Updated: Jan 20, 2022
The first day in the gym can be extremely nerve racking and daunting for some. Maybe you're thinking about joining the gym, but are nervous for your first day.
It's completely understandable, and we've all experienced it before! We realize that it can seem pretty unnerving, and that's why we're going to be giving you a couple of tips and pointers to your first day in the gym so that you can make sure it goes as smoothly as possible!
The 8 Best Tips to Crushing Your First Day
Have a Plan and Know What You're Going to be Doing
One of the best tips that we, and anybody in general could give you is to make a plan before your session. Ideally, you would've been given a quick induction to the gym when you first joined it.
If you paid attention during the induction and properly learnt the basic layout of your gym, this will make it much easier.
It's important that you plan out everything you're going to do on your first day, including your warmup, your workout, order of exercises, sets and reps, and post-workout recovery.
Doing this is going to ensure that you don't waste too much time figuring everything out whilst you're in the gym, and look less like a beginner too. Nobody likes to be humiliated or feel embarrassed in front of everyone.
Having a plan will also help you make sure that things run smoothly. You don't want to accidentally jump onto the wrong exercise machine, or pick up the wrong type of weight. Especially for beginners, this can quickly lead to confusion and a decrease in the overall satisfaction of the workout.
If you want to make sure that your first workout goes the way you want it to, preparation has to start long before the first session.
If you would like to browse some of our free workouts that you can use with exercise guides, check out our workouts blog category here! Or, you can upgrade your account to Gympulsive Pro and receive a headstart with your fitness and boost gains fast!
And check out our blog post and warmup guide here to ensure that you reduce the chances of injury as much as possible!
Bring a Friend
Bringing a friend with you is a great way to reduce the nerves of your first day in the gym, and make you feel less intimidated by the environment! Whether your friend is a seasoned lifter or also someone just starting out with you, having someone else with you is a great way to ensure that the workout is more enjoyable and goes as planned.
If you do decide to bring a friend, make sure that you plan everything out with them, and both agree on what you're going to do, and how you're going to do it.
For example, if your first workout includes squats, are you both going to do them on the same squat rack? Do you both agree that you're going to do them with free weights? Or is one of you wanting to do them on a machine instead? You need to both be agreeing on the same plan so that you don't run into any conflicts in the middle of your session.
Bringing a friend can also help to make figuring everything out easier. Two brains is (usually) better than one.
And, of course, having a friend with you to encourage and motivate you is going to make your workout more effective in terms of making gains and progress. You'll find the energy to push harder and feel more overall satisfaction from the workout if you've got a friend there with you for encouragement.
Get a Good Night's Rest Beforehand
Prior to your first day in the gym, you should do everything in your power to get some quality sleep. Whether you do this by reading a book before bed, or settling down and skipping that nighttime TV binge, there's likely one or two things that you could do/improve to make sure that you get as much quality sleep as possible.
Getting good sleep the night before your first session will help you to feel fresher heading into the session, which not only improves athletic performance, but mood, motivation and overall quality of the workout as well.
You'll also be able to think more clearly, make smarter decisions and really help to ensure the workout runs smoothly if you make an effort to sleep well the night before.
Nobody likes to head into the gym feeling tired or unmotivated. And especially if it's your first day, it can really throw things off and cause your satisfaction of the workout to drop.
Have Plenty to Eat and Drink Before the Workout
The next step to maximizing the quality of this first workout is to make sure that you're eating enough and eating well several hours prior to the session, and having plenty of water to drink as well.
This goes hand in hand with getting a good night's rest. Taking the time to get in some proper nutrition will help you feel more energized and motivated heading into the gym, which will help you perform at your best, reduce feelings of fatigue, and feel better in the gym.
Have some of your favorite foods, get lots of carbs in, and have lots of water to drink. If you're not performing at your best, or you're feeling slow and sluggish during your workout, things are less likely to go your way and problems are more likely to arise.
Plus, being fed and more hydrated will reduce your feelings of fatigue and improve your mood, which will once again help to improve the overall satisfaction of your workout.
Play It Safe
By playing it safe, we mean respecting your limits and not going crazy with the weight that you're lifting. Also, don't try to attempt anything until you're absolutely sure you can do it safely.
There are some exercises that are inherently tougher to perform, whether they require more flexibility or physical strength, such as a barbell front squat or a handstand push up respectively. Don't try to perform any exercise if you're unsure whether or not it's safe for you to attempt.
Also, start with the lightest weight possible. Whether this means the empty barbell, or the lightest stack of plates on the weight machine. Doing this is going to help you learn the proper form of the exercise safely, and reduce the risk of you ending up in unfavorable or dangerous positions, carrying heavy loads.
Always, always start with a load that you're sure you can handle. Otherwise, your chances of injury will increase.
For example, if you were to jump straight into a dumbbell bench press without learning proper form and learning how to control the weight, you might end up dropping a dumbbell flat on your face. This will no doubt lead to injury and cause your workout to go downhill.
Instead, take the time to learn the proper form and use weights that you can control. Ask your friend to spot you if they can. This simply means being by your side should something happen and you need help. They'll then be able to help you out and make sure you're safe.
If, at any point in the workout you feel pain, you should stop immediately and reassess what you're dong. And someone that's more experienced to check your form/technique. Ask the gym supervisor if you're not comfortable with random strangers.
However, you'll want to try and learn the difference between muscle pain from hard work, and pain from an injury/developing injury. We can't describe it in words, but as you get more and more experienced, you'll gradually learn the difference. If you have experience as an athlete or hands-on job, then you'll likely know this already.
But just to be safe, if at any point, you feel pain or severe discomfort, stop immediately and find some help. Nothing is so important that you can't take the time to do it safely.
No matter how hard you work, no matter how much weight you lift, suffering a serious injury can set you back weeks, months or even for the rest of your life if you're not careful. That's only in the most extreme cases though.
Remember the Right Etiquette
Next up, you need to keep all your rules and gym etiquette in mind. By this, we mean doing things like putting your weights back, after you're done using them, wiping your benches down if that's a rule at your gym, not hogging equipment, etc.
This is going to prevent you from running into any unwanted conflicts with others in your gym, and help you become a good all-round lifter in the gym from day one. Basically, you don't want to get into any trouble on day one. It's just not a good look to the gym supervisor and it's not fun in any way.
We'll provide you with a list of the most common examples of gym etiquette that you'll probably want to follow:
put the weights back after you're done with them
wide down your machines and benches
don't drop slam the weights on the ground
respect the personal space of others
be flexible about what you do if the gym is crowded
bring your own towel
wear deodorant if you find that you smell
always ask if you're unsure whether equipment is still being used
try not to block someone's view of the mirror
don't immediately disregard people's advice, but don't take everything at face value either
don't try to give unsolicited advice
try not to make too much noise (grunting, yelling, etc.)
Most of these are generally the unwritten rules that every gymgoer should be following, and it's vital that you do respect these, as it can cause you to get in trouble, offend people or hurt someone if you don't.
Search It Up If You're Unsure
We all know the power of Google. Simply type in you question or query, and 99 out of 100 times, we'll have an answer sitting there for us immediately. Why not take advantage of this and apply this into your first day at the gym?
If you're unsure how to set up an exercise properly, or need help learning the proper form/technique on a particular lift, search it up on Google and YouTube! That's what we first did when we started out. Simply sit down and watch a quick video about how to do your desired task. It's not embarrassing or shameful. Everybody has to learn at some point.
Remember, pretty much any questions that you have, pretty much any queries or doubts that you have can be sorted with a simple search on Google and YouTube. It's one of the blessings in our lives today. Why not take advantage of it and put it to good use?
Don't be Afraid to Ask for Help
Many beginners are shy in the gym. Many do not like approaching stranger, and especially not people that they perceive to be more experienced or skilled than them, such as more seasoned lifters in the gym. Some just feel bad interrupting someone's workout to ask for help.
However, it's important that we do all learn to ask for help when we need it. Asking for help when necessary will help keep us safe, and help improve the quality of our workout.
For example, having a spotter with you on the bench press and barbell squat is always a good idea. Not only does this give you the confidence to push harder for those tough reps towards the end of your sets, but it also gives you more of a safety net, should you actually fail on these reps that you attempt.
Also, if you're a little unsure about something, such as your form or the setup on a particular exercise, don't be afraid to ask someone to check it out for you! It's always worth taking the time to do things safely.
If you can, it's always best to ask someone that's a little more experienced. this is going to ensure that the help you get is of better quality, and you're not going to get hurt doing whatever you're doing.
Remember, if you're not comfortable approaching a stranger at the gym, you can always ask the gym supervisor to help you out! More often than not, they'll be happy to give you a hand in whatever you're doing.
Even if you're doing something as simply as picking up a piece of equipment that you're unsure whether you can lift safely. For example, picking up a heavy dumbbell that's in the wrong place. Even that could lead to an accident and injury if you're not careful enough.
Remember, nothing is so important that you can't take the time to do it safely.
Wrapping It Up
Overall, your first day at the gym can be pretty daunting and unnerving. It is for most people if we're being realistic. However, following these 8 simple tips and tricks will help you ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible, and according to your plan.
Definitely give these tips a try, and try to implement them into your first day training! We hope it goes well, and we hope you enjoy it as much as possible!
If you found this post helpful, remember to share it with your friends so that we can reach more people! We're trying to help as many as possible reach their fitness goals!
And if you want a headstart with your fitness and want to boost gains as fast as possible, upgrade your account to Gympulsive Pro so that we can help you out!