We’ve all thought it.

“I’m going to start working out and get into the best shape of my life.”

Then you think of the gym and all the pressures that come with it. Like thinking you have to be in shape before you go so you don’t look silly in front of other people. Or don’t try anything new, stick with what you know and you’ll be okay.

If you are considering joining a gym, and are not sure what to do, here is a beginner’s guide to going to the gym:

Step 1: Mentally Get Your Head in the Right Place

If you are going to start using a gym, you should get your head into the right place. Here are some things you should know:

  • Everybody around you is just as self-conscious as you are. No one is focusing on you because they are too busy focusing on themselves.
  • Everybody starts somewhere. People think you need to look good first before going to the gym. That’s not how it works, you need to go to the gym to get stronger, and then look good.

Once you realize that most of the above fears are unfounded, it’s time to prepare.

Step 2: Get the Lay of the Land

When you get in, ask someone at the front desk for some guidance. It’s what they are here for! Ask them if you can get a tour of the gym, or where a good spot to stretch is, or how to work any specific equipment.

Once that is done, walk over to a stretching area and do a few basic stretches while observing your surroundings. Once that is done, try an equipment – like the treadmill! It’s a good idea to do some cardio because it will get you moving and out of your head.

Step 3: Try Some Weight Lifting

Once you’ve become comfortable with doing stretches and being on the treadmill, try giving a weight-lifting machine a shot…after some bodyweight exercises. As a beginner, the best thing to do is to do some bodyweight exercises in a place where you’re not in the way.

Some examples of bodyweight exercises are:

  • Squats
  • Pushups

And alternate between the two for now. Perhaps 10 reps of each for two minutes or so.

Step 4: Give Dumbbells a Try

Don’t start with the big dumbbells straight off the bat. Grab a single 10lb dumbbell and a flat bench and practice some exercises, whether it be one or two circuits of each one. Once you feel confident in using dumbbells, you can add them to the body weight exercises by holding them at arm’s length when doing squats.

Step 5: How About Barbells?

After weeks or months of doing consistent exercise with the above machines and equipment, maybe give barbells a try!

It’s time to pick up a barbell and learn how to squat and deadlift with them. Be aware that it takes time to build the strength to use these, so with the proper procedures and techniques, combined with patience, you will be able to do it.

These are the first five main steps that will get you started on the path to a fitter and better life. Good luck!

All credit goes to Forest City Fitness