It’s a new year, which typically means starting a new fitness program is on the top of your list of New Year Resolutions. Gyms can be super intimidating, especially for those who have never set foot inside one before. Not only are the machines — and, LBH, smells — unfamiliar, but there are a few unspoken rules that no one ever really teaches you. That is, until now.
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So whether you’re hitting the treadmill for the first time in a while, or hitting the gym for the first time everrrr, here’s what every gym newbie should know.
Use the Locker Room
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Gyms usually don’t care for a ton of gym bags strewn in front and around equipment. It’s a safety hazard and isn’t really polite for the other members who are trying to use the machines, too. Most gyms have locker rooms, so it’s a good idea to bring a lock with you and stash and secure your personal items in there. If not, bring only your essentials — water bottle, wallet and phone — with you.
Stay off Your Smart Phone
You’re there to sweat — not Snap! We know that it’s super tempting to text your bestie or scroll through Instagram while on the Stairmaster, but if you have the energy to do that, then you’re obviously not putting enough energy into your workout. Also, if you happen to get a call from Mom, your chatting might annoy other members. Instead, think of your exercise session as a time to disconnect from the outside world and connect with your body. Need to zone out to your iTunes workout playlist? Simply switch your phone to Airplane mode.
Wipe Your Equipment Down
Yes, gyms are germy, and other people’s sweat is not cool. That’s why most gyms provide either towels or a sanitary station, or both, to keep the equipment clean and as germ-free as possible. Some equipment, like free weights, don’t need to be wiped down each time, but machines, like the treadmill or the leg press, do. Tip? Wipe both before and after you use them. And remember to always wash your hands post-workout.
No One is Watching You — Really
We know the sitch: It’s a big gym with tons of people and you have no idea what you’re doing, and then all of a sudden you feel like EVERYONE is watching you and you feel totally awk and nervous. But guess what? No one is paying attention to you. As much as that might seem harsh, it’s actually liberating. So go on and use that weird piece of gym equipment. Everyone else is focusing on their own workout — you might as well, too!
Ask for Help
Seriously. That’s what personal trainers are there for. Have a question about a piece of equipment you’d like to try? Check with a trainer from the gym. They’d be more than happy to show you how to properly use it. Same goes for that scary looking weight room. You deserve to be there just as much as those muscle-y men in there. Ask a trainer or an experienced friend for tips on good mechanics and form, and get your strong on.
Remember: everyone was a newbie at one point. Congratulate yourself for making the effort to get fit and healthy. You’ll be a pro in no time.