Key Tips for your First Ever Gym Class

So you have finally taken the step to join the gym or fitness class. Congratulations! Because that is the first big step but what next?

Well, if you’re thinking of just entering your first gym class without any prior preparation, then you, my friend, are in great trouble. There are plenty of things to consider for that first class. Few of the tips that we mention might even save your muscles from aching for the next 24 or 48 hours of your first class.
So, read on to know further about our key tips for your first ever gym class.


Tip #1 – Research

If you’re not prepared for a gym class, you could walk into a situation you won’t enjoy. Some people will come into a class and it’s not their fitness level, and they’ve never even done the moves that are going to be in there, so be sure to check the website for class descriptions.

Sometimes you have to bring the right foot gear or you may want to bring a type of mat or something else. You can also look up videos of the class online.

Tip #2 – Key Terms to Know

Since you’re new to the gym, it’s important to know a few key terms:

  • Reps/Repetitions: This is how many times you do the move. For example, you can do 12 bicep curls—that’s a rep.
  • Set: This is the number of times you do that exercise. For example, you did 12 bicep curls, took a one-minute break, and then repeat the exercise. You just did two sets.
  • Work in: This is when you share a machine with someone. You do a set and the other person does his or her set. This is helpful when the gym gets busy.

Tip #3 – Things to Carry

Bring a lock to put your bag and personal items in the locker. Walking around with your jacket and purse is not a good idea and few gyms actually allow it. It’d be nice to bring a towel to wipe off your sweat after you’re done with an exercise. You can also lay it down on the machines you use to avoid getting other people’s sweat (and germs) on you.

Also, you don’t know it yet but you’ll be thirsty when you exercise. You need to replace all the water you’re losing in the form of sweat. Bring a bottle.

Many people listen to music while working out. That may not be you but bring an iPod and try it out. A lot of exercise clothing has built-in electronic pockets now.

Tip #4 – Always Arrive Early

It’s always a good idea to get to class early, especially if it’s your first time. You’ll likely need to fill out a new student form. Also, classes can be packed and you will want to get a spot in the back row as most instructors know to look to the back row for newbies that might need a little extra help. Plus, in the case you really do need to leave early, you can sneak out without disrupting the class.

Adding to that, Brett Hoebel, author and founder of the 20 Minute Body (and Biggest Loser trainer) says, “A lot of the time, the front row is the only place that’s open in a class, so if you show up late, there may only be the slot next to the instructor, which is not really the best slot.”

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Tip #5 – Don’t try to lose 10 pounds in one day

A common mistake people make is to overwork their bodies on the first day at the gym. It took time to get to the point where you feel like you need to lose weight; so it will take you time to get out of it.

Do a little more each day, but don’t spend fours hours straight at the gym. Otherwise, sustaining an injury is almost guaranteed. That will only put you back on the couch for a few weeks.

You will over-train yourself, which will lead to decreased performance, high blood pressure, decreased immunity and poor sleep patterns, according to studies. Your muscles have no idea what’s going to hit them, so teach them slowly.
Start with 3-4 exercises and move on from there. You’ll give your body time to recover, avoid soreness, and get ready for the next gym session.

Tip #6 – Warm up Magic

Don’t even think about doing resistance training without warming up. You need to get your blood flowing and muscles warm so they don’t tear too much when you train them. Warm up for about 15 minutes. 

Dynamic stretching is one of the perfect kinds of warm ups, according to science. It includes shoulder circles, arms swings, side bends, leg swings, and lunges. Use this time to look around and get familiar with what’s around you.

Tip #7 – Try Everything

The key word here is “try.” No matter what you do, your body will be in shock. You are putting it through unfamiliar stress. You should not really work out more than three days a week when you first start out.

Each session should include more than three exercises for each muscle group. Thankfully, you have a lot to choose from. Don’t make two consecutive sessions the same. Test your body and see what exercises are right for you.

Tip #8 – Start Small

You may feel like you can do more, but don’t push your body’s limits. Use lighter weights so you can focus on your posture and technique. Start with two sets on the leg press machine. Then move to the step-up and do another two sets of 10 each. Many instructors recommend the row machine because you move your entire body at the same time. Row for about 10 minutes.

It’s time for your upper body workout. Pick up a stability ball and to 30 bicep curls. Then go to the triceps push-down machine and do 30. It’s OK to do fewer reps, just, make sure you work out the opposite muscles equally.

Do two sets of 15 crunches but don’t lay on the floor. Use a bosu ball to ease the pressure on your lower back. Finish with a 10-minute cool down cardio exercise of your choice.

Bonus Tip #9 – Eat Healthy

To end your knowledge on your first gym class, a key bonus tip is to eat healthy 30 minutes after your workout.

Also, do note that an hour before heading to the gym, have a banana or anything light. This is to give you energy while you workout, so don’t overeat. You might just shower it all up in the gym in the form of puke; so beware!

Happy Gym-ing!

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Navaneetha Suresh

Navaneetha Suresh

Navaneetha, commonly known as "nav", loves to read, play badminton, play the keyboard and sing but when she's not doing any of those, she loves to write. What started as a high school hobby to write is now her ongoing passion.

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