First time at the gym

The gym: Internal studio view through fisheye lens
The gym: Internal studio view through fisheye lens

First time at the gym

The gym, studio space, or even outdoor bootcamp can be an intimidating environment. For many people starting on their road to fitness, these spaces are less than inviting.

A trendy spin studio can be dimly lit and a place where everyone knows each other — leaving you feeling like you’re experiencing high-school flashbacks. Maybe your yoga studio has so many equipment options that you don’t even know where to start. Do you need a block? A bolster? A strap? What even are these rollers?

And gym lockers. Will you remember your code or will you embarrass yourself by getting the person on the desk to unlock it for you?

Being in any new space can trigger anxiety, even from the most experienced gym-goer. But, like most things in life, the key is really to think about this gym time as your time. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. If you can focus on yourself and what you need to get out of your time at the gym, it can help all these distractions fade into the background.

Prepare yourself

Asking questions, even ones you think might be stupid, is a good way to familiarize yourself with a space. The people on the desk … it’s their job to help you. Anything you can ask has probably already been asked (in a much ruder way!) many times.

Google the gym or class before you go and read reviews. Everyone likes to complain online and while these reviews shouldn’t be held as gospel, they can help prepare you for what’s to come.

Arrive early and get comfortable in the space. If you’re taking classes, the instructors will probably introduce themselves and be honest about your fitness level. They’ll appreciate it and keep your issues in mind.

The trick with any studio or gym is to think of it as a space that exists for YOU. Without you, there wouldn’t be any business. They want you to have a positive experience and most gyms want active feedback.

We all had our first days in class where we felt like outsiders. And most of us accidentally walked into the wrong change room, opened a door that turned out to be a supply closet, and yes … forgot our locker combination. Just showing up is points enough so take that first step and be brave. Soon, someone new will be looking to you and asking where the bathroom is.