Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff: 35 Tips To Make The Most Of Any Gym Visit

By Ishita P

This article was originally published on SportFoy

Working out regularly is a positive habit one must develop. Gyms are a great workout space because they are filled with the right tools and equipment to exercise effectively. So, if you’ve been planning to join a fitness studio, you’re probably looking for its related details. Right from the dos and don’ts to follow in a gym to the things you should be aware of, you’ve probably already come across plenty of information. However, the overload of data about gyms on the internet can leave you feeling overwhelmed and intimidated. But don’t worry, all of these emotions are natural. So, if you’ve been getting all the jitters thinking about joining a gym, we’ll help you calm down. Here are some gym secrets that the staff would seldom share, but these can make your gymming experience more encouraging and enjoyable.

A Judgment-Free Zone

We live in a world where social media has made unrealistic beauty standards seem fine, leading to many people being highly critical of their appearance. Also, this body consciousness often leads people to skip the gym as they are too shy to face the trainers.

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While you may think a lot about how the gym instructor would perceive your appearance, this trainer is here to tell you the truth. He said that they are more concerned with your health. Hence, you need not worry about being judged according to your appearance.

Visit the Gym with a Plan

Imagine entering an exam hall and sitting down for the test without any preparation whatsoever. Do you think you’ll pass? Certainly not! The same applies to the gym, too, where if you’re heading without a plan, don’t expect unrealistic results.

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Most members come to the gym thinking that they will use whatever equipment they feel like in whichever way they want. They don’t have an organized list of goals, which can sometimes make you lose motivation. Always enter the gym with a preliminary workout plan.

Stick to the Process

Are you planning to visit a fitness center to lose some weight? If yes, then you must be aware that many people who come for this purpose tend to go on diets and work out rigorously, impacting their health negatively. Well, doing anything beyond moderation is not recommended.

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If you want to lose weight, taking it slow and adhering to the process is more effective than doing all things at once. If you’re consistent and have perseverance within yourself, you will surely be able to lose weight without needing to go to the extremes of diets and workouts.

Pay Attention to Your Body

While lifting weights, if your muscles start hurting, it is a sign for you to stop. Your body can only handle that much. Doing more than your body can take leads to pain and makes you more prone to injuries.

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It is good to try new equipment and give your best effort at the gym, but that doesn’t mean you should exceed your limits. If your body starts hurting, stop using the equipment immediately and take some time to rest.

A Blessing in Disguise

Gyms are a business. So, even though they may look like a place designed to benefit customers, don’t forget that, at the end of the day, it’s a source of revenue for the owners. In simple terms, they are more concerned with making money, and that is why your first impression is inviting rather than intimidating.

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As soon as you enter the room, you will be greeted with cozy couches, fresh flowers, and calming landscapes. But the actual space where you will sweat it all comes into sight later. Well, this is all done intentionally by gym owners to entice people and grow their business.

Don’t Limit Your Workouts to Treadmill

Many gym-goers feel like running on the treadmill for a long time and eliminating the use of other equipment is enough to achieve fitness goals. But unfortunately, that’s not the case. Too much cardio can burn you out and isn’t recommended by fitness trainers.

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If you’re dedicated to losing weight, don’t limit your workout sessions to using only treadmills. While running on it may make you believe you’ll lose weight, it can make you exhausted faster, straining your muscles and joints. Thus, you should not solely rely on it.

Gyms are a Sweaty Space

People come to the gym to sweat it out, so there is no way you should be expecting the space to be free of dirt and bacteria. Since 2020, everyone thinks twice before touching their faces, but this scenario has always been in existence in fitness centers and gyms.

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Here, several members work out with sweaty bodies in the same enclosed space, and this increases the likelihood of bacteria accumulation, which, in turn, may develop some diseases too. Thus, always carry hand sanitizer with you whenever you’re about to hit the gym.

Trying to Impress the Trainer

You’ll be surprised to know that there are a bunch of people who work hard to get into shape just before joining the gym and meeting their personal trainer. Although it sounds absurd, it is true. However, suffice it to say that this tactic doesn’t work!

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Visitors join gyms to get fit and personal trainers don’t expect you to work with abs and muscles on your first day. They know that you’re in the center to get the same. So, it’s best to focus on your workout routine rather than impressing the trainer.

Set Short-Term Goals

When you plan to stay fit, you may be all pumped up and be determined that you will go to the gym regularly for a year or two. However, before making such commitments, you must consider if you can stick to them.

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Many people get too excited and sign up for an annual gym membership. But eventually, they tend to lose all motivation to visit the gym regularly. In addition, setting up such long-term goals can make you inconsistent, so it’s better to create short-term goals and achieve them in smaller milestones.

Stay Realistic

Hearing your friends rave about how they’ve been feeling fit and healthy ever since joining the gym may tempt you to do the same. But one of the most important things to keep in mind is that being a gym rat requires commitment and consistency. You must first ask yourself if you can do so.

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It is fine if you plan to join a fitness studio but cannot dedicate adequate time to it because you already have other preoccupations. But always ensure to stay honest with yourself and make commitments that you can be consistent with.

Headphones are Your Best Companion

Music is a friend you can confide in at all times. Especially when you’re in the fitness center, headphones can be a great buddy. Gyms are always occupied with people, be it other members or trainers. Hence, social interaction is pretty unavoidable here.

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But if you don’t like interacting much and keep yourself away from small talk, wearing headphones is a great idea. People will understand that you are listening to music and avoid approaching you. That way, you can focus on your workouts better!

Watch Out for Shady Gyms

Whether you are planning to sign up for a new gym membership, already own one, or want to cancel the same, it is crucial to watch out for your bank statements. This is because there may be some gyms that lie on the shady side.

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While not all studios fit this category, some may charge you for a terminated membership, too, and unless you keep a constant check on your bank statements, you won’t be aware of it. Hence, be very careful on this part.

Been There, Done That

If you think you’re too skinny or do not have strong muscles compared to other gym-goers who seem daunting with their perfectly fit bodies, don’t worry, they’ve all been in your position once. However, they’ve been consistent with their efforts to get this good physique.

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Every fitness freak may have been too scrawny or obese when they first came to the gym. People with fit bodies usually don’t join gyms. Instead, poorly shaped visitors join the center to get fit. So, don’t feel intimidated by the people you meet here. Instead, get inspired with their journey in achieving their fitness goals.

Keep a Pre-Packed Gym Bag Handy

Whether you’re going to a lecture or fitness studio, being prepared on the go always seems better, doesn’t it? So, if you have a bag pre-packed with all the necessary gym items, you will feel the drive to do seamless workout sessions.

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Always pack your gym bag with items you need there the most, like a water bottle, sanitizer, and a change of clothes. So, when you rush outside, you don’t have to keep searching for things. It will save a lot of your time and energy.

Do it in the Proper Form

Following a proper form when working out and using gym equipment is essential because, without the same, you can be prone to injuries, leading to long-term health consequences. All experienced gym-goers are already aware of it. But newbies can sometimes need a reminder.

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So, if you don’t know the correct way to use any gym equipment, ask for some help. Your mates will always be happy to help you. However, ensuring that you are in the correct posture when lifting weights or using the equipment is highly necessary.

Hand Sanitizers and Washing Hands is Still Relevant

In early 2020, the word for using hand sanitizers and washing hands regularly spread worldwide. But now that things are returning to normal, this practice is slowly dying out. However, when it comes to the gym, it is still essential.

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As mentioned earlier, gyms are sweaty spaces. Also, because the equipment you are using is not exclusive to you and has been used by several others before you, it is necessary to wash your hands and apply sanitizer after using the same. It will prevent you from contracting nasty diseases like ringworm.

Right Diet is Extremely Important

Many members believe that working out vigorously and eating whatever they desire will balance it all out, but this isn’t true. Following a proper and balanced diet is extremely important if you want to gain effective results from your workout sessions.

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You must ensure that your diet contains all the nutritional elements your body needs to stay fit. By doing so, even working out 3 times a week for 1 hour can give you a good shape. Thus, the right combination of diet and exercise can give you the ultimate success!

Personal Trainers are Good Motivators

Gyms never stop us from feeling guilty. Thus, they develop a need for us to join the gym and work out more often. And while they’re good at developing these feelings, they’re also good at helping you get a fit body, especially if you have a personal trainer.

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With dedicated personal trainers, you may always feel the need to exercise more and look fit every day. If you miss any training session, you may feel guilty about disappointing your trainer. And this is exactly how they serve as a good source of motivation, helping you accomplish your wellness goals.

Look for the Right Joining Time

During the New Year, most people get hyperexcited and make a resolution to work on themselves by joining the gym. You may be a part of the bandwagon, too, and seeing that gyms offer great New Year deals, you may think it’s the right time to join.

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But this gym staff has some advice for you. Due to numerous people joining at once in January, the studio gets more crowded than ever. And with that crowd, you’re more likely to get discouraged or not get full use of the facilities. Wait until February or March to sign up and/or attend.

Have a Positive Perception

Many people consider going to the gym a stressful activity, while some take it positively. We’d suggest you do the latter. Don’t go to the center believing that it is a punishing place. Instead, think of it as the space that will help you maintain your physical and mental well-being.

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A gym is filled with equipment that consumes your energy, but it also has peaceful steam rooms and calm yoga spaces to soothe your inner soul. You just need to have an optimistic outlook toward the studio. The more positively you perceive it, the more time you’ll spend there effectively.

Let Go of Paranoid Thoughts

Feeling paranoid that everyone is looking at you and judging your appearance during your workout in the gym is natural because it is a place where members constantly put in their effort to look fit and fine. But it might not always be the way you think!

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Indeed, a gym has many mirrors, and people care about their appearance. But everyone in the room is more focused on working out. So, if you think they’re looking at you, relax! They’re not staring at you with judgmental eyes. Instead, they might be genuinely feeling good for you.

Try to Avoid Dieting

If you assume that dieting will boost the results you gain from your gym sessions, personal trainers think otherwise. In fact, they don’t recommend doing so before you start working out because it makes you devoid of all the necessary nutrients your body needs for energy.

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If you go to the gym and diet simultaneously, you may feel fatigued and get exhausted quickly. Moreover, it can lead to stress and mood swings. Therefore, try to avoid diets and focus on your workouts instead. Take things one step at a time for a healthier lifestyle.

Consider Using Lower Weight

You may go to the gym and lift higher weights using all your energy, but will it be of any good if you do not use the weights in a proper form? While lifting higher weights sounds flattering, do what’s best for you.

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Try lower weights if you do not have enough energy or know the correct form to use heavy weights. Exercising in a proper form at lower weights will prevent straining your muscles and help you use your energy more effectively.

Getting Advice is Good

All those Netflix shows and popular movies may make you believe that the guys with huge muscles are unfriendly and a bully. But in reality, they’re not. A gym employee said that if any such buff guy comes to you with advice, hear them out.

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If you’re particularly new to the gym, don’t hesitate to ask them for help. It will prevent you from getting injured while using the equipment. Also, when some advice comes your way, learn to accept it rather than thinking that people are only trying to bring you down.

Time and Effort Matters

If you feel that you’ll get into good shape right after going to the gym for a few days, think again because those fit and well-built gym-goers you look up to work out regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle. So, to achieve such a fruitful result, you must make such efforts, too.

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Casual visits to the fitness studio won’t be enough to get into your desired shape. You must be consistent with your workout sessions and change your lifestyle by incorporating healthy and active habits. Hence, look to employ such practices for a fit body.

Turn Off Your Phone

Nowadays, most people feel the need to post every detail of their life on social media. Well, here’s a wake-up call! You’re in the gym to exercise and not pose for your feed. Focus on the more important thing you’re there for.

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When you constantly click gym selfies and post them online, your nervous system gets overloaded, which will not help your workout sessions. So, the next time you’re at the gym, keep your cell phone in your bag and not in your hand.

Work Out in Limits

Advice that gets thrown around quite often is to push your limits, but trainers don’t recommend it for your gymming sessions. Instead of trying too hard to do more than your body can take, they suggest doing what you can.

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However, looking at all other gym-goers, you may easily get involved in a mental competition with them. But remember, the only person you should be competing with is yourself. Otherwise, in the effort to beat your friends, you’d get severely injured. So, go slow and steady and take a break whenever needed.

Gyms are Inspiring

There is a common assumption that gyms can make you anxious because when you enter the space, all you can see are members with toned abs and perfect muscles. But then, there is a group of people who find this inspiring.

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Indeed, looking at those perfect bodies may make you feel envious, but it also energizes you to work harder and gain similar results for yourself. Hence, it is a great way to feel less insecure and more encouraged than intimidated.

The Anabolic Window Doesn’t Exist

One of the most popular myths regarding gymming is the concept of the anabolic window, which implies that you must eat within half an hour of your workout. However, it lacks scientific evidence, and you do not have to stick to such practices.

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Instead of following an anabolic window, you can simply eat anytime you want after your workout. Just ensure to consume the required calories throughout the day. After all, it isn’t about when you’re eating but rather what you’re eating that matters most.

 Balance it Out

As mentioned earlier, there is one group of people who only go to the gym to use the treadmill, while another group goes for the weight machines. Both of these solo goals are wrong and not recommended by any instructor.

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Gyms accommodate plenty of equipment for a reason. So, if you’re only lifting weights but not doing cardio, it’s pointless and vice versa. Hence, personal trainers recommend full-body workouts using different equipment and free weights to reduce injuries and make the sessions more effective.

You’re Not in the Spotlight

If you’ve been worrying about some spotlight syndrome when hitting the gym for the first time, don’t worry about it. Everyone is busy with their own workout routines, and they’re not really watching you. People have their own struggles to manage.

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When you enter the fitness center with such a fear, you won’t be able to enjoy your workout experience entirely. So instead, you should be free and learn to let go of any paranoid shackles surrounding your mind to exercise peacefully.

Follow Gym Manners

You must have seen people placing their bags on a vacant seat on a bus or train to indicate it is occupied. Well, the same practice is also followed for gym equipment. But this behavior is not only rude but inconsiderate, too.

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So, whenever you visit the gym, do not place your belongings on the equipment to reserve it. Whether you use it or don’t, do not try to save the spot for later because this can be frustrating for other members.

Try to Experience the Best of Both Worlds

Do you want to watch Netflix at home instead of going out? Well, this staff recommends you binge on Netflix and work out instead! So, if you have a favorite show, just save it and watch it at the gym while doing something productive.

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It may sound absurd, but do you remember how you could not wait to finish your work and catch the latest episode of your favorite show? So, limiting your bingeing sessions to your workout sessions can be a great motivating factor for hitting the gym often.

Find Your Piece of Peace

Do you think going to the fitness center means just engaging in a stressful and tiring workout session? Well, this shouldn’t be the premise of your gym routine. Instead, you should look for a piece of equipment, exercise style, or a space you find utmost comfort in.

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So, the next time you think about your gym, try to imagine this area or working out with this equipment or your favorite style; you will automatically find the motivation to go to the center every day. It will help you enjoy your gym sessions full-fledged than seeing them as a routine task.

It’s Not About the Gram

Here’s some brutal but honest advice from a fitness instructor – if you’re only joining the gym for your Instagram, don’t! There was a life before Instagram, and if you’re trying to get fit or hitting the studio only to post pretty pictures of the same, it’s not worth it.

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If you look at most gym professionals, they don’t use Instagram regularly because they are more focused on achieving goals for their real life rather than the virtual ones. Thus, you should also strive to accomplish the same in reality if you are truly serious about gymming.