8 Things No One Tells You Before Joining a Gym

The new year is just kicking off. Maybe you joined a gym as part of your resolutions, or perhaps you’ve seen your gym flooded with new members that are clueless about proper gym decorum. In the eternal quest for fitness, there are a few things that no one ever tells newcomers about going to the gym, and many of these things come as quite a shock to the poor newbies. Not to worry, though; this article will explain what you need to know and how to tackle those difficult situations.

1. The official membership price is not necessarily the final one

A gym membership can be expensive, especially if you live in a large city. The average cost of memberships usually ranges between $40 to $50 per month, but costs can rise substantially if your gym offers other amenities like a spa or training classes. Of course, you don’t have to settle for that price. You can negotiate, take advantage of deals, and find other ways to lessen the blow to your wallet. LA Fitness prices, for instance, are some of the more reasonable ones, starting at $24.99 per month for a single club membership.

2. Not everyone is familiar with boundaries

Gym-goers, especially women, all have horror stories of someone standing nearby and creepily watching them workout. While this isn’t a common occurrence, it can happen, and the easiest way to handle it is to confront the person. 99.99% of people in a gym are there to improve themselves, and it’s one of the friendliest atmospheres you’ll find. If you call someone out for their behavior, you will find allies quickly.

3. Not everyone is familiar with hygiene

Few things are quite as disgusting as a glistening puddle of sweat on the press bench, and it’s usually in the shape of someone’s head. To avoid spreading any diseases or other undesirables, wipe down the equipment after you finish with it—and before you start. Most gyms have disinfectant wipes readily available, but it’s always a good idea to pack a few of your own in your gym bag.

4. By going to the gym, you’ll start to see other changes in your everyday lifestyle

Going to the gym starts out as a quest for weight loss for many people, but quickly develops into a lifestyle. As most of the gurus say, fitness isn’t a path with a designated end, but something you have to fight for all the time. You’ll notice that you start eating better, forgoing sugary drinks in favor of water. You’ll notice that your self-care goes up as you pay more attention to your looks. And most of all, you’ll notice an increase in your confidence.

5. Personal trainers DO compete against each other (…but they’re also rooting for you)

Personal trainers are competitive by nature, and you’re the subject. While your trainer wants you to improve faster than the guy being trained by that other trainer the two of you don’t talk about, he or she is rooting for you. They want you to improve and to meet your goals, and the competition is a part of that.

6. You don’t have to sign up for every class

While it may be tempting to make the most of your gym membership by signing up for every available class, this isn’t necessarily a good idea. While a few classes, spread out responsibly throughout the week, can be a great boon to your fitness, too many can burn you out. The more tired you are, the more likely you are to make mistakes that can result in injury.

7. Some clothes can be quite revealing

In the dim morning light of your bedroom, those pair of yoga pants might look fine. In more intense light, you may realize, to your horror, that they are see through. Make sure to check yourself out thoroughly in the morning before leaving home to ensure your clothes don’t show more than you want them to. Not only will this save you from potential embarrassment, but it helps cut down on the number of creeps you’ll have to fend off at the gym.

8. If you’re new, check with a trainer before trying out some of the more interesting machines you see

The gym is going to be full of new, shiny workout machines that promise incredible results, but you shouldn’t dive headfirst into them without checking first. While your enthusiasm is to be encouraged, improper use of the machines can result in injury, muscle imbalances, and a number of other problems that are time-consuming to fix. A trainer will give you advice on what muscle groups to work first and which machines will lend the best results.

Getting and staying in shape is a worthy endeavor for everyone. Even half an hour of exercise per day is enough to keep your heart pumping, but for those that want a toned body, finding a great gym is essential. Just keep these eight tips in mind as you start your search.