Gyms can be intimidating. Burly men, burly women, some kind of strange towel/bench etiquette, and machines that look like ye olde torture devices are all part of joining the iron kingdom.
At least that’s what you’ve probably imagined.
Rather, gyms are full of average people – some fit, some not – all working towards the same goal of getting healthier.
Ask any regular gymgoer and you’ll find it’s less “look at me” and more “oh god, don’t look at me I haven’t washed this T-shirt in weeks”.
To help, here are six strategies from the experts to help you survive what will be the first of many gym visits in 2016:
1. Intimidating? Only in your head
Gym owner Cameron Lau, says the gym can be intimidating – but it doesn’t have to be. “Going to the gym for the first time can be as awkward as going on a blind date. Each gym has a different personality or culture. The intimidation factor basically comes from people afraid of looking silly,” Lau told ninemsn Coach.
Jason Simoes, strength and conditioning coach, recommends easing into it with friends if you’re feeling a little nervous. “Being intimidated by the gym is normal, and stems from not knowing what to do or how to do it. A few strategies you can try to overcome it is to go to the gym with friends or trying out a group class,” Simoes told Coach.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Looking silly in the gym is most people’s worst nightmare. They’ve watched every “gym fail” video on Youtube, read up about etiquette and maybe even printed out an exercise plan. “Try not to dwell on the thought of turning up to the gym – just go. Everybody is there to get themselves fitter, and if you find yourself unsure of what to do, simply ask for help,” says Simoes.
“One of the biggest things we see every day in the gym is that people are afraid to ask for help – but the personal trainers are more than happy to guide you on your way.”
3. You don’t need to have a certain level of fitness to begin
A common phrase uttered by many is “I’m not fit enough for the gym yet!”, because there’s a belief that only the ultra-fit belong inside the gym.
Logically, there’s a high chance those people got fit in the gym – and even higher chance that they won’t care about how fit or unfit anyone else is. “People have said ‘I need to get fitter before I do a PT session with you’ to me before. It’s the silliest excuse ever – the gym and PTs are there to help you get fit,” says Lau.
4. Boost confident with new gear
Sporting a pair of brand new tights, fresh kicks or workout tee may give you just the right amount of confidence to get over the line at your first day in the gym.
“Feeling confident in brand new gear is a great way to boost your enthusiasm to go to the gym. If you’re feeling great about yourself you’re probably going to perform great too,” says Simoes.
5. Don’t make common newbie mistakes
Common gym noob mistakes include going too hard too early, not warming up, not taking rest days and performing complicated athlete-level exercise routines.
Simoes recommends easing into your new gym by focusing more on full-body workouts and basic movements, and making sure you get adequate rest between sessions. “There’s no point doing something totally extreme and then being so sore you never return.”
Becoming stronger and fitter takes time, argues Lau, so it’s best to not to pretend that you’ll be an elite weightlifter after spending a fortnight in the gym. “Doing exercise or going to the gym are like learning any other skill. You need someone to teach you and it takes time,” says Lau.
6. Learn your gym etiquette
Etiquette in the gym is a lot like etiquette anywhere else in society – simply treat people how you would want to be treated. Being sweaty however, means you should always take a towel. “The towel is to keep the equipment clean for everybody who uses the gym, and once you’ve finished with a piece of equipment or machine make sure you wipe it down,” recommends Simoes.
“If you think about it another way, potentially thousands of other people have sweat on the same piece of equipment before you, so by bringing a towel you’re keeping yourself clean too.”
Lau takes a more simple approach, saying that the iron-clad rules of the gym are simply a matter of common courtesy. “Put your weights away, bring a towel to wipe your sweat, share equipment, don’t be a douche,” says Lau.
Article sourced from Nine MSN Coach.