New to the Gym?

So, you’ve joined a new gym and you’re really ready to get in shape this year. Maybe you even bought a new gym bag or outfit. You walk in for your first day and…

You don’t know where to start. You’re not alone in being unsure of what to do with your membership. Many people express feelings of nervousness about being in a new gym or their FIRST gym. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help make things easier for yourself.

Have a goal: Do you want to build muscle, be able to do a two-minute plank, or concentrate on fat loss? Having a goal will help direct you toward a certain piece of equipment, class or possibly personal training. It also gives you a reason to be there! Make sure your goals are measurable and realistic. This way, you can actually accomplish them and then set more advanced goals.

Consult with a trainer: Most gyms offer a one-time, free meeting with a personal trainer. Take advantage of this. With your goal in mind, bring your list of questions. Do you have an injury you need to overcome or be careful with? Make sure you disclose any medical issues you might have during this meeting so the trainer can steer you away from any exercise that might make it worse. Maybe you’re looking for feedback on your diet or ways you can improve it. If you feel that it is right for you, sign up for one-on-one training. Personal trainers are there to guide you and help you stick to and achieve your goal.

Don’t overlook classes: Commit to trying the classes that are offered at your new gym. Classes offer a variety of exercises from cardio to strength training. You can learn proper form from a certified class instructor. Classes improve confidence and help keep you accountable. Many times, friendships are made in class, and if you go “missing” it is noticed. Your new friends will wonder where you are.

Track your progress: Keep a journal or an app to record your progress. Write down what exercises you are doing along with the weight and the repetitions. Get your body-fat tested when you first join the gym so you have a starting point that you can look back on when you are feeling frustrated. Check your body-fat measurements every four weeks. Remember, it takes four weeks for you to see your body changing. It takes eight weeks for your friends and family to notice and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice. You did not get where you are in a week and you won’t see results in a week. Just. Keep. Going.

Michele Vanderyacht is the general manager of South Salem Epic Fitness.

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