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Unsure? 6 helpful tips for your first time at the gym!

January 3, 2024 - By Karine Larose, M.Sc.

Temps de lecture 4 minutes

A new year means new fitness goals! Sign up for a gym membership and give yourself all the support you need to make this worthy resolution a reality once and for all. Is this your first time at the gym? Are you a bit shy and unsure of where to start? What’s more, you’re concerned about the perception or judgment of others? Here are 6 tips to make your first experience at the gym a positive one and, above all, ensure that you return regularly.

6 tips for your first time at the gym

Visit the gym beforehand

How do I find my way around the gym? Ideally, you should visit the gym before you sign up! Visit the gym and ask for a tour. You’ll discover the various cardiovascular, muscular, and functional training platforms, the locker rooms, the group fitness room, and more. This will help you find your way around the gym later, as well as getting to know the clientele, the staff and the health and fitness professionals who will be at your disposal.

Everything you need in your sports bag!

What to bring to the gym

  • A good pair of sneakers: Of course, you need to wear the right shoes for working out, but what else?
  • A training program: Planning a solo cardio or strength training session? Make sure you have your training plan with you, on your cell phone or on paper.
  • Bring your headphones so you can listen to your favorite music to motivate you.
  • A towel: Always carry a small hand towel to put on your equipment for hygienic reasons and to dry yourself off.
  • A bottle of water: Although drinking fountains are available, it’s a good idea to bring along a bottle of fresh water for regular hydration.
  • A padlock: Bring a padlock so you can put your handbag, coat, boots, and other personal items in the locker.
  • A shower kit: And if you want to go back to work or school after your session, bring a bath towel, flip-flops, fresh undergarments, and your cosmetics kit.

Change in complete privacy

Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of having to change in front of others. In some fitness centers, including Nautilus Plus, you’ll find enclosed changing areas in the locker rooms. These changing rooms are practical and give you all the privacy you need.

Use your familiarization session

How does the fitness equipment work? Start with the confidence of a professional at your side. A familiarization session with a trainer/kinesiologist is a great way to break the ice on your first visit. It’s included with every Nautilus Plus membership. This professional will welcome you and show you around the equipment and explain how it works. It’s also a good opportunity to ask questions and establish a plan based on your goals.

Choosing the right weights

Weights vary according to the exercise performed, the muscles involved, your fitness level, and the targeted objectives. Bear in mind that large muscle groups will be able to support a heavier load. If in doubt, start with lighter weights, then gradually increase. If you want to save time, be efficient and optimize your workouts, a session with a qualified personal trainer is just what you need. In addition to what weights to use, a trainer-kinesiologist can also provide a customized program. That way, you’ll have confidence in your approach, a structure to follow, know exactly what exercises to do and be even more motivated! A session with a trainer is one of the best ways to stay on track and reach your goals! Give yourself a gift and prioritize yourself!

Meet the group class instructor

First time in a group class? Show up a few minutes before class to meet the instructor and introduce yourself. The instructor should be able to guide you through the material you’ll need before taking your place, the exercise modifications available, and will keep a closer eye on you during the session. Do give yourself time to familiarize yourself with the names of the exercises/movements and how to perform them. Don’t compare yourself to others. Fitness and experience levels vary from person to person, so be patient and more forgiving of yourself.

Even if you’re shy, you’ve got all the tools you need to make your first gym experience a little easier. Remember, we’re all here for the same reason: to take care of our health. So, trust in yourself and put other people’s opinions to the side. Don’t hesitate to ask the staff if you have any questions. They’re there to help you and make sure your first time at the gym is a pleasant one. Because, after all, the goal is for you to feel good and want to come back…often. 😉

Unsure? 6 helpful tips for your first time at the gym! is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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