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Gym 101: For beginners

Hitting the gym for the first time can be intimidating. You don’t know your way around, the music is loud, and at first glance everyone looks like an expert. With all the different machines and equipment lying around, it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start.

Getting to know the equipment is an important step for being comfortable at the gym. One thing that helped me was taking a beginner’s weight class. It helped me learn different exercises, proper form, and what muscle groups each exercise would target. It also was a great way to meet other beginners. It gave me more confidence knowing I wasn’t the only one just starting out, and that everyone was there with the same goal in mind: to improve our health and get stronger.

If this isn’t something your gym offers, don’t fret. We created an infographic that serves as a beginners guide to gym equipment. It’s a great visual of gym equipment, basic exercises, and other tips and tricks for starting at the gym. Here’s a run down of what it covers:

Free weights and machines
Free weights includes equipment such as dumbbells, plates and bars, and kettlebells. These are great choices for doing exercises like kettlebell swings, bicep curls, and shoulder presses. Machines are a great option for beginners because it helps you keep proper form, and they often have instructions on the machines if you’re unable to find staff or a personal trainer to help you. (Additional help can be found on YouTube! Search for the exercise you’d like to perform or the name of the machine, and you can find multiple tutorial videos.)

What to bring
If you’re brand new to the gym scene, it might be hard to know exactly what to bring. In addition to bringing obvious basics (proper clothes, shoes), make sure you have a water bottle, a lock, your gym pass, a towel and a music player with headphones!

Gym shopping
It’s important to tour multiple gyms and find which one has the right equipment, culture, and trainers for your needs. Make sure you check contracts, pricing, classes they offer, personal training options, and peak attendance hours. Fun fact: In 2014, the average monthly membership cost was $41.

I hope this article inspires you to try hitting the gym and getting in a good workout. And if you’re not a beginner, I hope this sheds some light on some of the struggles beginners might face.

What’s your advice for gym beginners? Do you prefer free weights or machines? Let us know in the comment field below!


This post is contributed by Samantha Thayer, Online Outreach and Education Specialist from What’s Up, USANA?. For more information on health, feel free to visit their blog or find them on Twitter @USANAInc.