Congratulations on finally making the decision to put on your tekkies and hit the gym. Now that the hardest part, which is getting out of the house, is over, don’t get discouraged by the sight of all the different equipment, machines and fit people, who look like they exercise for a living. They are just like you – and just like you they are just people trying to make time in their busy schedules to get in shape.

Keep in mind that all of them were where you are at this moment – feeling a little anxious and wondering where to start.

Getting into the right state of mind is important before you begin. It’s about committing to a healthier future you, who feels and looks good (naked too). You’ll get there by dripping sweat, hurting every part of your body and feeling like you’re at the end of your rope.

You can prevent all of that by preparing well and knowing what to expect.

Don’t try to do too much 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.”

Start slowly in your first week. Doing less in the beginning is much better than doing too much.

Do a little more each day, but don’t spend ‘4’ hours 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. 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.

Speak to your Club Manager and Floor Instructors, they’re there to help you and will show you the best way on how to get started.

Share your goal for the day

Accountability is one of the best ways to stay determined and consistent. You can’t lie you worked out if you didn’t even make it to the gym. Announce your plans on Facebook or tell the one person you would hate to disappoint.

Get a friend to come with you. That way both of you can share the feeling of intimidation and laugh it off. Bring your significant other because, as you know, couples who sweat together stay together.

What to bring

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. 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.

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 a pair of head phones and try it out.

Warm up

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 hurt yourself when you train them. Dynamic stretching is one of the perfect kinds of warmups, 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.

Cool Down

Finish with a 10-minute cool down cardio exercise of your choice.

Try everything out

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 3 – 4 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.

Get your measurements taken regularly

Numbers don’t lie. Speak to your Club Manager or Floor Instructors and get them to do a Body Assessment.

Measure your progress. Don’t just step on a scale; take your measurements. You may be losing fat and gaining muscles, which means you’re getting in shape even though you’re the same weight.

Recover right

You have survived your first workout at the gym. Congratulations! Now you have to refuel properly. You should eat within 30 minutes. You need some protein to repair the micro-tears in your muscles after a weightlifting session. Don’t go for fatty foods because they slow down the digestion process. You need the healthy nutrients to quickly reach your muscles.