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POPSECRET SparkPoints: (82,493)
Fitness Minutes: (97,238)
Posts: 2,142
10/29/12 9:07 A

It really depends on what your goals are. Some gyms offer a free personal training session when you sign up. Mine did, but I never use it and I'm kicking myself for it now!

Anyways, remember to start off slow. I personally like the elliptical better than the treadmill, so that's my go-to for cardio. I always bring my ipod and a magazine to keep me entertained (the time really flies if you have something else to focus on!). Then you can venture out and try new equiptment little by little. ALWAYS ask a staff member if you're not sure how to use something. They're there to help! If you are using a machine incorrectly you won't get the same results, and could possibly hurt yourself in the process.

I also suggest not shying away from trying group classes if your gym offers them. They're a great way to try something new, and you'll probably make some friends in the process.

MMEEAAGGX3 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (1,876)
Posts: 1,049
10/29/12 5:08 A

I start with the treadmill. emoticon Just tune everyone else out and do your own thing at your own pace!

SALONKITTY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (6,605)
Posts: 672
10/29/12 3:51 A

I've read a bit about Planet Fitness. Apparently Planet Fitness offers free personal training to all their members, so that would be an ideal place to start if you're feeling uncomfortable and bit unsure of what you should do when you're at the gym. I would second Zorbs' suggestion of taking up a weight lifting program such as The New Rules of Lifting, but Planet Fitness does not allow members to deadlift (which is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of for a gym), and who knows what else is forbidden. Surely the trainer will work out a program for you which will be permitted at PF.

Beyond that sort of stuff, the only way you'll feel more comfortable at a new gym is to just show up and do it for a week or two. It's always weird when you have just joined a new gym...I just joined a new gym last week and felt a bit awkward most of the time I was there. I didn't know where stuff was, didn't know anyone, etc. but it was fine. I wasn't going to let that initial weirdness prevent me from doing what I want to do.

BUBBLEJ1 Posts: 2,981
10/29/12 1:04 A

It is perfectly normal to feel the way you do. Get someone to show you around, no question. Write down a short program (10 min treadmill, 6 weights things, 10 min bike - for example) and stick to it. I always find that I feel better when I am prepared and know what I am doing. The only way to feel at home at the gym is to go and go often. When I first started at the gym I HATED the gym. I went to classes, but the gym scared me. I just went, and kept going, and now I love it!

N16351D Posts: 2,349
10/28/12 9:05 P

If you really want to feel like you don't fit in, bring the book on how to lift weights like I did! Instead of feeling foolish or stupid, I laughed at myself and determined to conquer my dislike and disinterest in weight lifting. It worked!

PRRPLEKAT Posts: 104
10/28/12 7:36 P

I remember when I joined my gym last December, I was scared that I would look silly, and not know how to use the machines. I started with something I'd used in the past - the treadmill, then moved on to the stationary bikes. My gym offered an intro session, and they showed me how to use 9 of the strength training machines and they're always there to answer any questions about the equipment. Most people aren't paying attention to anyone but themselves there, so don't worry too much about what others will think. Good luck!

SUSIQZER Posts: 2,410
10/28/12 4:37 P

You know what they say: When you get to the end zone, act like you belong there! ;)

It's totally understandable to be intimidated, especially by all of the machines. Ask for a tour before you sign up, just to get a vibe for the place, and absolutely sign up for a training/assessment session if they offer them. (My gym offers one per month... it's well worth it!)

NEED2MOVE2 Posts: 1,337
10/28/12 9:34 A

I started slow.. I would jump on a treadmill and just walk. After being there a few times I realised nobody was watching me.. they were all doing their own work outs. emoticon emoticon

N16351D Posts: 2,349
10/28/12 9:06 A

P.S. Let us know how it goes!


N16351D Posts: 2,349
10/28/12 9:05 A

I joined our local gym in 1995 when they opened a new pool there. I love to swim and became their Red Cross Water Safety Instructor. I dreamed up a water aerobics class (never saw it done previously) and taught adult and children how to swim.

Since I was going to swim and teach, I was able to start taking classes. The only one offered was Aerobics, which I loved. Later they added Yoga, Pilates, Stretching, and in the last five years Strength Training. I also played racketball as I had not done that since 1977!

They got a treadmill so on snow and ice days I could jog indoors instead of outside, and later this funny thing called an "eliptical trainer" which is really sort of fun. I started on the rowing machine and pretended I was on the water, which I love and is nearby our home. About ten years ago they got stationary bikes and later taught spinning classes. When I don't want to bike outside due to weather, I can bike indoors!

They started Zumba about one year ago. Fun!

I hate lifting weights and avoided the weight room until about 2002, when I brought the book, Bill Phillips, "Body for Life" which taught me how to lift weights. I read it at home, then at the fitness club looked at the photos and read it again. After the first day I was about as sore as expected, and it was a start! I have been lifting weights there 2-3 times a day since.

I have made new friends, learned new skills, have become stronger and more flexible. I am the only one I know of at our fitness club who use everything in the club sometime throughout the year.

Go down there, try something, imitate others, get in classes, ask questions, talk to people and you might just find a new life!

TORONTORUNNER SparkPoints: (82)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 21
10/27/12 3:56 P

I do completely understand (and remember) how daunting the first gym session is.
I agree with the others in asking the help desk.

for me personally, I went at the much quieter times so I could scope out and check out the machines by myself first. I still do that these days if there's something new I want to try and just have no idea how to use it!

Good luck!

TREE57 Posts: 4,641
10/27/12 12:24 P

I would ask the front desk for an orientation appointment. They should be able to set you up with a trainer who will show you how to use all the cardio equipment, then the weight room (the weight machines, etc).

When I joined the YMCA, they instructed me to start with cardio 20 minutes 2X week, and then after the second week, they informed me on the weight machines (Ab crunch, seated squats, lat pull downs, shoulder press) and basically said to do two sets of 12 reps on each machine with the weight being what you can comfortably do on one set, but as you do the second set, it should be harder. Keep at that weight for two weeks, then increase sets and reps.

I also started cardio classes, such as Zumba and strength classes such as body pump and cardio power. It feels very silly to be in these classes the very first time, but there will be people there to help you. Just jump in and start out easy.

You have take the first steps needed for your physical fitness. Take it easy and ask for help from the fitness center you just joined. Don't be are paying for this membership and they have an obligation to help you reach your goals.

emoticon emoticon

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (193,937)
Fitness Minutes: (189,064)
Posts: 15,811
10/27/12 12:09 P

Ask for the orientation, even if your gym doesn't offer PT, they need to offer basic orientation.

Then get SP to generate a gym based program for you. Read, girls gone strong, New Rules of Lifting For Women to get a good idea of what a decent routine is like.

Cardio machines are very self explanatory.

When I first joined a gym, back in September 2000, I had the orientation..didn't pay much attention during it at all. But I went to classes. Lots and lots of classes.

Edited by: ZORBS13 at: 10/27/2012 (12:28)
MNWILDCIN Posts: 298
10/27/12 12:06 P

Did your gym offer an introductory personal training session to get started? They should, not all equipment is the same, proper technique prevents injuries.Don't be shy to ask-you will get more out of your membership if you are confident and utilize more than just the treadmill .

Check out Eason's LiveFit program, it eases you into strength training. There is a spark team dedicated to the program with a lot of good info. There are also workouts on Sparkpeople you could print out and bring to the gym.

Don't worry about what other people at the gym think about you, chances are they are so into their workout they are not paying attention to you!! Use the gym time as your personal escape, make fun workout music playlists, use a fun water bottle, it's your time!

Best of luck to you!

10/27/12 11:58 A

I would start by finding the leg extension and leg curl machines and do 3 sets of 10 on each of those. Then I would find an arm machine that pulls and one that pushes and do 3 sets of 10 on each of those. Make sure you are challenging yourself with the weight you set, 3 sets of 10 is the goal, but if you're able to make all of those sets then you aren't pushing yourself enough to see results.

Since you want to start slow, I would then suggest you walk on the treadmill at a 3.2-3.5 pace for 30-40 minutes. Work your way up on that and then when you're comfortable try to get your cardio on an elliptical machine for 30-40 minutes instead of the treadmill.

These are just ideas, but ultimately you need to find what will work for you and your body. Don't worry about the other people at the gym - most have the same concerns you do.

Good luck, and stay positive!

GRAVEYARDSHIFT SparkPoints: (3,855)
Fitness Minutes: (4,093)
Posts: 39
10/27/12 11:31 A

ive never been in a gym.its been years since i really worked out.i usually workout off and on.i have joined planet fitness because im tired of waking up in the morning sore and stiff.
i want to start slow.
mondays weds and fridays.i dont know what to do or where to start and i am very very shy about being around people when i workout.but i cant do it at home becouse my bf works nights and sleeps days and i dont want to bother waking him up with the tv on and the floor bouncing.
anyone have suggestions on where i need to start so i dont roam the gym lost on my first day and couple of weeks?

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