The gym can be intimidating to a brand new fitness enthusiast, so we rounded up tips from the team at World Health Edmonton to make sure your first workout is comfortable, fun and productive!
Be Okay With Not Being Okay. “As scary as it can be, always remember that everyone (even the most experienced gym goers) have felt the way you feel right now. Getting outside your comfort zone is part of growing as a person and the gym is no different!” says Tanya Henderson, World Health City Centre personal trainer. “Once you become more confident and comfortable, that I’m not okay feeling does go away!”
Beat the Basics. “Prioritize training compound lifts over isolation movements at first,” says World Health St. Albert Trail personal trainer Trevor Mah. Isolation exercises involve only one joint and a limited number of muscle groups whereas compound exercises work two or more joints and muscles. “People new to the gym need to establish muscle memory first and compound lifts such as squats, push ups and rows all get muscles moving in a way that makes everything else down the road easier.”
Manners Matter. “Try not to grunt, swear or be too loud during a workout,” advises personal trainer Brieanna Burlington from World Health Jasper Ave. “Also, ask people around you if they’re using equipment… be aware of your surroundings!”
Establish Etiquette. “Remember to re-rack the weights and clean off the equipment when you’re done,” advises Ashley Johnson. “And try to avoid getting in someone’s mirror!”
Don’t Duck Out. Trying a new group class? “The warm up can be the hardest part of the class,” advises Ron McPhee, World Health Edmonton group class instructor. “If you’re thinking, if this is the warm-up, how will I survive an hour of this? take heart. When you make it through that first 20 minutes, you’ve made it through the worst of it.” Ron also encourages modifications to help you get through the class. “Skip reps or take intensity down a notch or two but no matter what, stay for the whole class.”
Be Selfish… Sometimes. “Leave the phone in your locker and make the 60 minutes about you!” says Jennifer Neilson, World Health Edmonton yoga instructor. “But also be mindful of people around you when leaving the yoga room as some may still be in Savasana or relaxing.”
Cut the Comparisons. “You have no idea what chapter of someones book they are currently writing,” says World Health Jasper Avenue personal trainer Jessi Zelinksy. “You’re on chapter one and someone else is on chapter 10. Never belittle your accomplishments based on someone else. You are your only competition!”
Partner Up. Personal trainer Devon Change from World Health Jasper Ave stresses the value of a reliable gym buddy. “Having a like-minded workout partner is huge for keeping you accountable,” he explains. “But when it’s gym time, it’s gym time- no slacking off or getting distracted by things that slow down your workout. Keep your rest times on point and be diligent in not getting caught up in conversation.”
Trust the Teacher. Think just anyone can waltz in and teach a group class? Think again! “At World Health Edmonton we are proud to say our instructors go through intensive training to become certified,” says Director of Group Fitness Francois Coetzer. “Each program has over 300 hours of research, market testing and fitness science poured into it to ensure our participants reach the maximum benefits of classes.”
Embrace Amenities. World Health is proud to offer a child minding service so you can get changed, workout, and enjoy a steam totally uninterrupted. “We all deserve to time for ourselves to achieve a higher level of health,” says Shawna Knowles from Kids Club. “Kids love to get out too, it’s a great way to socialize them.” Additionally, the safety of you and your little ones is paramount to us. “The gym floor should not have kids on it ever,” advises Shawna. “The heavy equipment has many pinch points and people tend to get in the zone and not notice kids which creates a serious hazard.”
Food is Fuel. World Health St. Albert Trail personal trainer Trevor Mah emphasizes the importance of proper nutrition. “Don’t slash calories… starving yourself to lose weight will only down-regulate your metabolism and you’ll burn fewer calories daily,” he explains. “Not to mention this will make it difficult to exercise and leave you feeling sluggish.”
What is your top tip for a gym newbie? Let us know in the comments!