As a former personal trainer, Sarah is passionate about all things health, beauty, and self care.
If you’ve never been a big gym goer and are finally trying to make it a part of your regular routine, there is a huge possibility that your first few visits will be intimidating and maybe even demotivating. The hardest part for first time gym goers is being faced with the many machines to choose from, the many thoughts running through your head about all the things you’ve read on the internet about one or the other exercise, and the supposed stares from all those fit people who already know what they’re doing (trust me, no one is looking at you, and everyone is at the gym for self improvement). The most intimidating part of all, is not knowing where to start and being unsure about how to perform certain exercises. Finding motivation and confidence at the gym go hand in hand, so here are a few tips to help you get your foot in the door to start your fitness journey once and for all.
Try to explore different options, and stick with the one you like the most
There are endless ways to work out. While most people think of working out as lifting heavy weights and running as fast as you can for an hour, working out can really be whatever you want it to be as long as you are being active and are maintaining good form. There are a lot of different types of sports, including tennis, soccer, swimming, and basketball (amongst many others), and there are more competition and performance based ways of exercising, like bodybuilding and endurance training. Whatever it is that you’re interested in, go for it. Most gyms offer classes, so if you want to explore your options that way, go ahead. You can try a yoga class, running class, or even a weight lifting class.
You're not an athlete - you don't have to train like one either
The most important thing, especially when you are starting out, is consistency. It doesn’t really matter if you only go for 20 minutes, as long as you go 3 - 5 times a week. Over time, you can always add more to your routine. A great way to get into the habit of going regularly is to take classes. While it may be intimidating to enter a class with a bunch of people you don’t know, remember that you are all there for the same reason. Most people who take classes aren’t advanced gym goers, so don’t let the many people next to you in your class intimidate you. They are trying to learn, just as much as you are. In addition, being in a class will honestly make it harder to leave. When you’re at the gym doing your own thing, you can easily stop ten minutes later and say “I think I’m done for the day”. In a class, you don’t have this luxury. Most classes are 45 to 60 minutes long, and while anyone is welcome to leave at any time, it may be a little embarrassing, so choose your exit wisely.
Save some songs to hype you up
If there is one thing you do, please let it be to make a playlist designed exclusively for the gym. Take your favorite songs that make you feel confident and get you in an excited mood and put them in a playlist. This playlist will not only help keep you motivated, but will also keep you running on point, and will make your workout fly by. Workout playlists are a must.
Find a gym buddy
A great way to start getting motivated is to work out with a friend. Working out with a friend can be fun, and could even be turned into a friendly challenge. Try to beat each other's records and come up with each other’s workouts. Working out doesn’t have to be a serious thing. As long as you are staying active and being safe, they can be whatever you want them to be. Race your friend, have fun with it, and you will be far more likely to maintain your routine at the gym. It’s possible that after a few months, your gym buddy will give up or find a different hobby, but don’t let this demotivate you. As long as you enjoy what you are doing, stick to it!
Personal trainers and compound exercises
If you really don’t know where to start, and don’t want to spend an hour on the treadmill uncomfortably, consider hiring a personal trainer for your first three months at the gym. The first thing they will teach you is how to perform the most important compound exercises, which involve all of your core muscles. The main four exercises that you should know how to do are push-ups, pull-ups, deadlifts, and squats. Once you have these down, your workouts will be a piece of cake. You can then move on to more advanced versions of these exercises, and soon create your own fun workouts. Once you have a few exercises down, you’ll start developing preferences, which will eventually also help you understand what kind of exercising is right for you.
Exercising should be fun
Aside from the ultimate point of working out, which is to be healthy and active, exercising should be fun. The best way to maintain a routine and truly make working out a habit is to find an activity that you enjoy. If you feel like you are forcing yourself to go to the gym, then you’re not doing it right. Whatever your goal is, whether it is to build muscle, run a marathon, or become more flexible, your first goal should be to start somewhere, and that can be anywhere. Most avid gym goers love going to the gym. Of course, everyone has those off days, but overall going to the gym should be a relaxing experience for you. Be sure to find something that will make it exactly that.