Gym code: What and who you need to know

Joining a new gym can be daunting, especially if you’ve never had a gym membership before. If you’re thinking of joining a gym to kick-start a healthier 2016, then it’s important to get in on the secret gym codes – the unspoken rules – that nobody ever talks about, writes Ellie McInerney.

You see, gyms are a funny place, which is ironic since everybody walks around all serious like they’re about to cage fight The Hulk. But these rules and regulations go further than remembering to bring a towel and not hogging the shower. Forget about your killer workout, it’s the other gym goers you need to survive when it’s time to get your sweat on. Let’s meet them:

The Lurker

When you join a new gym, it’s inevitable that you will come across some characters who will have you raising eyebrows, along with your dumbbells. Let me introduce you to The Lurker. He hangs around certain machines, staring at his phone until he moves onto the next piece of equipment. If you’re lucky you might catch him actually using one, but don’t stress when you bypass The Lurker on the gym floor.

Now, in normal circumstances I would say yes, stress is a fantastic response to anyone that appears to ‘have their lurk on’, but in a gym setting he’s harmless and will usually stick to himself.

Nomad and Miss Never Give Up

Cousin to The Lurker is Nomad, the guy who just paces the gym floor counting steps rather than reps. Nomad is best friends with Miss Never Give Up (you can’t miss her, she’s the one with motivational quotes on every item of clothing) although you can never actually tell if Nomad and Miss Never Give Up are dating or if they’re just really good friends.

The Grunters

In the corner, you’ll find a few grunters, they hover amongst themselves not really knowing what they’re doing, but they are ‘boss’ at dropping weights for the fun of it, so steer clear if you like your toes attached to your feet.

Of course, there’s always one who needs the rest of the gym to know he has well and truly arrived by yelling/screaming/cursing the gods when he’s half way through his first warm up rep. Don’t make eye contact with this one, you might witness some blood vessels pop and much like his unnecessary aggression, it’s not pretty.

The staff

Although the gym scene can be daunting at first, it’s important to remember that there are always friendly staff who are happy to help you. Usually, upon joining a new gym you will be given a complimentary personal training session. This session isn’t designed to have you doing a hundred pushups before running a mini-marathon. An introductory personal training session is generally about helping you feel confident on the gym floor. You will be shown how to use the equipment and have a program designed just for you so that when you come in next, you already have a plan.

Should you join a gym?

Joining a gym has many benefits and can make committing to an exercise program much easier. Most gyms have classes like pilates, yoga, cycling, dance and weight classes, and each one is always designed to welcome beginners. A great way to help you ease into a new gym routine is to grab an iPod and fill it with your favorite music. Another handy hint is to lay out your clothes in advance so you don’t have to waste time thinking about what you’re going to wear.

If you’re really serious about kick-starting a new fitness rountine, why not treat yourself to a new pair of sneakers or a cute new workout top? Feeling good before you hit the gym can help you put in that little bit more effort and motivate you to push a little harder.

The most important thing to remember when joining a new gym is that you’re not the only newbie. Everyone is trying to figure out what style of workout fits them best, so don’t hold back if you have a question or want to try a new class. At the end of the day you’re already making great progress to becoming fitter and healthier because you’ve made the effort to turn up. So keep showing up, sweat it out a little every time and notice how good you start to feel when the gym becomes about improving you, one step at a time.

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