Going to the gym for the first time can be scary, daunting, emotional and challenging all at once. Knowing what to expect before you walk in to a gym can be the difference between deciding to go or not to go. I’ve put together a list of 10 things to expect on your first time at the gym to make it a little less challenging for that initial workout.
You will need to take a towel and a water bottle.
Taking a towel and water bottle to the gym is an absolute must. Not only should you put your towel down on the equipment to create a barrier between you and other peoples built up sweat (gross!), you should have a towel to wipe your own sweat whilst you’re working out.
A water bottle means that you have the opportunity to hydrate throughout your workout. Staying hydrated and consuming enough water daily is important when it comes to reaching your goals so make sure you don’t forget your water bottle. Most gyms also have fountains where you can refill your bottle throughout your time there. I’ve often found this is super convenient if you decide to do more than one class or do a class and then lift some weights for a double session.
There will be a changing area with lockers.
There will be a place for you to get changed and showered including a space for you to store your things. I suggest when you sign up and take your initial tour (before your first workout) you ask how the lockers work – I’ve been to gyms where you had to take your own lock, many gyms have number coded locks or locks that are activated by your gym membership card.
The exception to this is small personal training studios and some of the new, smaller crossfit style gyms that have become popular in recent years. If you’re attending one of these gyms check what facilities they have before you go for the first time.
There will be trainers on the floor.
There will be trainers walking the floor who are there to help you. If they’re not with a client feel free to ask them questions. I do recommend following a workout program like the Sweat App or there are some great training videos on instagram. If you’re not keen to venture in to the gym cardio or weight area just yet, sign up for some classes – my favourites are Spin and Reformer Pilates.
Expect that there will be a weights area, don’t be afraid of this.
Even if you don’t want to give the weights a go on your very first time at the gym try and transition to this as soon as you can. Don’t get caught in the cardio bunny cycle of just doing cardio classes every time you go and reap the benefits of weight training as soon as you feel comfortable. There will be totally ripped gym-goers wandering around in here, don’t let it intimidate you.
There will be a scale.
My old friend. Every gym generally has a scale or body scan equipment and if you work with a PT or sign up for a challenge they will want to weigh you. I find the body scan a great yardstick of how I’m going at the gym and use it weekly. The thing to remember is that it’s just a number and progress isn’t exclusive to the scale.
All the equipment you need will be there for you.
Everything you need will be at the gym. There are some instances in which I suggest you DON’T use the provided equipment. Boxing Gloves and Yoga Mats are the things that I really recommend you get your own. Mostly because no one wants to put their hands into gross boxing gloves that thousands of others have used. The same philosophy stands for Yoga mats, you’re all over them, sometimes in hot and sweaty environments. I also own my own mini-bands for band workouts, mostly because I just like to have my own.
You will be surrounded by people who are #fitspo
There will be plenty of people at the gym who have been doing this much longer than you have. They might be stricter on their diet or just come to the gym way more often than you do. Don’t fall in to the comparison trap – you’re on your own journey and you need to stay true to that.
There will be opportunities, and you should take them.
The gym is a place where they want you to succeed. You’ll be surrounded by opportunities to try something different and reach your goals. Often gyms will run free challenge programs for members and there’s always new classes to try. Take as many opportunities as you can to reach your goals.
There will be days you don’t want to come.
After your very first workout chances are you’ll be super motivated and keen to go back. However, not every day is like this; there will be days when it’s cold and raining, days when you’re sore and days when you just can’t face it. That’s okay and even the most motivated of gym-goes goes through this. Take every day as it comes, be kind to yourself and listen to your body.
Expect that you’ll never regret a workout, especially your first one.
Even though you won’t always want to go, you’ll never regret a workout. Each workout is one more step towards your goals.
Well done for taking the first step and signing up to a gym, hope you have a great first visit! Let me know how it went in the comments below!
If you’re new to the weight loss and fitness game – I’ve been watching a Youtuber who has a series that is super honest about diet and exercise. I would highly recommend checking out Boo’s videos.