 lbs of weight, it is better to pay more attention to your current goal for the day. For example, if you wanted to do 8 reps of squats, do it and set more small goals. While this strategy will not work for everyone, it is known to be very effective.
4. Avoid the treadmill
The treadmill is a convenient machine. It feels like a safe space where your short term goal can be accomplished on. As a trainer, I will advise you to consider stretching and working on your posture. Most trainer will not spend their time training their clients in this machine, unless there are special reasons. If you really insist of running, I would probably advise you to go outside instead (future blog post about breathing will support this advise).
5. Work on your posture
The foundation of proper exercise is posture. Do not start lifting weights unless you are sure that your posture is correct. Most gyms will typically have mirrors all over because it is meant to help you look at your posture. You should take sometime looking at yourself and find areas of improvements. Stretching exercise are also important as it can help you improve posture. A self assessment on posture can be not as effective because there are things we cannot see in ourselves. A second person, specially a personal trainer, can usually give you a better feedback about your posture better than yourself.
WARNING: Exercising with improper posture can cause injuries.
Being in a gym for the first time is a pretty exciting event and intimidating at the same time. It is normal to feel overwhelmed. It important for youto congratulate yourself for making a step towards your health goals. I hope my advise can help you feel better about the gym. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or leave any comments. What would you advise someone new in the gym?