It’s been a long three months for everybody around the world. The coronavirus pandemic that swept the globe affected everyone to at least some extent. Whether you were deemed an essential worker, started working from home, or laid off, your daily life looked at least a little different.
Avid gymgoers felt an additional nip of the wringer when fitness facilities were determined nonessential and closed down mid-March. Taking away access to gyms and studios caused a surge in demand for fitness equipment and home workouts. People did the best they could with what they had but it’s impossible to truly replace the feeling of stepping into the gym.
All 50 states throughout the U.S. have started reopening, though, and some have allowed gyms to open again. There are new restrictions in place for those that opened their doors but people are finally able to access their go-to fitness facilities again.
Those who had regular gym routines can start getting back into their groove. Some people either hadn’t been to the gym or hadn’t been for months or years that found an interest in starting or returning once their fitness facilities open back up.
If you haven’t had a workout regimen before, you aren’t alone if you’re slightly concerned about starting up at the gym. Even those who maintained regular routines before quarantine need to ease their way back into working out. How can you get ready for your first day in the gym?
5 Steps for Your First Day in the Gym
Step 1: Prepare Yourself with a Plan
Coming up with a plan is one of the best ways to approach most things in life and your first day in the gym is no different. Whether you’re going for your first time or you’ve been working out for years, you need to prepare yourself with a plan.
Even the most seasoned gym veterans have likely been out of the gym for about three months. If this is you, you put yourself at risk of an injury if you head back into the gym with the same intensity as when you stopped in March.
There’s no real reason to rush into heavy lifting for first-timers and seasoned veterans alike. Ease into the gym with a few full-body workout days to get used to moving some weight. Plan out your routine for your first day in the gym before you step into the facility so you aren’t wandering around with no direction, then adjust based on how your body responds to the new increase in movement.
Step 2: Get an Understanding of the Equipment
If you’ve never stepped foot in a gym before, your first day can be an overwhelming experience. There are many types of equipment used for various purposes that work different parts of your body. It’s easy to get confused when you’re wandering the gym floor and trying to figure out what you’re supposed to use. There are three main types of equipment:
- Cardio machines: made for cardiovascular exercises and include things treadmills, stationary bikes, and ellipticals.
- Weight machines: set pieces of weight equipment meant to work out specific muscle groups, like bicep curl or leg press machines.
- Free weights: weights that aren’t attached to anything and allow you to work out multiple muscles at a time, mostly dumbbells and barbells.
Setting up a plan for gym success beforehand allows you to figure out which pieces of equipment you need and what each of them looks like. It’ll be easier to find the machines used in your routine if you know what you’re looking for.
Step 3: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
It often feels intimidating to step into a gym for the first time. It may seem like you’re on the outside looking in because it looks like everyone knows exactly what they’re doing already. You aren’t alone if you worry about sticking out like a sore thumb when you’re new in the gym.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, though. Most people are more than happy to explain what a particular machine does or answer any questions you have about how something works. They’ll help you find that specific piece of equipment you’re looking for or offer advice on your form. You’ll find that most people are welcoming to others looking to better themselves.
Step 4: Remember Everyone is There for the Same Reason
You don’t have to be afraid to ask for help because most everyone is at the gym for a similar reason: they care about themselves and their health. Anyone who wants to take better care of themselves or work on their health is going to find their place in the world of fitness.
You might find it easier to sign up for a class at your local fitness center. Classes allow you to not only follow the guidance of an instructor but they also provide a built-in community. You’re surrounded by others who are at the gym for the same reason as you. Trying out a few different classes lets you both find something you enjoy and meet some new friends, too.
Step 5: Hiring a Fitness Coach Can Help
Classes are great for the community aspect of fitness but sometimes you aren’t able to get the individualized attention you need. If you’re looking for more one-on-one advice, hiring a fitness coach is a great idea. They provide individualized guidance tailored to your specific situation and fitness levels.
Sometimes it’s difficult to get into the gym because you don’t know which direction to head in. Most people start because they want to “get in shape,” but getting in shape doesn’t always mean the same thing to one person as it does to another person.
When you sit down with a coach they’ll help you set up specific and measurable fitness goals for gym success. They can plan your nutrition, fitness training, or both. You can meet with them as often or as infrequently as you need. Your fitness coach will match your enthusiasm and encourage you to be the best you can be.
Do you want some help determining what your post-quarantine fitness goals are? Maybe you want to shed a few of those extra pounds you picked up or cut out the quarantine snacking and stop eating for pleasure. You don’t have to handle your first steps alone!