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

There is no time better than the present for picking up a new healthy habit. If you have been wanting to start your own gym journey but feel intimidated by Western Rec and aren’t sure where to start, fear not. As an avid gym go-er, I have some tips to help you feel more comfortable in the gym, while getting the most out of your daily activity time.

A good gym sesh starts before you even arrive! Doing some research and making a rough plan of what you will do at the gym will help you feel more confident and avoid wandering. There are tons of resources available on platforms like TikTok and Instagram — just make sure your inspo has some credentials! 

Another tip that helps me feel more confident and ready for a good workout is finding a good outfit. Knowing that you feel and look good at the gym can help to keep your mind from worrying about your appearance. I always go for layers: for example, you could wear a cute sports bra and a fun pump cover so that you can add or remove layers based on the temperature and how comfortable you feel. 

It is always important to choose a time of day for a workout that works for you. Before you decide on what time you will go, think about what kind of environment you would prefer. A busy gym can be fun, and it may help you to work off of other people’s energy. Although, it can also be annoying when you have to wait 10 minutes to use a machine. Personally, I have found that as a woman working out alone, certain hours later in the day can be peak “gym bro hour” and tend to make me feel a bit out of place. A great way to keep track of what the gym is looking like at any time of the day is to check out the @WesternWeightRm Twitter to see regular updates on how many people are at the gym.

Last thing to check-off your list before you arrive at the gym is finding or creating a good gym playlist that will get your head in the game and your adrenaline pumping! You can find lots of pre-made gym playlists in a quick search on Spotify.

Once you get to the gym, I always recommend taking a look around to explore the different spaces and figure out where you will feel most comfortable. At Western Rec, there are a variety of spaces including the upstairs studios, the women’s only section, and the weight room which all offer different vibes and experiences. 

Just like in any public setting, it is important to have good etiquette at the gym. Some basic rules to remember are to wipe down your equipment, don’t interrupt people during a set, put your equipment and weights away once you finish, and be nice to the staff.

When it comes to your actual workout, I always recommend trying different styles. While some people might love pilates, others love High Intensity Interval Training, and others like weightlifting. The best way to figure out what is best for you is to try a bit of everything and see what feels best.

In the best interest of your body, always take your time to learn how to use a machine and practise the proper form for an exercise. Start with a lighter weight if you plan on using the weight section, so that you can master your form first and protect yourself from injury!

After you’ve finished at the gym, you might walk away feeling a newfound sense of confidence and a love for the gym. You also might feel a bit disappointed or lost. My advice is not to give up after one go; sometimes enjoying the gym comes with consistency and figuring out what works for you! As I said earlier, if a weightlifting workout doesn’t jive with you, you can also opt to try a spin class or pilates next time.

It is also super important that you hydrate and fuel your body after every workout! Make sure you are replenishing your body with much needed nutrients by eating a meal or a smoothie after your workout. 

With the help of these gym tips, as well as a healthy mindset, the gym may just become your new best friend! Going to the gym can have so many positives, and if you have been thinking about going, this is your sign to give it a try. Personally, going to the gym is something I always look forward to since it boosts my mood!

Abby Jenkins

Western '23

Abby is in her third year studying Global Development at Western's affiliate college Huron. In her free time, Abby loves trying out new recipes, reading, spending time with her dog, and going for hikes.