by Caitlin H,
Feb 6, 2023
You did it. You committed to your health and fitness and signed up for a gym membership. And now, it’s time to step into that world of weights and cardio machines for the first time. It can feel pretty darn intimidating. That’s more than okay. It’s a brand new situation, and doing anything for the first time can be nerve-wracking.
Thankfully, the gym is actually a place you can have fun and spend time — you just have to set yourself up for success before showing up for the first time.
We rounded up seven ways to make the most of your first gym day, from planning your routine to starting small — and everything in between.
1) Write out your planned routine before going.
Like anything worth succeeding at, planning is essential. Do some research about workouts ahead of when you go. Then, write out the exact routine you will do, including what machines you need and the duration, ahead of time. Keep it simple and include a good mix of cardio and strength training. You can use your phone’s list or notes app, so you’re not walking around with a notebook or piece of paper. Creating your routine ahead of time also helps ensure you complete a full workout.
2) Jam out to some awesome tunes.
Studies show that music with a high tempo can boost endurance and intensity. Before you go to the gym, create a playlist or two of your favorite tunes. Purchase some exercise-friendly earbuds to ensure they’re not slipping out while exercising. Listening to fun, high-tempo music is sure to make the workout even more enjoyable.
3) Chat with the staff.
A friendly face is nice no matter where you go — and that’s especially true when you walk into the gym! Getting familiar with the gym staff is an excellent way to find extra motivation when you walk in the door and receive a warm greeting. Even more importantly, staff members are the most knowledgeable about the equipment. You can use them to ask questions about gym etiquette or how a machine works and get help when something is broken or missing.
4) Begin every workout with a 5-minute warmup.
No matter what routine you planned for yourself, taking the time to warm up your muscles and body will go a long way toward making the workout a success. Walk around the gym briskly or hop on a treadmill. After you’re finished warming up, be sure to stretch, too. Warming up and stretching properly is vital to a good workout.
5) Build on your routine.
Going into the gym on day one and running 5 miles on the treadmill or lifting a heavy dumbbell may be ambitious. Instead, start small and work on building momentum with each visit. This is critical for preventing injury and avoiding muscle fatigue. Overly sore muscles or injuries quickly disrupt your consistency and make it too challenging to go to the gym 4-5 times a week. The most significant reason to build on your routine rather than going all out from the start is the psychological element. Working your way up to longer mileage, time or heavier weights gives you small wins along the way — and the pride that goes along with them.
6) Get in tune with your body.
Working out should be enjoyable. It does not mean pushing through pain or continuing to do something that feels excruciatingly challenging to the point you’re miserable. If you feel pain anywhere in your body, or if it feels like way too much, don’t be ashamed to back off the pace or lower the weight.
7) Avoid anxious thoughts about what other people think about you.
As a gym beginner, it’s easy to feel like everyone else is watching and judging you. In reality, most people there are focused on themselves and their routines. Don’t worry about what anyone else is thinking. Remember, you’re there to improve your own fitness. That’s something to be proud of.
Ultimately, your first day at the gym (and every day after) should be fun. Following these tips will ensure you set yourself up for success, consistency, and some incredible results!
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.