10 Things They Didn’t Tell You Before You Joined The Gym

girl in the gym with trainer

When you first signed up for your gym membership, I bet you thought it was going to be pretty straight forward, didn’t you?

You were going to hit the gym 3 nights after work and then get in a cheeky session on Saturday afternoon. 

Yeah, I think we have all been there and done that. However, in reality, this is probably a million miles from what actually happens.

They're one of two ways you normally go. You either become a complete gym freak going whenever you have any free time or you’re constantly feeling guilty because you aren’t going enough.

It’s not just the training part that consumes you either. You also get dragged into the whole healthy eating thing, start buying mag’s and watching Netflix documentaries on how chickens are treated.

Your whole world is pretty much turned upside down. You are now planning ahead what you are going to eat when you are going to eat it, what time you are going to train and when.

1. Gym guilt is a thing

It seems like there weren’t enough things in your life to feel guilty about. You needed to add another one. “Gym Guilt.” And before you ask, yes it is a “thing.”

If you were scheduled to go to the gym 4 times a week and you only go 2. Look forward to feeling a world of guilt over it. 

Not only will you feel that you are letting yourself down, but you will also feel like you letting down your family, other gym-goers.

Depending on how you handle this, it could take a wrong turn and even turn into depression. If you do feel yourself becoming depressed, then it is recommended that you seek professional help.

It sounds quite trivial until you witness it. However, it’s a pretty serious problem for a lot of people.

2. You can’t use your current underwear (seriously)

This is one I bet you would never have thought of. Your current underwear. Who does frankly?

Truth be told, this will probably apply more to women than men. Their underwear generally needs to be designed specifically for a fitness or sporting activity like sports bras and a more heavy-duty elastic rather than the thin laced stuff they may wear to work.

Again, this is not something you would think of and it’s certainly one of the 10 things they won’t tell you before you joined the gym.

3. You have friends but don’t know their names

 guys training in the gym

Unless you go to a tiny gym with a small membership (do they exist?), chances are you will see quite a few other gym members on different days at different times. 

If this is the case, then there’s a strong chance that you will never get to know be which means you don’t get to know their names.

We all live very different lives now and the old Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm schedule doesn’t really exist anymore. For that reason, you could see someone today and then not see them for another few weeks.

The only time this isn’t the case is if you attend certain glasses like Yoga or Zumba. 

These types of classes or normally scheduled at the same time each week and you generally get the same people attending.

4. Everyone’s an expert

If you join the gym as a newbie, expect everyone and his uncle giving you “helpful” advice. To be fair, there are a lot of knowledgeable people there and most of the advice will be helpful. 

I suppose what I’m saying, expect this advice-giving if you have just become a member and you are new.

A word to the wise, not all of the advice will be good advise. Some of it might be from the ’70s. 

If you do happen to get this type of advice, I would recommend smiling and thanking them. In reality, they are just trying to help which is totally fine. 

No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to take their advice. Simply listen to who you want and trash the rest.

5. Gym saunas have different rules

Now, I have never been to a sauna in a gym. However, I do know that the sauna rules and etiquette are different depending on where you go.

Please don’t assume that the rules at your country club sauna are the same as your local gym, because they won’t be. 

Depending on where you go, there are some gym goers that will even take equipment in there to train.

Some (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) actually take their mobiles in there and have full-blown conversations. Sometimes fully dressed.

Be prepared for the unexpected.

6. Not everyone can be cool

Gyms can be pretty intimidating at times. Picture this, there are regular gym goers that are well defined, buff and built like a brick sh*t house. Just understand that you don’t need to look like them, nor even try.

I wrote another article about defining your goals and what you feel comfortable with. Always set your own goals and don’t be pressured into trying to achieve someone else’s goals.

If anything, feel inspired these people and their bodies, just don’t feel like you need to be exactly like them because of that “cool” factor that lingers around the gym.

To be fair, we all have to start somewhere, and someone else’s middle won’t be your starting point. 

7. You don’t need to attend EVERY class

Every gym in the world would love it if you went every day, every week each month. However, in reality, there’s only so much time you can train. There are certainly more things in life.

Now, exercise is better than no exercise, but please don’t feel the need to attend every single class of the gym's schedule. 

You determine your own schedule and don’t be forced to adhere to someone else’s.

My advice would be to cherry-pick the classes that help you to achieve your overall goals and never shy to tell your trainer or instructor. In fact, I would go so far in asking them how many classes you should attend.

8. Hygiene and personal space is subjective

We’ve all been there. You finish are a hard training session, go into the changing rooms and there is someone standing their butt naked (for the want of a better word).

For someone that has never experienced this, it’s definitely going to be really weird. For most people, you cover yourself with a towel and wait until the changing room is empty so you can change :)

Whenever you are changing at home there is plenty of space so you have the ability to stretch, hold your arms out, etc. However, in most gyms, this is exactly the opposite. You probably won’t have that much space and are limited in your movement.

Some people literally treat the changing room like their own personal bathroom and will start clipping their toenails, shave their legs, etc. In your country club gym, this wouldn’t be acceptable, but in most subscription gyms, this is normal.

9. The induction benefits the gym, not you

The vast majority of gyms will have an induction program. This is their way of introducing you to their gym, going through the features and the different types of equipment available to you.

Depending on what package you go for, they may even go through your goals and talk through about using the equipment safely.

Of course, all of these things will tick the gym’s boxes and they will basically go through everything they need to so that they cover most of the bases. However, this doesn’t always align with your goals or what you need.

If you feel confident enough, go to these inductions with the mind that you want to ask all the questions that you have and get the most out of for you. 

If you have a goal, explain to the trainer what that is and ask for a more thorough assessment before diving into your new workout schedule.

10. You never have a clean pair of gym clothes

Lastly, unless you are super organised all of the time. You will find that most of the time you won’t have clean gym clothes to train in. This is pretty much a problem everyone will face if you train regularly.

When you first start going to the gym, you won’t have this problem because your motivation will be pretty up there, but once you’ve engrained yourself for a few months, you find that your standards will start to drop. 

Where you were so proud that you only wore clean clothes to the gym. You will reach the point that wearing yesterday’s trackie bottoms is perfectly acceptable.

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