Joining a gym is a big step for someone who is looking to begin exercising. It can seem a bit intimidating too - a lot of sweaty strangers and weird-looking weight machines that you may not know how to use. However, choosing the right gym can be a very rewarding step in your life and lead to new friendships and health.
While I consider consulting with your doctor about a new workout routine first, the second most important thing to do is to choose a gym you feel comfortable in. Are the employees kind? Does anyone make you feel uncomfortable? Is it crowded? First impressions mean a lot, so follow your gut. Each gym has a different culture: some are more social, some may be body builder heaven - you need to find one that you fit in! Here are five things to know before you choose your gym:
1. Find pricing you can afford.
While the saying “you get what you pay for” is usually accurate, it’s not impossible to find a great gym at a reasonable price. Before you go to visit, know the costs and membership plans they have available to avoid any awkward sales tactics. Depending on your state, you can find great gyms for around $15-$40 a month.
2. Ask about the most crowded times.
If you’re the kind of person who gets nervous around large crowds, it might be useful to know when the majority of their members visit. If you like conversation and meeting new people, you’ll know the right times to go too!
3. Research workout routines or ask the employees for help.
If you plan on using the weights (and cardio machines), you need to know how to use them for safety purposes. There are plenty of workout videos on Youtube, or look at some PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT articles for workout ideas! Many gyms offer a first free session to help you get acquainted too.
4. Know what’s in your budget beforehand.
As I said, many gyms offer a free personal training session when you sign up. However, they will generally try to sell you a pack of sessions afterward. Before you take advantage of this perk, I recommend doing your research. Is personal training in your budget? If so, how many sessions do you actually want? They are trained to be salespeople too (trust me - I worked in a gym as a personal trainer for four years). Be stern in your answer and only accept what you’ve already planned for.
5. Give yourself time to settle in!
I feel like joining a new gym is like being a new student in school - it can be awkward at first. Maybe not to others - but for you! That’s completely normal, and my advice would be to do what feels right. If you want to stay on the cardio machines for the first week, do it! If you prefer to grab your weights and head over to the corner, by all means! There are no real rules in a gym, and you’ll find that everyone is all there for the same reason. Put on some great music and try to make the gym “me time.”
Don’t be afraid of trying something new! You’ll be a regular gym-goer in no time. If you’re still unsure about the gym culture, check out this PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT article featuring some common “annoying habits” you should avoid at the gym. Enjoy your new adventure, and get your squat on sis!
Have any more tips about joining a gym? Comment below.