If you are new to working out at the gym and you’re looking for some gym tips to get you started, you’ve come to the right place!
First off let me give you a round of applause for taking the first step towards bettering yourself and your well being! You go girl (or boy LOL)!!! But now that you have signed up for a gym membership, you’re most likely thinking about what comes next.
You are probably feeling a little bit of intimidation, fear, and maybe even some gym anxiety. But you can now rest easy because today I am bringing you everything you need to know about going to the gym for the first time.
Including what to do at the gym, how many times a week you should hit the gym, how long your workout should be, what to do before and after a workout, plus SO MUCH MORE!
So let’s jump right into it! Here are my 7 best gym tips for the complete beginner!
Gym attire, rules, and etiquette
My first gym tip for you is the most important. As a gym member, you want to make sure to follow the gym rules and etiquette of your gym. Part of those gym rules are what you should be wearing during your time at the gym and while you are getting your gym workout in.
|Moisture Wicking or Dry Fit Clothing||Jeans|
|Supportive sports bra||Regular bras|
Gym rules and etiquette
- No talking on the phone while on the gym floor. Take that call to the lobby area, please.
- Speaking of phone use please keep selfies to a minimum selfie queen!
- Wipe down all machines after using them.
- Put weights back where they belong.
- Don’t critique or correct others.
- No gym bags on the gym floor. Please use the lockers for your belongings.
*All gyms will have there own unique set of gym rules so be sure to check with your gym upon arriving so that you don’t break any of them.
What should you take to your gym workout?
To be fully prepared for a gym workout, you should take a few things with you. Keep in mind that there are showers at the gym so if you plan on showering while you are there make sure you bring everything you will need for that. Also bringing a pair of flip flops is a gym tip you will thank me for 😉
If you decide that showering at the gym isn’t for you then you should be fine with the following items.
- Water bottle, plastic or refillable. Most gyms now have those fancy water fountains with filtered water you can use to refill your jug. This is a great way to do your part in saving the earth! Reduce, reuse, recycle! I recommend this leak-proof and eco-friendly water bottle.
- A hair tie because if you are doing it right you are going to break a sweat and you’ll need to tie that hair back.
- Headphones and music player. This is optional but listening to some good music while working out really has a way of getting you “in the zone.” You’ll also need something to carry your music player in. I recommend this flip belt or this sweat-proof armband if you are using your phone as your music player.
- A sweat towel. This will help keep you face clean and dry during your workout. When you are mid gym workout and the sweat is dripping down your face you’ll be glad you have it!
- A lock for your gym locker which are free for daily use. I like this combination lock because it spares you from having to carry around a key during your gym exercise.
What time of day is best to go to the gym?
The people over at livestrong.com say that you should go to the gym ideally when you have plenty of time so you are not rushing thru your gym workout. It really is all based on personal preference though.
I like to go to the gym in the early morning when there isn’t much of a crowd and I am free to use any machine without having to wait on them if they are being used. After making a few trips to your gym you will figure out your preference too.
Creating a gym workout plan
Before heading to the gym it is best to have a gym workout plan or at least some sort of idea of what muscle groups you’ll be working on. Do you want to add cardio to your workout? Is it leg day? Or are you just looking for a total body workout? These are all things you should contemplate before heading to the gym for the first time.
Here’s a common gym workout that I like to follow.
|Monday||Legs and Abs|
|Tuesday||Arms and Upper body|
|Thursday||Legs and Abs|
|Friday||Arms and Upper Body|
Some people mistake stretching before a workout as a warm up. This is a mistake. Stretching before a workout can actually hinder your gym exercise because it tires your muscles. A better idea is to stretch after your workout. This will help with soreness which you are guaranteed to feel within the next few days.
Most gyms provide a stretching area with mats so don’t worry about having to take your own.
If you are looking to lose fat you definitely want to include cardio in your gym workout plan at least 2 or 3 times a week. Whether you should perform cardio before or after your weight lifting is based on your personal goals.
If your gym goal is mainly to lose fat and increase your endurance you should perform cardio before your weight lifting. If your goal is to increase your muscle strength then you should perform cardio after your weight lifting.
As a rule of thumb, 20-30 minutes of cardio per session should suffice.
There are two common options for weights at most gyms. Free weights are free laying weights not attached to machines. These are mostly barbells and dumbells but kettlebells, tires, and medicine balls are also considered free weights.
Weight machines are machines with weights attached to them. The difference between to two is the freedom of movement. With free weights, you can pick them up, move around with them, and the exercises you can perform with free weights are endless.
With weight machines, you cannot. Although most gyms do have plenty or weight machine options, you are limited to the machine itself and what it allows you to perform.
Whichever weight option you choose, its best to perform your gym workout in repetition, otherwise known as sets and reps. A rep or repetition is one completion of the exercise motion. A set of the number of reps you complete consecutively.
For example, you can do two sets of 10 reps on the squat rack. This would mean you did 10 squats then rested for a small amount of time then did another set of 10 squats after that.
Rest days are super important and should not be skipped. When you work out, especially with weight training, you are breaking down and tearing your muscles. Rest days give your body time to rebuild and repair. 2 to 3 rest days per gym exercise is best!
What to expect after a gym workout
After a gym workout, you should expect to feel sore on the next day and even more soreness on the second day. This is a good sign and usually means your muscles are getting stronger.
How to deal with soreness
- Stretching after your workout and warming up before can help minimize soreness.
- Staying hydrated before, during, and after your workout will also help with soreness
- Consuming protein will help your muscles with the recovery process. I like 310 Nutritions Protein Power because I can also use it as a meal replacement.
- Taking a warm bath and soaking in some Epsom salt will work wonders on your sore muscles. I use Dr. Teals Muscle Recovery Soak for this.
Staying motivated and consistent
One of the hardest parts of starting a gym workout is staying consistent and motivated to continue on the journey. A few ways to stay motivated is to change your mindset around working out, setting small goals for your workout progress, and finding a workout partner that will keep you motivated.
Remember that working out is a lifestyle change and it shouldn’t be a temporary thing. If you want long-lasting, life-changing results you must stay consistent with your workout routine and keep your motivation to workout at the top of your priority list.
Final thoughts on gym tips for beginners
Heading to the gym for the first time can be intimidating and fearful. But the changes that you will make inside of the gym can be long lasting and life changing. If you stick to the tips I just shared with you, your first trip to the gym won’t seem so bad. So get up and get your workout on! Your body will thank you for it!
7 Gym Tips For The Complete Beginner