8 Tips For The Gym Newbie

I’ve joined a gym – now what?

First of all, congratulations on having the courage and bravery to finally decide to lace up those training shoes that've been sitting in the back of your wardrobe for a while, gathering dust! That in itself is quite an achievement. 

Now that you've signed on the dotted line and joined the gym, you might have 'the fear'... what do you do next?

Going to a gym for the first time can be a daunting experience - whether it's your first time EVER or your first time in a new gym, the experience can be much the same. Intimidating noises, everybody knows each other at class and you feel like a spare prick at a party and there are even women who look like they LIVE in this place. Not to mention the 5' 9" slender woman running like a gazelle on the treadmill next to you whilst you're trying to work out how to actually start the bloody thing.

I get it. I've been there. Recently, in fact. Having moved around a lot lately I've had to get used to training in new gyms every few weeks. It's scary, I understand how you feel! So here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Make sure you've had a proper tour of the facility and know where the changing rooms / lockers / showers / toilets are. This should be standard when you sign up, and it's always a good idea to know where the changing rooms are so you can make a beeline for them when you go in to exercise for the first time.

2. Go with a friend, if you can. Rope one of your pals in to be your moral support, even if it's just for your first time. Trust me, this one is probably one of the best tips I can give you.

3. If you don't know how to use something, ASK. The instructors are there to help you, and most of the time they'll actually be really pleased to help you out - it'll give them some purpose other than cleaning the treadmills for the 3rd time that day (I've been there - 2 years as a gym instructor).

4. Everybody has to start somewhere. That gazelle lady on the treadmill? She had a 'first time' too, and she probably remembers it like it was yesterday. Nobody is there to judge you, and you are not competing against anybody else. You're there for you - focus on you.

5. Invest in a good sports bra. Seriously - this is not something to scrimp on. A good sports bra will cost you between £35-40, but it's worth every penny. Trust me, you'll thank me for this when you go to your first Body Combat class. 

6. You don't need fancy matching outfits. Leave that to the Crossfitters 😛 Seriously though, a decent pair of leggings and a comfortable t-shirt (over your sports bra) will be fine. A supportive pair of trainers is a must too.

7. Speaking of leggings - it's worth investing in a decent pair. Why? Because cheap black leggings will leave NOTHING to the imagination when you start your squats. 8 years as a fitness instructor and I have seen a LOT of bum cracks. Not complaining, but it might be worth considering.

8. Have a plan of action. You'll want some sort of program to follow - that way you won't be wandering aimlessly around like a lost puppy. Ask the gym instructor to write you a program after your induction with them is finished. Or if you'd prefer to follow online programming - contact me about online training plans I can create for you.

To find out about online coaching programs email rachael@ditchthedietacademy.com

"All in or all out" Rachael is a vibrant, no-bullshit-talking Scottish nutrition geek and coach helping women to lose weight without giving up their confidence OR their favourite foods.

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