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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Skidmore chapter.


Working out has many benefits. There are numerous benefits to regular physical activity: improving mental health, better physical health, relieving stress, etc. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t begun working out, as lifting has become a defining part of who I am. It has given me confidence that I used to lack, allowed me to make new friendships with people I would have never run into elsewhere, and helped me build a body that I love and am immensely proud of. That’s why I wanted to offer anyone else looking to start working out how to get started in the gym while also providing some extra advice (i.e., where to shop and who to look for more advice!)

Benefits of working out

While working out may give you your “ideal body,” it gets better than that. For starters, taking time out of your week to exercise is an excellent way of keeping yourself disciplined. I love going to the gym and look forward to it every day, but I still have weeks where the last thing I want to do is leave my room. Taking the energy to get ready, go, and be in the gym to improve yourself helps you maintain routine and discipline. This discipline is essential for other areas of personal development, self-control, and achieving goals (even outside of the gym). It helps you prioritize the things in your life that may not be the most fun or exciting but keep your life on track. 

Secondly, exercise is a great way to regulate and maintain your internal, mental, and physical body health. It can lower your risk of injury and diseases and improve mental health. Proper exercise can also improve mobility, range of motion, strength, ligaments, tendons, and muscular imbalances and prevent diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, Type 2 diabetes, etc. Further, exercise is known to affect one’s mental health positively. The reduction of stress and promotion of endorphin release, which can help with symptoms of depression, can both be benefits of working out that can boost one’s self-esteem overall. 

Thirdly, it helps you get out of your room. Especially if you live somewhere cold and can’t do outdoor activities or if you are somewhere where there is not much to do, going to the gym allows you to get a change of pace from your house, move your body, and break a sweat. Humans were made to move, so any amount of exercise or movement we do is better than none. If you don’t have a car and need to walk to your gym, toss your clothes in the dryer for a couple of minutes to warm them up before heading out. If you have a lot of free time, going to the gym is a great way to kill time and do something good for yourself at the same time. 

Gym clothes

Looking good makes you feel good. When it comes to starting out in the gym, it is so helpful to wear what you feel comfortable in. When you’re in the gym and don’t like what you are wearing or how you look, it can be all you can focus on. It is not fun to sit in the gym thinking about how uncomfortable your pants are or how your bra isn’t sweatproof. Feeling confident about what workout clothes work for you is a helpful step when it comes to getting comfortable in a new space. Some people like wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt, some like wearing shorts and a baggy tee, and some like wearing a sports bra and spandex. Everyone enjoys something different, so wear what makes you feel your best! With that in mind, I’m going to share some of the workout clothes that I currently wear and use that make me feel my best. Starting off, I really love Aurola’s shorts. They are extremely comfortable, can be worn longer or scrunched up, and they are smooth, soft, and extremely stretchy. Second is DYFNE. This brand is pretty pricy, but I love and recommend their shorts. Like the ones mentioned above, they can be worn long or short and are of amazing quality. Whenever I wear these, my friends do not shut up about my butt in them. Lululemon is also a great brand. Again, it’s pricey, but they have so many options for bras, shorts, pants, and so on. The quality is amazing and sizing has always been spot on for me. Lastly, I would recommend FLEO for sports bras. They not only have a lot of different options for sports bras but an endless amount of colors. They have so many options it was hard for me to choose, but I was extremely happy with my purchase when I did. The sizing was great; it offered great support and made me look incredible. You can always check out TikTok, Instagram, and other platforms to see what other people are recommending, too. 

Starting new

Now it’s time to go to the gym. This is a big step and takes a lot of confidence and drive. It can be really scary, and a lot of people who regularly go to the gym forget what it’s like to start. So here are some ways to help with those first-day jitters! First, go with a friend! If you have a friend who is into lifting, ask them to teach you sometime. Trust me, they would probably love to help you out! For me, bringing my friends allows me to spend time with them in an environment I love while teaching them how to love it, too. If you don’t have a friend who lifts, you have a couple of options. First, take a class. So many intro fitness classes are available, or you could consider getting a personal trainer. It may not be the cheapest option, but it’s one to consider. Second, make a friend in the gym. I genuinely think the gym community can be so great, and people want to see you improve. I met two of my closest friends in the gym. It was my first time working out in my college gym, and I was too scared to work out alone, so I asked two girls if I could work with them. Long story short, we now have a group chat of around seven people where we communicate about who is going to the gym and when. So don’t be afraid to ask around for help, and if one person says no, move on to someone else! Third, watch some videos and practice movements in your room before going. It is good to get your body used to the feeling of the motion, and that way, you will look a little more experienced. I still watch TikToks about form, technique, and new exercises I am too scared to try. Some people I watch on TikTok are thejoeyswoll, who has a lot of videos about gym etiquette and gym positivity, and red5performance, who makes videos about technique and form. Finally, find a friend who doesn’t work out and start a new hobby together. Going with someone, even if they don’t know what they are doing can be so helpful and make you relax. 

Listen to your body

Knowing that you need to listen to your body is a huge part of the gym. A great thing to start understanding is what feels right for you. Being new to the gym is hard enough, but being new and seeing experienced people around you lifting 3x your weight can feel embarrassing. But it really isn’t! Everyone at the gym has a different body and goals and starts at different times. Do not let the fear of being new cause you to shy away from lifting. It is a great skill and offers many benefits, like developing stronger bones. Improving your bone density is important for many reasons; it can make everyday activities easier, protect your joints from injury, manage chronic conditions, and improve aging. So, when you go to the gym, know these main things. 1) Focus on form. Lifting heavy looks cool, but only when you have good form. If you are lifting a heavy weight and your form is incorrect, you can injure yourself. So ask someone or watch videos on how to have good form for different exercises. 2) Do not overexert yourself. Ease into working out; you don’t have to go to the gym and push yourself to the limit. Take it slow until you are comfortable. 3) Know what feels good and what feels bad. If you are doing an exercise, and something in your body hurts and feels wrong, stop doing that exercise. It is not worth it and can cause issues. 4) Understand everybody is different. This one is huge. DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF. As I mentioned, people have different bodies, are in the gym for different reasons, have been there for longer or shorter, eat differently, and have different metabolisms. Do not go to the gym to compare yourself; go to better yourself. 

And if you’re still nervous, here are some small tips for the gym. First, do what you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to lift or do cardio if it isn’t for you. There is no shame in that; it is important to understand that that’s okay. Next, ask for help. It is okay to ask someone if your form is right, if you need a spot, or if you need some extra help. Also, accept help. If someone is trying to help you in the gym, let them. It is ok if your form is not perfect or you are using something incorrectly. Lastly, people aren’t judging you like you think they are. It is important not to go into it with the mindset of people watching you and judging your every move. They aren’t. Like you, they are there to focus and work on themselves. 

The gym has continuously been a safe space for me since I started getting comfortable there. I go to be alone or see friends to take stress off myself, to forget about the bad things going on in my day, and to feel good about myself. I don’t have a bad thing to say about it, and I hope this article was helpful!

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Sophia Landrey

Skidmore '27

Hi, I'm Sophia! I attend Skidmore college and live in NY. I really like fashion, shopping, working out, watching movies, and listening to music.