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The First 3 Things to Do on Your First Day at the Gym


A confused guy in the gym holds a kettlebell upside down

Joining a new gym is exciting! It's like being a kid at a new playground and there is all this fun stuff to try out and play with. At least, that's how it is for me :)


I understand that maybe not everyone shares my enthusiasm, and it's normal to be a little shy or uncertain. If you're new to working out, start with these 3 tips to pace yourself and begin on a high note at your new gym.


1. Pick ONE Thing to Focus On

If you've never had a workout program before, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what to do. But chances are if you made the decision to join a gym, you probably had a reason in mind. Pick one exercise that will help with your goal and make a short workout around it.


Maybe you want to grow your legs and glutes; do several sets of a machine leg press. If you want a more impressive upper body, hit the shoulder press for a few rounds.


What's nice is if you're totally new and you do just a few sets of one exercise, that's STILL a huge accomplishment you should be happy with. But you might find that once you start, you want to keep going, in which case, keep up the momentum and add a few extra moves! For the shoulder example, that might be adding a couple bicep and tricep sets.

It's fine to not have perfect form or use heavy weight on your first day; learning weight training is much like learning a new sport, and just like any sport, you won't be a pro right away. Enjoy the process of learning!


2. Sign Up for a Class

If you're still shy about trying a new exercise on your own, many gyms offer a free orientation or welcome class to get you acquainted with the equipment or workout programs. The upside is it takes all the pressure and guesswork out of putting a workout together and you'll likely be in the hands of an expert. And by signing up on your first day, you've already planned what you'll do on your second day.


I sometimes teach a free orientation class at my gym, and I've seen many members who were shy at first start to branch out to other exercises and come up with successful workout routines of their own.


Go to class!


3. Ask a Trainer What Their Favorite Exercise Is

If the trainers at your gym love what they do as much as I do, they certainly also love talking about it! You'll probably get a great suggestion to follow up your focus exercise with.

The other great thing is that if you've been considering hiring a trainer, asking them a question could be a GREAT way to get a sense of what it would be like to work with them. Training sessions are WAY better when the trainer and client are a good fit (my clients and I have a GREAT time!).


BONUS: Make a Friend!

Again with the playground analogy: remember how easy it was to make friends with someone in kindergarten just because you happened to be in the sandbox together or had the same shoes?


I've met some of the best workout partners just by starting a conversation, and few things in the gym are as fun as having someone to make some gains with! Some of my favorite workouts are simply me trying what someone else is doing and getting out of my own routine for a day.


On top of all that, having someone else to keep your word to also helps you keep integrity with yourself. If regular exercise isn't yet an ingrained practice for you, having all the help and encouragement you can get is vital to your progress.

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