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Healthy You

Tips for Going to the Gym for the First Time

Going to the gym for the first time ever or the first time in a long time can be scary and overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be! One of the most important things to remember is that everyone started where you are now, and more than likely, no one is looking at you.


To make your first trip to the gym a success, Thomas Moran, MD, Sports Medicine at NorthShore, shares tips to help prepare you:

  • Pump yourself up. Remind yourself of your goals and why you’re going. This will help clear your mind of any anxiety of first-day jitters that you may have.
  • Pack your bag. Make sure to bring a towel to wipe your sweat off your face, bring a water bottle, headphones and shoes that are only to be used for in the gym.
  • Make a plan. Plan what you want to do that day when you’re at the gym. Do you want to run a mile? Do you want to hit the weights? Or take a class?
  • Bring a friend. If you know someone who goes to the gym, ask if that person would go with you or invite someone who doesn’t go to the gym to join you to ease any anxious feelings that you may have.
  • Start with a class or a trainer. If you’re not sure where to start or what a proper lunge looks like, trainers or class instructors are there to help.
  • Ask questions. If you don’t know what you’re doing or how a machine works, ask someone. Most gym go-ers are happy to help, and the staff is always there for you. Better to ask than to hurt yourself.
  • Don’t overdo it. Whether you’ve been working out beforehand or not, going to the gym challenges you to work your body in new ways. Pick up the lighter weight and keep your workout on the short side.

Before you start any new exercises, consult with your primary care physician.