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  • Writer's pictureRachel Bennett

The newbies are coming...

Next week starts the new year, and if you are an annoying healthy person or aspiring to be one it seems to be a pivotal time for goal setting and getting started.  As I was walking into the gym yesterday, I started to think about what next would look like when I stroll in at 5:15-ish a.m. Will it be more people there? Probably. Will they be taking up a lot of the space that I would like to have when working out? Most likely. Will it bother me? I sure hope not. The more people the better right? If I genuinely want to help make the world a healthier place, then that means more healthy people doing healthy things. This means more people at the gym or running on the roads.

So here are a few tips for those that are bracing to be annoyed as new people show up.

  • Be prepared to pivot. Have a plan but have an option to move to dumbbells or plate weights if the machines and cables are occupied. Maybe even switch up what muscle group you’re planning to work. 

  • Ask to work in… and be ok with someone else asking you to work in. You know you need to prioritize the rest times anyhow.

  • Volume training might be your best bet. If you finally get that machine that’s been occupied, stay there.  Instead of 3 sets go for 5 or 6.  Make it worth the wait.

  • If you’re in strength training group classes, share the dumbbells.  The newbies will be going for lighter weights (or at least they should be), so this is a suitable time to challenge yourself with increasing your weight.

  • Smile, and remember that you started out as a beginner once. And it was intimidating. A smile from someone who is seasoned can go a long way for those that are just trying not to look like an idiot.

  • Limit the cardio to 30 minutes if the treadmills and bikes are crowded.

  • If all else fails and your blood pressure is at risk every time you go to the gym in January, then maybe incorporating more at-home workouts is a viable alternative.

And keep reading for those that are just getting started. If you’ve never been to a gym, it can be intimidating. It’s ok, there’s going to be a lot of other newbies there.  There’s also going to be some more seasoned gym goers that might be jerks. Gotta love humanity, right. But don’t let that deter you from getting started.

  • When you get started, please don’t go with the “Go hard, or go home” mentality. You’ll overdo it and be so sore you won’t want to go back.  Start small and build from there.

  • Check the vibe. Gyms aren’t one size fits all. It’s best to sign up for a free visit.  Some gyms offer a free week to check them out. If you like the vibe, you’re more likely to go back.

  • If you’re intimidated by all the machines, you might want to hop on the treadmill or bike and start people watching. Check out what other people do and how to use the machines and set a plan for your next visit.

  • Attend a class! This is probably the best and easiest way to meet other people AND get a good workout. If you create a connection, you’ll commit to showing up more.  It’s built in accountability. 

  • Most gyms will offer a free personal training session. Yes, they’re trying to get you to pay for personal training, so I have two suggestions here.

    • Use the free one to get advice from a trainer on how to use machines and what you should do to get started.

    • If you invest in personal training, you’re more likely to show up.  So, if you have the cash, pull the trigger. You won’t regret getting the 1:1 guidance.

  • Take progress pics and celebrate wins as you get started and all along the way.

** As I wrote this, I’m remembering all the time that I would try to go to the gym and just get freaked out.  I was lucky to have an apartment gym with lots of equipment when I started out. And then I joined an all-women’s gym after that. During COVID I stopped going to the gym and just worked out from home. Once I was ready to go back, I wanted to try a smaller gym that was geared more toward lifters, and I was so intimidated. It wasn’t my vibe.  So, I moved along to a more commercial gym where I felt so much more comfortable. Everyone’s journey is so different, so keep on with yours. Pivot if you need to but keep on.

Cheers to 2024. It will be what you make it.


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