You’re fat and you know it. Diets have come and gone, all the trendy new exercise devices have taken up residence in your closet; you’ve had more false starts than a high school freshman on a first date. There’s only one solution; join a gym. The idea has tickled your brain since day one, but a gym costs money. You don’t have time to go to a gym. There are exotic diseases running wild over the gym equipment. You’ll have to sign a gym contract that requires you to swear allegiance to Lucifer and promise to commit a felony sometime in the future! Cut the crap. You’re afraid. It’s not the money, the time, or the devil; it’s the idea of walking into a room with fitness gods and not even knowing where to find the locker room. You don’t want to look like an ass. That’s understandable. Take a breath and relax because you’re about to learn how to avoid the three big gym newbie mistakes. You want to look like you belong? Then act like you belong.
It’s a Gym Not a Slumber Party
The easiest way to spot a gym newbie is the overstuffed gym bag. Most people at the gym will carry, at most, a small towel and a water bottle. The gym newbie will be lugging around a small piece of luggage that’s packed like it’s ready for a two week cruise. First, there are usually posted rules that forbid gym bags on the gym floor (newbies never read the rules). Second, locker rooms have lockers for you to lock up your stuff. Third, what is wrong with you? Why do you need a beach towel, a gallon of Gatorade, and a defibrillator? You’re not traveling to the Sahara. You can leave whenever you want; this is not the Hotel California. Pack as light as possible. If you can’t live without your blankie, stick it in a locker. You’ll soon find that working out is a lot more fun without having to haul a full wardrobe around the gym.
Don’t Mess Up the Gym with Your Blood
You came to the gym because you’re a fat, weak side of whale blubber. That implies you don’t have a lot of strength, endurance, or muscle tone. You see a well built fella performing bicep curls with substantial weight. You decide to do the same exercise with the same weight. You don’t want to embarrass yourself by using light weights. That’s understandable, but you have to start with smaller weights and slowly build to higher reps and sets. Then, you can gradually increase your weight. Unfortunately, this well reasoned argument will fall on the deaf ears of a gym newbie, so here are some golden gym nuggets to think over. When you attempt to lift that too heavy weight you’ll feel a tear/pop (there goes a tendon or ligament), then you’ll scream (not a whimper, but a wild monkey type scream), you’ll release the weight and it will fall on a part of your body that you use every day. Then you’ll start bleeding, a lot. Everyone in the gym will come running to see who is dying. If you can still move, you’ll slink out the door without even retrieving your luggage from the locker room. After you’ve gone, the other members will take turns calling you four letter words. The next day you’ll phone the gym and cancel your membership.
It’s a Gym Not a Strip Club
This is for the guy gym newbies. You may think the following advice is rooted in fiction, but it will happen to you. There are girls at the gym. These girls are often attractive, in very good shape, and dressed provocatively. You may work out with one of these girls. You may share some weights. You may both get sweaty. Do not confuse getting sweaty at the gym with getting sweaty between the sheets. Sharing a barbell is not the same as sharing a bed. Something happens to guys’ brain filters at the gym and they make inappropriate comments. The most common is inquiring if a girl’s breasts are real. You scoff at this idea, but it will happen to you. All those endorphins start surging and you feel like Captain Cave Man, but you need to take a breath. This isn’t a bar and the girl is not drunk. She will remember you and what you said. If you don’t want to be ostracized, keep it to yourself.
Now you’re gym ready. Try not to over think the situation. A gym is only a big room with weights, and people. In no time, you’ll be one of the masses. Just try not to get slapped, humiliated, or hospitalized your first day.