The Gym Can Be Scary: Here’s Where To Start
The first time I walked into the gym, I resembled a junior infant on their first day of primary school. I didn’t know where anything was, how to use the machines, and what the etiquette of my gym was. To be honest, I’m still not sure about that last one.
But what I soon learned is that no one else in my gym noticed the scared look on my face, my aimless wandering around the gym floor, or the fact that I had to search what half the machines were. So if you’re ready to hit the gym but don’t know where to start, grab your favourite workout playlist and take a look at our top tips for starting your gym journey
It’s Ok To Be Nervous
The first few times you go anywhere you’re bound to be nervous, and that’s okay. There’s no shame in admitting you’re not quite sure what the difference is between a hack squat and a goblet squat, or having no clue how to adjust a bench. My top tip is if you’re not sure what to do, head for the treadmill first. Once you get that going, you can watch what’s going on around you, figure out what machines are where, and get some inspo for what everyone else is doing.
We also chatted to qualified PT Keely Smyth who had some advice for newbies; “I understand that gyms can be super scary and intimidating but my main piece of advice would be that we all started somewhere. We have all been beginners in the gym before I would also say that everyone is in there to focus on themselves and they are not even paying attention to you!”
Most gyms will have staff on hand for any questions you have. Maybe it’s showing you a machine, or even putting together a plan for you, they’re there to help you. It might feel like you’re asking silly questions but I can guarantee you they’ve heard that same question 10 times before. Keely echos this, “As personal trainers we will be there to answer any questions you may have and make sure you feel 100% comfortable and confident at all times. The scariest part about the gym is not knowing how to use certain machines, so that is exactly what we are there for”.
Or, if solo workouts aren’t your thing, ask them about any classes on offer. Maybe spinning or pilates is more your thing rather than a treadmill or the stairmaster!
Head To TikTok
TikTok is full of personal trainers sharing their gym tips and tricks for free. A quick search on TikTok and you’ll find explanations for machines, workout ideas, and even recommendations for the best activewear for your new gym journey. One of my favourites is Orlaith O’ Brien, an Irish fitness coach who shares her gym hacks on both TikTok and Instagram. She shows tutorials for different exercises, some beginner workout plans, and shares the safest ways to exercise in a packed gym. There’s so many of this style of videos all over TikTok, so I’m sure you’ll find at least one you can relate to.
Practice Makes Perfect
The first time you go to the gym is not going to be a perfect workout. Neither is the second. And very probably, neither will the third. But as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so of course neither is your gym routine. But the more you go, and the more you get used to your surroundings, the more comfortable you’ll feel in the gym. Like anything, once you get used to it, you’ll wonder what all the stress was for!
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
“The gym should be apart of our lives but it shouldn’t be our WHOLE life” says Keely. “Enjoy the process and the results will follow! Happy and healthy and balanced is always the goal for me and my clients.
For me the gym is my outlet. Of course we all want to look good physically, but I do think the gym is great for our heads too! Results in the gym don’t happen over night, they take time and consistency. So, for me what I try teach my clients is that we can all make results, but also live a happy, healthy and balanced lifestyle.
The gym should be something we enjoy every day and something that makes us feel good, it shouldn’t be a chore. And when it comes to diet/nutrition the same thing applies; fuel your body with nutritious healthy foods that are going to make you feel amazing from the inside out, but always allow yourself a nice treat too and never restrict yourself!”
Of course the gym isn’t for everyone. There’s so many other ways to stay active, from walking to dancing, yoga or even team sports, it’s all about finding what suits you.