Joining and Exercising at a Gym for the First Time

Weight Training

If your looking to join a gym for the first time to either lose weight, get in shape or simply improve your health here’s what you’ll need to know in order help make it a pleasant experience. Plus what you’ll need to take in your gym bag.

Gyms and Types of Memberships

When initially looking for a new gym to train at you’ll find there are various types of memberships on offer at varying prices. Most gyms offer a choice between a full and off peak membership. Off peak simply means you won’t be allowed to use the gymnasium during it’s busiest hours, these memberships will usually cost a bit less than full memberships.

With a full membership package you’ll have unrestricted access to the facility meaning you can exercise any time of day, providing the gym is open. The full tariff will understandably cost more than the off peak deals. Both the full and off peak tariffs will usually require either monthly or annual payments.

Some gyms may offer a pay as you go system where you pay a very small annual fee then just pay each time you want to train. This system can be more suitable for people who only want to exercise from time to time and don’t want the commitment of annual contracts.

The Gym Induction

Right once you’ve found a gym you like with a suitable membership deal it’s time to workout. If your new to exercising in general don’t worry, due to health and safety laws gyms need to give new members an induction which should be included in your fee. Here a trained professional will show you how to correctly use each piece of equipment in the gym so you’ll soon know exactly what your doing.

What You Need To Take With You For Your Workout

Once your ready to begin exercising, although all the equipment is in place for you there’s still a few things you’ll need to pack in your gym bag:

Suitable Clothing – In order to train properly without restriction you’ll need clothes that allow proper movement and also keep you at the right temperature. You want your clothing to be loose enough to allow you full range of movement but at the same time you don’t want them too baggy in case they get caught on equipment.

To help avoid injury you want clothing that will keep you warm if where your training is cold but once you get into your workout you’ll be surprised how hot you can get. For this reason it helps to have additional layers on that can be easily removed during the session. Basically you need to judge how much clothing is needed given the temperature of where your going to be working out.

Suitable Footwear – One area that is often overlooked in exercise is good quality appropriate trainers or shoes. Different types of trainers are designed for different activities, if your going to be spending lots of time on the treadmill you need a specialist running trainer which offers good shock absorption. Likewise if your going to be doing lots of heavy weight training you’ll want footwear which fits well and gives good support, especially around the ankles.

Drinks Bottle – Whether you bring you own drinks to the gym or use the free water supplied it always helps to have a bottle with you. This way you can hydrate any time you feel the need without leaving the piece of equipment your currently on. Being fully hydrated before, during and after your workout is very important both to your performance and health. Drinking plenty of fluids is especially important when training in hotter conditions.

A Towel – You need and are in fact expected to have a towel with you when using the gym, even if you don’t feel the need for one. Creating a big area of sweat on the equipment you’ve just been using and leaving like it is a big no no in the gym. You wouldn’t want to use one covered in someone else’s sweat so you need to wipe off any you leave with a towel before moving to your next exercise, a very important part of gym etiquette.

Weight Lifting Belt and Gloves – If your intending on doing some serious weight training it’s advisable to wear proper gloves to improve grip and a weight belt to reduce the risk of injuries. Although not always essential, generally the heavier the weights your using, the more necessary they are.

MP3 Player and Earphones – This ones more optional than the other items mentioned so far. Many people can train for hours without any need to listen to music, they simply enjoy exercising and that’s all the entertainment they need. If however your the sort of person who gets easily bored or needs their favorite music for inspiration, an MP3 player may be just what you need. Nowadays though many gyms have TV’s on for you to watch and sometimes even built into the equipment, so still no excuse if you don’t want to miss something on telly.

Other Optional Items To Take – Depending on the gym your training at and the type of workouts your doing you may benefit from taking some of these with you. A note book, be it paper or digital can be used to log your progress in the gym. Your own padlock can be useful if your gyms locker rooms still use them, having your own lock and key can give you that extra peace of mind. Last of all it’s always handy to have some deodorant or perfume with you in case you start to whiff a bit mid session.