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Published: 15 June 2021

Thinking of joining the gym? Top tips for beginners

Research by Nuffield Health has revealed that a whopping 55% of gym-going Brits have no idea what they’re doing at the gym, and just copy others on site!

We totally understand though - joining a gym can be overwhelming at first. When you notice the regulars seem to know how to use all the equipment, understand etiquette no-one told you about and can just hop right into things– it can be quite nerve-wrecking! If you’re anxious about going to a gym for the first time though, read our tips below so you can join with the same amount of confidence. Plus remember - we all started somewhere!

Choosing the right gym 

To stay motivated and look forward to going to the gym, you need to find the right gym. Search for local gyms and compare what facilities they offer, their car parking situation (or walking distance from a bus stop) and check their opening hours. All these things are important and will help you narrow down your options.

Once you’ve found a gym or two you’re interested in, call and arrange a tour with them. This is a great chance to see the gym in action, test its accessibility and find out membership options. It’s also great for introducing you to the layout of the gym and helping you learn your way around. You’ll feel much more comfortable with your first gym session if you know where the basic facilities are!

Another helpful tip is to check the gym’s class timetable. It’ll give you a great idea of when the gym will be busiest, what classes or workshops may interest you and some of the areas their fitness teams are trained in.

Feel free to ask the fitness or reception team when their quieter or busiest hours are. They’ll be able to help you find the best visiting times for your personal needs.  

Other factors to consider:

When looking around the gym on your introductory tour, be sure to look at:

  • The lighting – is it too bright or dim?
  • Whether the workout areas are spacious
  • Are there enough machines to cater for everyone?
  • Is the music volume too loud?
  • Is the fitness team easily accessible if I have a problem?

How much does a gym membership cost? 

Every individual gym has a different, but no doubt competitive, membership fee. A lot of gyms offer a variety of membership options, meaning you may be able to buy an off-peak membership if you’re happy to visit at certain times for a cheaper price.

When on your tour, ask for full membership options. Do not be afraid to ask whether it’s a fixed contract either. It’s important to know how long you need to commit for when becoming a member.

Do I need a specific fitness goal in mind when joining the gym?

No, you don’t need to have a specific fitness goal in mind when joining but having a general aim will help keep you motivated enough to keep returning. Even if it’s as simple as “exercising twice a week for 30 minutes” or “swimming once a week before a cup of coffee and rest”, such targets will help you begin a healthy fitness journey.

Do I really need to join a gym to achieve my fitness goals?

If we’re honest, many fitness goals can be achieved outside of a gym, but it’s much easier to motivate yourself in a gym. Gyms also provide a variation of equipment and professional advice, which will keep exercising exciting. There’s also a great opportunity to join a community if that is of interest to you. If you regularly attend or join exercise classes, you’ll meet and befriend other gym-goers and instructors, who you’ll already know enjoy yoga or spinning classes as much as you do!   

A gym also provides a comfortable and ‘all-weather’ friendly place to train, something your local park can’t always promise!

What should I wear to the gym?

It’s important to wear comfortable, supportive clothing and trainers when going to the gym. Try to find stretchy material that allows you to move as you need to. If you’re worried about sweating, wear dark clothing, and avoid vests or singlets. It may be worth investing in material that dries quickly too.

While sports-gear is the big trend at the moment, a t-shirt and leggings or long shorts are often all you need. Though for ladies, we do recommend finding a great sports bra that provides enough support.

What should I pack in my gym bag?

Make sure you bring a bottle of water (though most gyms offer water stations), a towel for drying, any shower essentials and maybe a hairbrush or comb! It may also be necessary to bring a pound coin for the lockers, but before to ask reception about lockers before arriving as you may not need this.

Is there any important gym etiquette I should know?

Every country has different gym etiquette, but generally speaking for the UK, it’s important you:

  • Wipe down machines when you're done using them. Most gyms – especially post-lockdown – offer sanitising sprays and paper towels. Be cautious to other users and wipe down the machine once you are finished.
  • Share the machine. Don’t spend too long on one machine. Unless there are plenty of free machines around you (that are the same type of machine), try to limit how long you use it as someone else may be waiting.
  • Avoid bringing in your cell phone – it’s best to leave your mobile in your locker, or in silent mode. You do not want to worry about your mobile falling out of your pocket while you’re on a machine, nor do you want to interrupt others in the zone!

What else do I need to know?

Never be afraid to approach the fitness team for help. If you’re lost, unsure of how to use a machine or need advice on how best to achieve your fitness goal, speak to the team. They’re trained to be there and help you!

If you’re thinking of joining a gym, we can recommend a Mosaic Spas & Health Clubs site – we train all our team to be helpful, friendly, and informative. You can find a list of your nearest Mosaic health club by clicking here.

Published: 15 June 2021