A new gym membership is just what you need to set yourself up for a healthy and active year. You know that your body will thank you for it and you’ll be feeling refreshed, healthy and energetic in no time.
But if you’re new to the world of gyms – or even if it’s just been a while since you last visited one – here are our key tips for getting started so that you can feel ready and really make the most of your early gym experiences…
- Set goals
This can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. Maybe it’s as simple as deciding you want to get to the gym three times a week. Maybe you have more complex goals around building up strength or training for an upcoming event. Whatever it is, now’s a good time to think about what your key goals are.
- Choose the right gym
Choosing the right gym is critical. It has to feel like a good fit for you and for what you want. Are the staff welcoming and helpful? Do the opening hours suit you? Is it at a price point that you can afford? According to the trainers at Rec Xpress East Brighton, these kinds of things make a big difference to whether you’re going to have long term success.
- Get some comfortable gear
It doesn’t have to be expensive or flashy stuff, it just needs to be something you feel comfortable in. If you want the best, find some activewear with wicking – this will be really good for drawing moisture away from the skin.
- Avoid peak times while you’re just getting used to what’s where
This certainly isn’t something you need to do, it’s just something that may help you if you want to take your time through your first few sessions. Think about going mid-morning or mid-afternoon, or perhaps waiting ‘til later in the evening once the post-work crowd has moved on. When choosing a gym, think about one with twenty-four-hour access – and with plenty of equipment – so that you can always visit when it suits you and know that you’re going to have access to all the equipment that you want, regardless of whether it’s a busy time or not.
- Eat some energising food
Before a workout it’s a good idea to give your body something to work with, but don’t overdo it. Don’t eat immediately beforehand. Instead, think about grabbing something small and healthy (maybe some nuts and berries, or some other snack that suits you) about an hour prior to your workout. Afterwards, if you’ve really done a heavy workout, you could think about a protein shake or an additional snack.
- Ask staff – that’s why they’re there
Starting at the gym can sometimes be a little intimidating. It takes a while to work out what’s where what your routine should include, and also how to correctly use each piece of equipment. Staff are there to help you – and in fact they love it! Gym staff are always passionate about helping people to feel comfortable at the gym and supporting them to achieve their fitness goals. So ask away – that’s what they’re there for!
Make sure you have your water handy during and after your workout. It’ll help you replenish your system and hold on to that energised feeling.
- Make sure you wipe down equipment after you use it
All good gyms will have guidelines for you and will provide paper towel or hygienic wipes. Make sure you follow their lead – it’s just basic gym etiquette and helps keep the environment nicer for everyone.
- Take it easy – listen to your body
As you’re gearing up and starting to make the gym a part of your normal routine, it’s a good idea to prioritise consistency over intensity. If you go all out on your very first session, you might find it harder to recover and feel ready for your next visit. Instead, think slow and steady wins the race. Your body will build up strength and endurance soon enough – just give it a little time.
- Enjoy those post-workout highs
One of the best things about exercise is how good it makes you feel! Enjoy those endorphins that give you that awesome post-workout buzz!
- Think about whether you want to track your progress
If this is something that appeals to you, then there are lots of ways to do it. There are wearable fitness products that can track your heart rate (and therefore show improvement in your fitness levels) and there are apps where you can log all of your health details and goals. Tracking progress can go a long way to helping you stay motivated through your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
- Warming up and cooling down is important
This is especially true as your body gets used to any new form of activity. You don’t want to go too hard too fast and find your body can’t keep up with your big ideas. Starting with a short warm-up will get your body ready for the workout ahead and will reduce your chances of injury, so don’t skip it!
- Engage a personal trainer
This is a really good idea – especially for the beginning stages. In a month you’ll be a pro at your gym routine, but at the beginning you have to find your way through a whole bunch of new moves, with new muscles and new challenges. Having an expert to guide you is a really good idea, so think about considering a personal trainer even if just for the first few sessions to get you feeling comfortable.
No matter what your starting point is or what your goals are, regular gym visits will get you feeling great. Use our guide as a helpful tool to get you started, then choose the right gym for you. The next thing you know, you’ll be enjoying all that extra energy that comes with feeling fit and healthy!