My guide to getting started at the gym


I’m just going to say it- the gym is most definitely not for everyone. To a lot of people, it seems big, it seems intimidating and it seems like it’s filled to the brim with protein shake filled men with bulging muscles and those super lean women with the media’s idea of an ideal body. It’s like every genetically gifted human decided to congregate in that one place, attempting to see how far they can push themselves. Then there’s the fact that there are so many different types of machines that could potentially kill you if you didn’t use them right or if you move the slightest bit in the wrong direction. It’s easy to be deterred by these metal clad dens, wreaking of a mixture of deodorant and BO.

I never really went to the gym much when I was doing karate. A lot of my friends did but I was always like nah, I don’t need it. In 2011, I signed up and went to a couple of PT sessions but that was that. One of the reasons I probably didn’t go as much was because I was 13 and when I come to think of it, that’s actually quite intense. Anyway, not the point. Fast forward a couple of years and here I am, planning on going to the Olympics for rugby. This time round, I couldn’t skip out on the whole gym thing so I signed up. I’m no fitness expert, but someone that (I think at least) has learnt a lot about the whole gym process in a short amount of time. I’ve decided to write down a bit of a guide for you guys who are thinking of joining a gym and need a bit of a push/need some guidance, and for those of you who have already joined but have a couple of worries regarding it.

This one’s huge. It was probably the biggest reason I didn’t go much back in 2011 and I think it will play a massive part in whether you’re actually going to go as much as you really should be. When looking for gyms, look for ones that are the most conveniently situated. Check for ones in areas that you spend a lot of time in- whether it be near your house, work or university. For me, I have a gym down the road from university and then another a quick train ride away. Now you’re probably sitting there like what? Two gyms? Well actually, it’s the same company but different locations. If you can, maybe find a gym that has multiple franchises around your city so you have access everywhere. I’m lucky with mine because not only are there plenty of gyms around Melbourne, but there are heaps around the world. Location is important because when you know that the gym’s close by, you don’t have much of an excuse when it comes to it being ages away. It’s closeby, it’s easy access and travel time isn’t too long.

Another reason a number of people hesitate to go to the gym is because of the price. Gyms can be expensive, so it’s more of a matter of prioritising whether going to the gym is super important to you. A number of gyms have pretty good deals, especially for university students. If going to the gym isn’t as much of a priority or you don’t have a dollar to spare, then there are plenty of alternatives to staying fit and healthy. For those of you on the fence, think of the gym as an investment. How many times a week are you planning to go? Is health and fitness a major priority of yours? If you answer multiple time and yes, well then there’s your answer. It’s more about a bit of trial and error and seeing which deal best suits you. Going to the gym is an investment- a worthwhile one when you put the effort in.

General vibes:
When you walk into a gym, you’ll probably suss out the general vibes of the place. How it looks. How it smells. What sort of people go there. The people who work there. Again, I was lucky with my gym when I signed up. The manager was super nice and helpful and made me feel welcomed and at ease. Every time I go and train, I feel comfortable and don’t feel awkward or out of place. People mind their own business and go there to train, not for anything else. It really comes down to you and whether you’ll be able to focus on your own goals without being distracted. This point is really just down to personal choice and is quite subjective. What I might find good, someone else might hate. It’s really just about looking around and see what’s right for you.

Once you set up your gym membership, it’s a good idea to set out what you want to achieve. Usually, someone at the gym will likely help you set up your training regime after discussing what it is you want to get out of the gym. Whether you want to make a sports team, lose weight or be able to push yourself- they’ll help you out with the right exercises to boost your fitness and attain the results you are after.

What you need:
You’ve sorted your membership. You’ve got your training regime. You’ve decided when you’re going to go to the gym. Now you just need to figure out what you need to take with you. Generally, comfortable gym clothes, a towel and some form of hydration are the bare necessities. When it comes to me though, you should probably already be aware I don’t really stick to the bare necessities. Aside from the clothes and towel, I take a bottle of water and usually a Gatorade. I also grab a protein bar and take some other light snacks to keep the energy up. A lot of gyms usually have a key pass so don’t forget that either! There’s nothing worse than going to the gym and realising that you didn’t bring the key pass. Like anything else, organisation is key.


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