How to Navigate the Gym

The first time you walk into a gym, it can be overwhelming. Depending on the size & type of gym equipment can range from the simple (a few stability balls and yoga mats) to complex and scary (squat racks, crossfit boxes). But no matter what type of gym there are a few things you can do to feel a bit less out of place.

1) Ask for a tour – many gyms offer this to their new members but if yours doesn’t I would start by asking the manager to give you a full tour of the facility including the locker rooms and any special amenities (sauna, steam room, pool, racquetball courts etc) so that you have a true sense of the space and will know where everything is each time you walk through the door.

2) Take advantage of the free personal training session – If the gym offers such a session TAKE IT! Sure, it will most likely open you up to more than a few phone calls from said trainer asking you to buy a package with them (we’ll talk in another post about how to turn down a trainer) but it will also go a LONG way in further introducing you to all the gym has to offer. If the trainer is worth their certification they will sit with you for a bit prior to this first session to assess you, your goals and your fitness level. From there you will be walked through a workout utilizing any and all equipment the trainer feels is appropriate based on your assessment. Keep mental notes – these are the first few pieces of equipment you’ll want to become very familiar with as you start your routine.

3) Take a Class – by taking one of the many classes offered at your gym you’ll not only get an idea of the types of classes the gym offers but you’ll meet another professional that works at the facility and you’ll be introduced to other members. Having friendly and familiar faces around you as you learn the ropes will help you stick to a program for a lot longer than if you were to go it alone all the time. Plus, you may find out that you LOVE Zumba, or spinning!

4) Be Ready – for each and every workout. Make sure you have your water, your towel, your sneakers – anything you think you’ll use during your workouts. The last thing you want to do is flounder around trying to find things after you’re already there.

5) Learn Gym Etiquette – for real. This is uber important. Re-rack your weights, wipe down your cardio/weight equipment, learn how to “work in” with others, don’t hog all the weights – the list goes on and on. Seasoned gym goers will be more likely to help you get the lay of the land and feel comfortable in “their” gym if they feel like you know the “rules” …. eventually you’ll be one of them!

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Christy and Rachael

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