5 Tips to Kickstart Your Gym Journey

Getting into the gym is something that has been on my mind for a long time—like seriously, at least six years. But I never had any guidance, and, to put it plainly, I never had the motivation. That remained the case until I met my boyfriend this past year, who I would deem a certified gym rat. I started going with him, and as I’ve come to understand how working out works, I’ve fallen in love with it.

Feeling confident in the gym (or… at least competent) gave me the motivation I needed, and now it’s a part of my daily routine. I’ve been going regularly for about five months now, and, let me tell you, there are definitely a few things I wish I knew going into it. I’m no professional, but I do have some tips to make your getting-into-working-out experience more enjoyable.

  1. 1. Wear Something You Feel Good in

    I feel like there’s a lot of pressure and stigma around what to wear at the gym, especially for women, and it definitely got to me. I was always wondering, “what kind of shoes are acceptable,” and, “should I be wearing an ‘athletic’ t-shirt?” But the truth is, wear what you feel good in. If you feel good in a sports bra and spandex, go for it!

    If you feel best in an oversized t-shirt and sweats, that’s great too! Personally, my go-to is leggings, a tank top and 270s. But no matter what, just wear what you feel most comfortable in. You will not have a good workout (or a good time) if you are worried about what you’re wearing or comparing yourself to everyone else the whole time. 

  2. 2. Try Not to Worry About What You Look Like (No One's Paying Attention)

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    Kind of similar to the last tip, and another huge one I have struggled with—if you are new to working out, there’s a pretty good chance you might not know exactly how to use a machine, and your form might not be perfect. But that’s okay! Every single person around you in the gym has gone through the same thing.

    It’s important to keep in mind that everyone is so busy working out, even if it takes you a minute to set up a bench, they aren’t watching you. I know it’s easier said than done, but try to focus more on what you’re doing and perfecting your form and skills, and less about what you might look like while doing so.  

  3. 3. Start Lighter to Get Your Form Down, Even if You Can Lift Heavier

    When you are just getting into working out, it’s exciting to see if sometimes you can lift heavier than you expected. This being said, that’s not always the best thing to do. As I said before, I’m no professional, but I definitely recommend starting light and perfecting your form. If you are pushing all this heavyweight, but you’re doing it wrong, you could end up with injuries instead of results. Doing more reps of a lighter weight with good form is going to be way more beneficial than four wobbly reps of a heavyweight, especially at the beginning of your workout journey. All this to say, take it slow, take it light and really focus on the motions when you are first starting out. 

  4. 4. If You're Going to Take Pre-workout, Start Small

    Yeah, let’s talk pre-workout. Now, I am no doctor, but I do sometimes take some pre-workout. The first time though, I made a mistake. I don’t really drink coffee, soda or much of anything with caffeine (but even if you do), pre-workout is strong and works fast. I once made the mistake of dry-scooping (if you don’t know what that is…good) a whole scoop of pre-workout.

    I’m sure it also depends on your weight and muscle mass, but with my tendency to be dehydrated and already low caffeine tolerance, I was tweaking. Like palms itching and stabbing pain in my face. Ever since then, I take a modest half scoop, and even now, I rarely increase it (only on days motivation is really low).

    The moral of the story is, be aware of your body and your own tolerance… and maybe read the container, I don’t know. If this does happen to you, though, the solution is drinking a sh*t ton of water.  

  5. 5. Write Your Workout Plan Down in Your Notes

    I always sit in the car before entering the gym and write down the workouts I’m doing that day in my iPhone notes. Although sometimes I ultimately end up adding or cutting things, this is really helpful with keeping me on track. When you’re in the gym, especially when more inexperienced, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and kind of lose your train of thought and question which workouts you want to do. So, mapping it out before you start your workout is a good way to have everything in one place and know where you’re going. 

Well, I’ll say it again, I’m no professional. I still have a lot to learn, but these tips have helped me so far and I hope they can help you! Also, remember to sanitize your hands in between every workout, wipe down everything you touch, wear your mask and maintain social distance! We can’t enjoy the gym if it has to close because we aren’t being mindful of the pandemic. Good luck!