It’s My First Time Going to the Gym
The gym seems to have evolved from a place to go for exercise into its own culture. If you have been evolving with it, you have been experiencing its transformation and have continued adapting. Some of you reading this may even continue to change your sense of fashion with its influence!
On the other hand, there are many of you who wish to begin a membership at a gym to accomplish your weight loss goals but are apprehensive about taking that first step. It seems to be the gym itself that’s stopping you. It looks like all the people with color-coordinated, skin tight clothing grunting and stomping around can be a little intimidating.
After reading this short blog post, you will shed your current level of gym-angst and become someone confident and able to walk into any gym, get your workout in, and carry on with your weight loss goals.
Who knows, you may even adopt the culture one day…
Let’s get to work!
What gym is right for you?
First things first, you have to pick the right gym for your personality.
This seems silly. Most gyms have the same equipment in them, so why not just pick the gym that’s closest to where you live?
Proximity to your future gym is important to consider, however, if every time to go into it an overwhelming feeling of frustration comes over you, the chances of you going on a consistent basis goes down.
Check here for why consistency is important for weight loss.
Additionally, that frustration can come from a multitude of things. From almost two decades of experience in gym culture, it seem to be the people that make the biggest impact on preference.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of the common gyms you’ll see across the United States and their culture. This is going to piss a few people off. There’s going to be a ton of gym-stereotyping going on. Before you get offended, however, just remember this is ultimately to help you choose the gym that’s best for you. This is to help guide you into a gym that you’ll be pleased to go to for years to come. Pick the wrong gym and you’ll have to pay a price, both mentally and monetarily.
a healthy blend of young and old. This gym will take you as you are, whether you’re in full Gymshark regalia or sporting your dad’s Joe Camel cigarette shirt he got for free at an NRA convention. Please don’t misunderstand, there will be judgement between the two, but the good thing is you’ll have a team to be a part of. Furthermore, you’ll be immediately welcomed into the team you choose, so it won’t be difficult to be meld with your tribe.
If you’re looking to find equipment put back in the right spot, you’re at the wrong place. It seems like people actually enjoy putting the weights in places they do not belong. If you think positively enough, however, you’ll see this as aiding your workout. Wandering around searching for your missing dumbbell burns more calories than not having to do that.
Across the United States the bathrooms are remarkably just below satisfactory. None of them look like an exorcism just took place, however, none of them ever look extraordinarily clean. Strong odors are usually only after immediate use and their hand soap usually sucks.
This writer doesn’t know because he tends to grunt (not excessively) when working out, so he’s not allowed to go there.
This gym seems to draw the older crowd, which has its benefits as well as its challenges. Older people seem to take care of the equipment better and have better manners. On the other hand, if you’re younger, there’s almost zero outside motivating factors. If hustle and bustle get you to move better and you thrive in a place that’s vibrant, you may find these gyms lacking. Remember, you’re looking for a place where you can go consistently for a long time, so if you outgrow the place within a few months it won’t be optimal for your wallet.
Don’t move too quickly here, the other members tend to get frustrated. Remember the crowd here is a little older, so don’t try anything outside the norm. Also, be quiet. Try not to sound like you’re putting too much effort into your workout or you’ll get some dirty looks. The good news is every weight will almost always be in it’s proper location.
Absolutely pristine! This gym has a very cool franchise program and the individual owners tend to take great pride in what they do. The bathrooms are almost always immaculate. The hand soap is usually on point as well. Great scents all around!
The culture of these gyms tend change with the time of day. Though this looks like the case in many gyms, it seems to be more exacerbated here. Most of the day, however, you’re going to have to get yourself together. The pink neon stripe on your shirt should probably match the pink neon stripe on your bottoms or they’ll be dirty looks all around, even from the personal trainers. From about 11PM to 3AM is the magical time where you can come to the gym with things like wigs, capes, speedos, just a towel, etc. It’s at this special part of day where you’ll really want to wipe down any and all equipment before use.
Again, this all depends on the time of day. If you come in the morning, you’re going to be held to higher standard. Members are getting their workout in before work and they do not have time to search for a piece of equipment. As the day progresses, the standards go out the window. The evening staff usually have their work cut out for them, poor guys.
The bathrooms in these gyms can go from the worst you’ve ever seen to satisfactory. In all fairness, the gym is open 24/7 and there are usually a great deal of members passing through at all hours. Odors abound at all times and the soap sucks (if there is any in the dispenser).
Your Gym Etiquette
There has been plenty of snide remarks about other’s etiquette in the previous paragraphs, but this is now about your etiquette. Before reading this section, know that you do not have to heed this advice at all. You can disregard any and all of this, however, don’t say you weren’t warned.
There are three rules of etiquette you ought to learn before attending whatever gym you decide to go to. Follow through with these three practices and your gym life will go smoothly. Refuse them at your peril.
- Avoid periods of inactivity on your piece of equipment or station: periods of rest are necessary to get the most out of your workout, and many people are understanding of that. What won’t be tolerated is several minutes of Instagram scrolling between sets.
- Put back any and all of your equipment in its proper place after use: no matter how slovenly others are, you be the better person and put your equipment away properly after use. Everyone is watching, even those who do not put the equipment away properly. (Interesting, right)? Everyone develops a quiet reputation in the gym, let yours be one that others respect. Do this from the beginning stages and you’ll develop the habit to always do it.
- Wipe down your equipment after use: sweaty or not, always wipe down your equipment after use. It seems like common sense, but you would be surprised how many refuse to do this. Again, your reputation precedes you, let it be one of cleanliness and respect for others.
Using the showers
Two things to consider when using the showers:
First things first, no matter what gym you’re attending you must assume that the floor is lava. Always, always, always bring shower shoes. Even the cleanest looking places can give you an infection. If you haven’t heard of MRSA, please check it out before you decide not to wear shower shoes.
Secondly, if you’re going to be a member of a gym it seems best to always assume that others are just as professional as you. The time of others ought to be treated with the same respect you give to yourself. If you catch yourself taking a marathon shower that lasts into the double-digit minutes, perhaps it’s time to wrap it up.
*Side note: it seems like there’s a great deal of nit-picky things you need to be aware of to use a gym. Remember, this is a guide to help you have the best time possible and to become a quality member of a gym. If you’re success-minded, the gym can be a great place to network. If you’re already vetted as someone who is considerate and conscientious, you’ll go that much further meeting other quality people.
Making friends with the staff
Making friends with the staff -or at least being cordial with the staff- obviously will not make or break the effectiveness of your workouts for longterm weight loss. What it will do for you, however, is aid in the feeling of community at your gym. If the gym turns into a place where everyone knows your name, you’re much more likely to make it a longterm habit. Additionally, people like to feel appreciated, especially the staff at a gym who put a great deal of effort making sure you have a clean and safe workout environment. Who knows, you may even get a few extra guest passes or free training sessions from your friendliness.
By now, you should be able to walk into your first gym with a lot less anxiety and a lot more excitement. From this short blog post you now have an understanding as to what will set the tone for a positive, effective gym life.
In summary, you now know:
- The culture, etiquette, and state of the facilities of many of the common gyms you will choose from
- How to ensure your gym etiquette is on point
- How to navigate taking a shower after your gym experience
- How making friends with the gym staff will positively affect your gym life
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