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10 Things You Should Know Before You Go to Gym

These expert-endorsed tips will help you make the most of your workouts.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

You have finally made the decision to prioritize your health and join a gym. Now what? Before you walk into a fitness center or studio for the first time, there are a few things you should know, explains Sara Haley, American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified trainer and instructor. Here is what you should think about prior to your first workout.

Most Gyms Offer a Free Personal Training Session

Fit woman talking to her trainer at the gym.

Many gyms offer a free personal training session, says Haley. "Even if you've belonged for a while, check and see if your session is still available," she recommends. "It's a great way to get to know the gym and equipment, as well as potentially meet an amazing personal trainer."

Check Out the Group Fitness Offerings


"Get a group fitness schedule and make yourself go to a class," suggests Haley. "You might be surprised at how fun it is and make a new friend."

Don't Compare Yourself to Others

Group of Six Athletic People Running on Treadmills, Doing Fitness Exercise. Athletic and Muscular Women and Men Actively Workout in the Modern Gym. Sports People Workout in Fitness Club. Side View

Try not to compare yourself, especially if this is your first time ever at the gym, encourages Haley. "This is YOUR workout — no one else's."

Don't Be Intimidated


"On a similar note, don't be intimidated," says Haley. "Everyone is there working on themselves. They're not that interested in what you're doing."

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You Should Always Wipe Down Your Equipment

Young happy and smiling woman cleaning and weeping expensive fitness gym equipment with sprayer and cloth.

There's a reason why most gyms keep wipes in open sight. "If supplies are available, wipe down your equipment after (and maybe even before) your workout," says Haley.

Stay Consistent

man Rope tie shoe run in gym

It's great that you worked out today, but plan on returning tomorrow. "Stay consistent!" says Haley. "One time in the gym won't give you the results you want. It takes time."

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Bring Your Own Headphones

Panoramic Side view of beautiful young asian woman running on treadmill and listening to music via headphone with arm a smart watch for tracking speed during sports training in a gym.

The majority of gyms these days have televisions or even personal screens on the workout equipment for your use. However, they do require headphones so always keep a pair in your exercise bag.

Ask About Current Challenges

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Signing up for a challenge can be a great way to motivate yourself and stay accountable. Most gyms offer group challenges, whether that means attending a certain amount of classes or workouts in a specific period, or shaving inches off your waistline.

Investigate Incentives

Beautiful young woman relaxing in Finnish sauna

Small incentives or rewards can motivate you to exercise – and they don't have to cost money or add extra calories to your diet. Many gyms have saunas or steam rooms, which can be a relaxing post-workout treat. And, some – like Planet Fitness – offer free tanning with an upgraded membership.

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Make Friends

A beautiful girl and her well-built boyfriend are greeting each other with a high-five. They are happy to see each othr in the gym. Young people are ready to start their workout.

Remember that the majority of people at the gym are there for the same reason as you are – to become a healthier version of themselves. The gym is a great place to make friends, who can double as workout and accountability buddies.

💪🔥Body Booster: Don't compare yourself to other people at the gym. This is your workout — no one else's.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more