1. Don’t start big just because your friends or everyone else is lifting big. Start small, it’ll be easier to maintain the routine and there’s a much smaller chance you’ll injure yourself.
2. If you are unsure how to do an exercise correctly – for the love of god ask. Most people are friendly and will help.
3. Nobody cares what you look like at the gym. You shouldn’t be discouraged by feelings that people are going to judge you for being too fat/thin at the gym. The entire purpose of the place is to build a healthier body. If anything I always looked up to the really out of shape people who would come in and work out hard. It’s incredibly motivating to see.
Besides that – even if someone does judge you for being fat or skinny at the gym.. their opinion probably isn’t worth much if that’s how they think.
4. PICK A TIME TO GO TO THE GYM THAT FITS YOUR LIFESTYLE AND THAT YOU CAN BE CONSISTENT WITH.
The most important part of working out is consistency. If you fucking hate the mornings, but decided to change your life and force yourself to wake up and go, you’ve already lost. Sure maybe the first week you force yourself to wake up, and that next Monday too. But then Tuesday your alarm goes off and you go, “Fuck, I’ve been good, I’ll take a day off.” You tell yourself you’ll go tomorrow and you do! But then Thursday and Friday it happens again.
Surely you’ll get back to it next week. The start is hard, but you’ll get it. But it happens again and you only make it two days that third week, then one the forth. And by mid February, you are paying a subscription service for something you no longer do. But you don’t want to cancel your membership because that would be quitting. Giving up on yourself.
So you have to find a time that works for you. The gym is always a zoo at 5:00 p.m., and it’s even worse at the start of the year. If you hate people, DO NOT GO BETWEEN 5-6 P.M. Go at 9 p.m. shower then hop in bed. We all know you’re full of shit when you say you go to bed early and then watch The Office for 3 hours. Or go at dinner time, when less people are there. Maybe it’ll help your diet too since you won’t be cramming your face from 7-9 p.m.
On the other side, if you need the motivation of others, go when people can be there with you. If you are a morning person, trying to go at night will crush you.
The time you choose is as important as anything else. It’s more important than what you do there. Because consistency is what matters. Walking in the doors of the gym everyday is the hardest obstacle in fitness. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you even begin.
5. Don’t trust Instagram bodies. Enough said.
6. Please don’t use the weightlifting benches as a place to put your stuff while you work out. There aren’t usually many benches in a gym, and it grinds my gears when I see people using the benches to hold their water bottles/keys/wallets/phones while they do routines that never once have them use the bench.
7. A lot of gyms offer complimentary training sessions when you sign up for a new membership. Take them up on their offer! Their trainer can show you how to use the equipment and give you a “how to work out” tutorial. My gym offered 3 free training sessions, the first one I used has a how to and the next 2 were intense work outs to see if I wanted to keep using a trainer.
8. Don’t wear an obnoxious amount of perfume or cologne. It’s a gym, we’re all supposed to stink a bit when we leave. I hate it when I have to get off of cardio equipment because the person next to me is doused in perfume and I can’t breath.
9. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT DO YOUR WORKOUT IN FRONT OF THE DUMBBELL RACK. Please take your weights somewhere else so others can grab the weights they need.
10. Wipe down the equipment when you are done.
11. Dress appropriately. Don’t wear jeans and a collared shirt. If you’re going to do cardio because you want to lose weight, and you are a man, DO NOT WEAR COTTON UNDERWEAR. You will get brush burn on your Johnson. It will hurt. Get synthetic underwear.
12. WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE YOU GO TO THE BATHROOM AND BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE GYM. Gyms are fairly dirty. Most people wipe down machines but not everyone does. There are things you will get on your hands that you don’t want on your genitals or in your mouth. Be vigilant with your hygiene when becoming a gym goer.
13. Drink water. Drink lots of water.
14. Wash your gym clothes after each use. If you worked out properly, they are disgusting and need to be washed.
15. It’s okay to miss a day here and there. Just because you miss your Tuesday workout doesn’t mean you have to wait until next week so your week can be perfect. Miss your day and get back at it.
16. Don’t do curls in the squat rack! Just don’t do it.
17. Don’t be an ego lifter. Putting on too much weight, screaming while you lift, then letting the weight crash back down, all to draw attention to yourself. If you can’t set the weight down in a controled manner, it’s too heavy for you. You’ll just end up hurting yourself, hurting someone else, or damaging the equipment.
18. Those of us that are there frequently know who puts the work in. You could be fat, skinny, fast, slow, or anywhere in between. If you work hard, people will notice, and they’ll respect you for it.
19. If you’re coughing or sick, stay home.
20. If you’re a man – DO NOT OGLE WOMEN WORKING OUT.
I’ve literally had to scream at a man “WHAT?! WHAT DO YOU WANT?”, after he wouldn’t stop staring me for 15-20 minutes of my workout.
21. If you’re on a cardio machine (e.g., treadmill) that has a posted time limit, make sure you’re off it in less time than that, especially if the gym is crowded. Other people may be waiting for that machine even if they’re not making it obvious by standing next to you.
22. Don’t see going to the gym as a chore. You have to enjoy it.
23. Diet is THE most important thing, arguably more important than the exercise.
24. Bring a goddamn towel.
25. Aimed at guys – please remember that 90% plus of women who go to the gym are there to work out, they aren’t there looking to get picked up. If you are having to interrupt someone’s workout and asking them to remove headphones so you can try to chat them up, it’s probably not going to end well for you.
26. Don’t overdo it on your first week. Don’t workout until complete exhaustion. Set a reachable goal and then increase it as the days and weeks go by.
27. Get some headphones.
28. Wear deodorant.
29. Re-rack your weights. Don’t leave your weights on the bar. After you are finished, return the weights.
30. The really huge intimidating looking guy squatting half the plates in the gym is probably pretty friendly and the most likely guy to help you out and offer you good advice.