How To Get Started at the Gym, at Any Time

Youniverse Contributor Logan Hogan

If you aren’t used to going to the gym (or even if you just started at a new gym), it can be a daunting experience. It can feel uncomfortable. Scary. Or even just plain icky!

I know every time I’ve been to a new gym — even a hotel gym when I’m traveling — there is always some level of anxiety. Because every gym is different with different rules, different machines, different classes, you name it!

Will I know how to use the machines? Heck, do I even need to use a machine? Where are the bathrooms? What’s the etiquette or procedure for getting on a treadmill or elliptical? How do I sign up for group fitness classes? What on earth am I really supposed to be doing? Will people know I’m new? Will they judge me? What do I do? On and on and on.

Here’s how to confidently find your way around the gym, at ANY time:

First of all, no one is judging you, gym newbie. I promise. Everyone started somewhere. Everyone was once a newbie. Know that you are not alone. New people come to gyms every single day, and you are one of many. We all started somewhere. Know that and know you are on the right path, surrounded by other people who were all once new too.

It’s OK to ask questions

Seriously. Ask questions. Most gyms offer an orientation and tour. Youfit provides a complimentary personal training assessment for new members to help you establish a workout routine and familiarize yourself with the equipment. Talk to a YouCoach to find a plan that’s best for you AND learn the ins and outs of the gym. That’s what they are there for!

Don’t know where a water fountain is, how to get a towel or what class is best for your level? Ask! Ask the front desk, ask the guy next to you, just ask! There will always be someone happy to lend a helping hand. It’s good to ask questions, so speak up to make your experience the best it can be. You may even make a new friend or find a new workout buddy!

Be considerate

Make sure you don’t blare your music too loudly, that you are mindful of your personal space (we can forget if we get too close to other people), wipe down machines when you’re done and make sure you reset or rerack weights in their original spot. Leave everything NICER than you found it — so that you can better help the person who will come after you!

Utilize the Group Fitness Offerings (YouGx)

If you are at a Youfit with group fitness (list at: yougx-schedules), shop around! Don’t just stick with one teacher, one style or one timeslot. Try different classes and see what resonates with you! DO read class schedules and inquire about levels of difficulties. (Beginner’s yoga is a perfect place for newbies, for example — and you may not want to jump right into an Insanity class if you’ve never worked out before. Take things at YOUR level, and know that your level is a great place to be.) Make time to cross-train, try yoga and sculpt or visit a Zumba class.  There’s always a class that’s right for you, experiment to find your favorites (which may change on a day-to-day basis).There’s even Silver Sneakers, which is a perfect program for those 65 years and older.

Enjoy the ride

You’ve already done the most important thing — you’ve signed up for a new gym! (Or you’re thinking about it!) Now is the opportunity to move, to get to know your body and to have fun being healthy. Every day is a journey, and no fitness workout is the same every day. Just enjoy where you’re currently at in your fitness journey and HAVE FUN!

What tips do YOU have for someone who is new to Youfit? Tell us how on Twitter at @Youfit or on Facebook at Youfit Health Clubs.