How to Feel at Home in a New Gym

Workout GymDid you ever walk into a new gym and feel like a stranger in a strange land?  That’s what happens to me any time I join a new one.  I look around and feel lost. Where are the free weights located? Is there an area for stretching? What is that newfangled machine over there and how do I use it? Help!

That sort of new-gym phobia turns off many a prospective exerciser, especially those who are already hesitant about working out in public or wearing Spandex clothing that shows every bump (does Spanx design exercise wear yet?).

But do not let that initial intimidation stop you from starting an exercise program or joining a new gym. You will soon feel at home in your new surroundings – it just takes a little time, and some help from the staff.

· Take the Tour. Most gyms will give you a free tour or orientation when you join. A staff member will usually be happy to show you how the equipment works, and tell you about the classes and other amenities available. Some, including mine, even give you one free session with a personal trainer.  Of course, they’re hoping you’ll book a package with that trainer – and if you can afford it and enjoy the session, that’s not a bad idea – but you can also use that time to pick the trainer’s brain. Ask them to help you reevaluate your current exercise routine and set some new goals.

· Ask Questions. No gym wants you to use their equipment incorrectly, so they are usually willing to spend some time explaining how things work.  Don’t be afraid to ask. For example, if you’re unsure about your technique on a given machine, you can usually stop a trainer and ask him or her if you’re using it correctly. (If they’re not willing to help, this may not be the right gym for you).

· Pick Your Moment. While you’re getting the lay of the land, and if your schedule allows it, try going when the gym is least crowded. You can ask at the front desk when that is; perhaps in midafternoon, or late evening once the after-work crowd disperses. If there isn’t a line waiting to use a machine, you’ll feel more comfortable getting used to it.

· Safety in Numbers. One reliable way to increase your comfort level is to go with a friend. It’s always easier to check out a new place with a wingman or woman at your side, and as a bonus, a friend can help motivate you to stick to your workout routine.  Research has even shown that people exercising with friends produce more endorphins than those going it alone.

In a matter of weeks, you’ll be comfortable in your new gym and feel like an old pro, ready to give tips to the next newbie who comes through the doors.

Check out this article on common gym mistakes to make sure you are getting the most out of your workout. After all, if you’re going to put in the time, you want it to pay off.

Personal Training

Beginning a new exercise routine can be a daunting task. The variety of equipment, types of workouts, choice of goals and countless other variables can be overwhelming. Maintaining that routine despite plateaus, boredom and discouragement is just as challenging.

Fortunately, personal trainers can be effective allies in designing and executing workouts, as well as reaching your fitness goals. Read on to learn more about the field, how personal trainers can help, and whether hiring one would be the right move for you.


Why Hire a Personal Trainer?

Many people view hiring a personal trainer to help get in shape as a luxury reserved for the wealthy. But there are many benefits of working with a personal trainer that make it worth considering for the average person.

As the job title implies, a personal trainer will design a personalized program to fit your schedule, health conditions and fitness level. To that end, a personal trainer will also help you to set proper, attainable goals. This is one of the most important aspects of consulting with a fitness professional, because goals that are too demanding may lead to discouragement or even injury, while overly easy goals won’t challenge you enough to make any lasting changes in your health or physique. People working out on their own often fall into these traps, but a good trainer will help you to set and reach progressive goals.

If you are new to exercise, or are picking it up again after a long hiatus, a personal trainer can help you to get acquainted with all of the potentially confusing equipment at the gym. He or she will also teach you proper form to prevent injury and get the most out of your workout.

Eventually, many exercisers hit plateaus, during which they stop making noticeable progress. A few sessions with a personal trainer will infuse some new techniques into your workout and help you to break through it.

One of the biggest reasons people are hesitant to work with a personal trainer is money. The truth is that a good trainer will teach you the skills you need to go it alone, and even a few sessions will give you the tools to design your own fitness routine. Think of hiring a personal trainer as an investment in your health and wellness which, if used properly, could save you money in the future.

Who Should Work with a Trainer?

Anyone who needs a boost in their current workout routine, or is looking to start a new one, could benefit from working with a trainer. If you plan on working with your trainer at home, it’s important to have the best home fitness equipment in your home gym.

Currently, a certification is not necessary for someone to work as a personal trainer. So in order to ensure that you receive the best possible direction, it’s important that you ask for proper fitness credentials when you are considering potential trainers. Be sure that the person you hire also has CPR training and up-to-date liability insurance, just in case of an emergency.

Many trainers specialize in certain aspects of fitness such as nutrition, certain sports or strength training, so if you have a specific interest you should consider a trainer whose education and experience can complement it. Look for a trainer who is professional and personable, who you trust and who motivates you. You might also consider factors such as gender, schedule and style when deciding what type of trainer you want to work with.

A qualified personal trainer who is a good match for you will help you set and reach your individual goals, and bring your fitness to a new level.

Have you ever been helped by a personal trainer? Tell us about your experience!