Trying anything new for the first time can be a bit intimidating. You’re afraid you might look silly, not knowing what you’re doing or simply feel out of place. The gym can be one of those places.

If you’re just starting to go to the gym for the first time, it can be like jumping into the middle of the ocean: you’re not quite sure what is going to happen next. But you want that feeling of looking good and feeling confident, so you stride on.

There are tons of machines and people everywhere, everyone looks like they’re professionals and the worst part, you feel like everyone is watching you. Sometimes walking into a gym can feel more overwhelming than running ten miles or rowing 5k on a Rowing Machine.

So, how do you go about surviving and thriving if you’re just starting out at the gym? Below are some guidelines to help you become a better, healthier you.

Getting Over the Nerves

Unfortunately, you can’t just snap your fingers and say, “Wow, I feel wonderful now!” The nerves and anxiety may follow you around. But don’t worry! That’s perfectly normal.

Next time you walk in the gym, look at every person around you. Every person, no matter how big or small they are, started out in your exact same position at one time or another. Even that guy who is screaming while bench pressing 600 pounds had his first day in the gym.

And even though you may feel that everyone is looking at you, they aren’t. People at the gym are most concerned about one thing: themselves. They’re looking at themselves in the mirror, looking for their own weights and making sure they complete their workout.

The only way they’re going to look at you is if you’re wearing a chicken costume or you’re doing an exercise that involves tossing dumbbells into a trash can.

Where to Go

You may walk in and feel like you should head over to the treadmill or go over to the free weights section. Both of those are wrong. If you’re in the gym for the first time, head to the front desk and ask for a personal trainer.

Some gyms will offer a free tutorial with a trainer if you’re joining while others may make you pay for the session. It won’t be too pricey, and paying $30 is a great way to make sure you’re doing the exercises right.

They may be able to direct you to a workout plan or give you suggestions on what you should be focusing on. It never hurts to talk to a professional.

What to Focus On

Everyone may have a different reason for coming to the gym. One person may be getting ready for beach season, another may be trying to lose weight while someone else may just enjoy yoga classes.

Whatever your goal is, make sure you keep that in mind during the hard days. If you’re losing focus on what you originally tried to do, you can always think of the numerous benefits that regular physical activity brings.

What to Do

OK, you talked to a trainer, you have your goals and you’re ready to begin. Well, where exactly do you begin? The trainer may have given you some ideas, but you’re not sure where exactly to begin.

One of the places to start is the internet. Find a fitness YouTube channel and see what they recommend. Plenty of channels have beginner workout plans that will set you off on the right foot.

If you’re planning on running, you can find what professional runners recommend. It’s amazing how detailed some of them can be when it comes to mapping out a running plan.

But your goals may vary and you might not be able to find exactly what you’re looking for, so you can always mix and match exercises to match up with your fitness goals.

Consistency

No matter what you do on your first day, chances are you’re going to be quite sore the next day. This is completely normal. Your body is just trying to adjust to this new routine that you’re putting yourself through. Even though you may be tempted to take a rest day the next time you’re supposed to hit the gym: don’t. You need to set up a consistent schedule or else you’re going to be going one step forward and two steps back for eternity. Remember to stay strong and stay consistent.  

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