How Not To Be A Gym Dick If You’re Relatively New To The Whole Thing

We made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to


by Jess Commons |
Published on

I recently joined a gym and, since the last time I stepped foot in one was on a guest pass at my university several million years ago and it ended in me falling off the treadmill while my friend accidentally dropped her iPod down two levels to land next to a weight-lifting rugby player, I was a bit nervous.

Walking into a gym for the first time is just as intimidating as heading to a new school. You’re in a new building, people all seem to know each other and they’re walking around with purpose from machine to machine, doing stretches you never knew were possible and all the while looking stylish as hell. You on the other hand are standing there in your school leavers’ hoody, a holey pair of Topshop leggings and a pair of Converse that are highly inappropriate for any physical activity other than moshing.

If this sounds like you then fear not. We’ve gone and done the hard part so you can learn from our mistakes. Follow our simple rules below until you finally feel comfortable in your own skin at the gym and can look down on the next newbie that dares to walk through those doors.

Get some gear

You're going to feel a hell of a lot less awkward if you look the part because, unlike PE class at school, everyone’s clad in expensive-looking neon lycra looking like they’ve just stepped out of an Eric Prydz video. You might not have the money to head straight Nike and purchase their entire workout collection but plenty of places do ridiculously cheap knock-offs. Primark is the best, and the cheapest, while Sports Direct is another banger (side note: order from to recieve a free giant massive mug for free). In terms of trainers, thoug,h you should probably splash out on branded names. Still, you can get plenty of OK trainers online (thanks Sports Direct again). Now you look the part you’re ready to go.

Accept that Muffy McBlowdryer is going to be a thing

One of the nice things about the gym is how comfortable women are being naked amongst each other in the locker room. There’s something super liberating about walking out of the shower, wrapping a towel around yourself but taking your damn sweet time about it. Who cares if your boobs are flopping all over the place? That being said, there are the people who take their nudity next level. The ones that barge past you to the mirror, leading with the muff and bend over to dry their hair upside down. That’s a whole lot going on there. While we salute their body confidence, being presented with the inner workings of their arsehole before breakfast is quite a lot. Anyways, we tell you this to be kind. Muffy McBlowdryers are out there in every gym. Just be prepared, so you don’t stare.

Don’t apologise

When you first sign up for a gym, chances are you’ll get a session with one of the staff who shows you how to use the machines and who will set you up with a bit of a programme to follow. You’re meant to be shit at this bit – you’ve only just joined the gym, so don’t feel you have to suffix every failed push up with a giggling, ‘OMG I can’t believe how bad I am at this!’ Chances are, the trainer’s seen worse than you and they’ll see a million more people that week who can barely manage to put one foot in front of the other. Don’t apologise. And/or freak out about sweating. In two weeks you’ll be so comfortable with sweating in and amongst other people that you’ll be happy to jump on a crowded train post workout – much to your fellow commuters chagrin.

Watch others. Not in a creepy way

Gym inductions are a lot to take in, especially if the trainer insists on showing you all the machines in all the world. As a result, you’ll probably remember how to vaguely use about a third of them. And unfortunately some of them are damn complicated to use what with all the seat adjusting and weight regulating. Don’t let that put you off, though – one of those machines might turn out to be your favourite thing ever! Instead of barrelling in and trying to figure it out yourself (I did this, turns out I was using it backwards, much hilarity ensued), take up a post on a nearby, low energy machine and watch others use it until you feel comfortable enough yourself to give it a go.

Ignore your fellow classmates

Classes are really intimidating – if you’ve never done one before stay away from anything called ‘body pump’ or ‘HIIT’ for your first one and instead stick to Pilates – preferably the beginner class if there is one. Honestly, though, no matter how many times you go, you can look at the teacher all you want, but realistically you won’t ever be able to do it as well as her. Or the try hards in the front row. It’s hard in a room full of mirrors not to compare yourself to the rest but instead, try and focus just on you. Remember: there’s always going to be someone worse than you, and there’ll always be someone better. Even if you’re truly terrible, don’t even worry about it, just ditch the class and choose another. It’ll be a fun story to tell in a few weeks when the pain’s gone away.

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Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons**

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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