Here's a typical scenario in January: you have a new fitness membership that you're eager to try. But once you set foot into the gym, you're completely lost as to what you're supposed to do.
You could jump on the treadmill, but how fast should you be running to burn fat? Maybe you want to start weight training but the idea of lifting barbells now has you breaking out in a sweat, and not the good kind either.
You're in good company. A 2018 survey found that a fifth of 2,000 adults have no idea how to use gym machinery, while a further 23% say they’re too embarrassed to use the equipment. Even still 25% said they were too embarrassed to ask for help.
If this sounds like you, fear not. Here are some tips on how to get started at the gym so that you're feeling more comfortable and confident in no time.
1. Look at Social Media
From Instagram to Pinterest, social media can provide a lot of information and inspiration for fitness routines and tips. Pinterest has a number of resources from treadmill workouts to HIIT routines to ideas on how to get the most from your stairclimber. And, of course, Instagram is filled with #fitspo from fitness routines to nutrition tips. However, beware: there are a ton of people who post videos using improper form and technique. Your best bet is to follow certified personal trainers.
2. Join a Fitness Class
Joining a fitness class is an excellent starting point for gym newbies. You not only to get to dip your toes in a variety of classes and instructors will help you get situated with the right form and equipment so that you feel confident about what you're doing.
3. Splurge on a Personal Trainer
While personal training can be pricey, it can be worth to splurge on a few sessions. A personal trainer will design a fitness program specifically for your body and needs and will help familiarize you with a range of equipment and movements, while also ensuring you're using the correct form and technique. Afterward, when your sessions are up, you can take your program to the gym and use it on your own.
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4. Educate Yourself
Preparation is everything. Before you set foot in the gym, research all you can on what you want to accomplish. Do you want to become stronger with weight lifting? Do you want to work on your cardio endurance? Then do your research. Read blogs and books, watch YouTube videos, and ask trainers at the gym for assistance. Then come up with your own fitness plans, including reps and weight, and your strength training and cardio days. That way, you'll know exactly what you'll be doing on that particular day.
Also, keep in mind that exercising is trial-by-error. You must try new moves in order to know what they feel like in your body. Watch yourself in the mirror. Do some moves hurt you? How does the incline feature on the treadmill make you feel? How sore are you after? Your body is your biggest indicator as to what you're doing right or wrong.
5. Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
A new gym is intimidating for everyone. If your gym doesn't provide one already, don't be afraid to ask for a tour with a personal trainer or gym employee so you feel more acquainted with your surroundings. And when in doubt, ask! If you see a personal trainer or an experienced gym-goer, don't be scared to ask for some assistance. You might feel silly for asking, but it's better to ask for help than to try to attempt something in the wrong way.
Remember: everyone was a gym newbie at some point. In no time, you'll be more confident and comfortable with your new surroundings and fitness routine.
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