First Day At The Gym: Where to begin? What to do? What to bring?

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On my first day at the gym, I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to begin.  When I walked in, a group of guys were dead-lifting and other people were busy running sprints on the treadmills and others were spread out throughout the gym.  Putting it mildly, I felt really out of place.  It was my first time ever working out, I was out of shape, overweight and my confidence was probably just about as low as it could get…

Just as I was about to leave, Jose (an ONYX staff member and personal trainer) walked up to me and asked how I was doing?  I told him “I’m new to the gym. What do I do?”  Jose gave me a quick tour through the club and asked if I wanted to get a free workout in.  I felt more comfortable at this point and said sure.  The workout that I thought would be terrifying turned out to be comfortable, fun and helped me gain much needed confidence.   I don’t even remember all the exercises I did to be honest, but I sure felt the burn.

As you might expect, it took a while before I was ready for day two, but I did eventually come back, and the months of working out since have taught me a lot that I wish I had known on my first day at the gym.  Questions like “what to do my first time working out” or “what things should I bring to the gym” have now become routine.  I pretty much have this workout thing down pat.

As far as the feeling like I don’t belong goes…  I was out of shape to be honest and just felt like I was going to be judged.  That wasn’t the case and I was welcomed with open arms and that made the entire difference.  My anxiety only took a few weeks to dissipate and the next thing I knew I was getting into a regular routine.

I’ve learned a lot in just a little more than 6 months of working out at ONYX and I’ll share some of those things with you below.

Most important things to know when you’re just starting to workout at a gym:

  • Bring headphones and or a device to play music.  Even if the gym plays music, it may not be to your liking, but most importantly it gives you a familiar sense of comfortableness that you might just need (especially if you’re anything like me).
  • Think about what you plan on doing before you get there and do it.  If it’s a little bit of cardio mixed with machines, just do it.  You don’t want to walk in and think about it because it’s really easy to get overwhelmed.  Go in with a game plan.
  • Wear appropriate workout attire.  Gym shorts, gym shirt, short sleeve or normal t-shirt is fine, appropriate shoes.  Never wear jeans, don’t wear baggy shorts that don’t have a drawstring that can be tightened.
  • Be sure to bring a water bottle or some sort of hydration.  Nothing worse than having to stop in the middle of your workout to get a drink from the drinking fountain.
  • Bring post workout food.  Could be a protein bar, whey protein, peanuts, anything.  I learned that this is really important and helps with increasing muscle mass and keeps your metabolism going.
  • Bring a lock if you plan on using a locker if you’re a weary individual.  If you don’t have a lock, limit what you bring, lock your valuables in your vehicle.  There’s nothing worse than working out and picturing someone stealing your belongings from your unlocked locker.  All thoughts and energy should be directed to your workout.

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