Gyms across the country are preparing for their busiest season of the year, with thousands expected through the doors of fitness centres everywhere come January. Getting fit or losing weight is top of many people’s New Year’s resolution lists, from those that have fallen off the health wagon previously, to those who are trying fitness for the first time. But why leave it until the New Year? If you are really serious about getting fit then there is no reason to delay. Sign up in December when the membership fees are often lower and there are less people crowding. If you haven’t done much exercise in the past stepping into a gym for the first time can be a bit scary, but the staff will be on hand to help show you the ropes, and this guide will make sure you have everything you need for your first visit.
One thing you will want to splash out on a little is a good pair of well fitting sports shoes, as exercising with incorrect footwear can cause a lot of damage to your feet. If you only intend to work out at the gym, then buy a pair specifically for gym use, but if you want to take the odd run, or play tennis too, then a multi-purpose pair of trainers is a better idea. If you’re heading to the gym as your resolution, then wait until the January sales to get a great pair of trainers for less than retail price.
Find out before you go what facilities your gym has, and decide which of these you will want to use. Some gyms have pools, saunas and steam rooms on site, all of which you will need swimwear for. If you are going to be swimming for exercise rather than for leisure you’ll need an all-in-one, or a tankini or bikini designed for swimming. To just hang out in the sauna or for a few casual lengths of a pool a normal bikini is fine and can be reused on holidays in the future. Check out George’s range of swimwear for some low cost swimwear options to save cash.
You don’t need to look like you’ve just stepped off the catwalk to go to the gym. What’s important is that you wear breathable fabrics that are close enough to your body to avoid getting caught in any machinery. For classes like Yoga and Pilates you will want to make sure your clothes don’t hinder your movements, but are tight enough that you don’t accidently expose yourself when contorting. To start with, leggings and a cotton t-shirt will do fine – you can invest in more specialist gear when you’ve worked out what you like to do as part of your workout.
You don’t need much else for the gym, but do remember to pop a towel and a drink in your bag. Towels are needed not just for swimming, but also for wiping down machines after use, and mopping your forehead when you’re working hard. It’s also wise to take a few coins with you, in case you need them for the lockers or you fancy a sports drink after exercising. I find taking a few toiletries such as face-wipes, deodorant and shower gel essential too if you can’t go home to shower right after a work out.
Taking the first step on your journey to fitness is the hardest part, Women’s Fitness has some excellent articles to get you started. Once you get the habit you will wonder how you ever managed without it. Get as much info as you can from your local facilities and choose one that will fit your lifestyles and aspirations. Ask as many questions as you like when you’re starting out, and soon others will be asking questions of you – like, ‘how did you do it?!’
(Image credit, Gym bag Werd.com)