A Beginners Guide for Going to the Gym

By: Molly Ryan

Are you experiencing some nerves while going to the gym for the first time? Well, just know, that is entirely normal. There are some common questions people ask themselves. Are people staring? Am I using this machine right? Is my form correct? 

A photo of someone working out. Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash. 


Jasmine Piper is a senior fitness instructor at SUNY Plattsburgh, who teaches spin and has also taught boot camp, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) and Hardbody. Piper says fitness is a daily activity, and she loves getting her body moving. 

“Everyone is there for their own reason. Believe it or not, no one is actually paying attention to you. Everyone is doing their own thing,” she said. 

“Sure, we notice people at the gym, but if someone is staring at you, you are not the problem, they are. You never know what someone is going through. They could be recovering from an illness or a disease. They could also be a veteran.” 

Jozlyn Croston, a freshman at SUNY Plattsburgh, has been going to the gym for about five months now. Her advice for someone who is experiencing some nerves at the gym is to plunge in.“Just like Nike’s saying, JUST DO IT! It’s not as bad as it seems and once you go for the first time, all those nerves will vanish. Rip the bandaid off, you got this!”

A photo of someone looking nervous. Photo by Siavash Ghanbari on Unsplash. 


A photo of some gym essentials. Photo by Erica Steeves on Unsplash. 


One of the most important steps in everyday life, and most importantly fitness life, is hydrating. Bringing water to the gym will give you energy for your routine, and it also helps cool down your body during that hard workout.  Bring as many bottles as you need. 


“Feet health is very critical, and a lot of the time, people overlook that. You will not regret investing in a good pair of gym shoes,” Piper said. Sneakers are essential for going to the gym because they can prevent you from injuries, and also help you keep your balance. Make sure they are comfortable as well. 


Listening to music while working out can help you eliminate stress and distractions. It is recommended to listen to the beat of the song to help you stay in momentum during your routine. 


Keeping up with your hygiene while working out will help you focus on other things, and not focus on if you smell or not. Simply apply deodorant before and after your workout, and you should be set to go. 

A photo of someone’s fist that says “focus.” Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash. 


Motivation is something most people struggle with on a daily basis. Whether it be to get up in the morning, clean your room, or go to the gym, it is still a prominent issue in a lot of people’s lives.

Autumn Pellerito is a freshman at SUNY Plattsburgh who has been going to the gym for four years, but started getting into fitness more seriously about two years ago. Pellerito gains motivation by changing her perspective and internal dialouge. “At this rate, it’s not motivation more so, but discipline, as well as using the mindset of ‘I get to go to the gym’ rather than ‘I have to go to the gym.”


Sticking to a routine at the gym can be very difficult. Many people find themselves getting sick of their routines, causing them to not want to go. The best way to get into a routine is to commit. Your body will eventually adapt to your gym routine, and it will soon become easier. 

Everyone who uses a gym routine knows the struggle of doing the same thing every time. Just keep pushing and doing that routine, and then once your body becomes used to it, you can switch it up a little each time you work out. For example, you can change how many reps you’re doing. Instead of always doing 4×15, you can do 3×10, and also switch up your exercises. 

“I have a general routine, where I warm up with some cardio and stretching, go into weights, stretch statically, and finish with cardio,” Pellerito said. Stretching statistically means stretching a muscle to near its furthest point and then holding that position for at least 15 or 20 seconds.

 “I stick to this because it’s what works for me, so it makes my gym session a lot less stressful if I know what I’m doing,” Pellerito said.

Making separate days for each of your routines can also help a lot. 

“I do have a routine, following one can be hard but going around the same time every day helps. When I’m actually in the gym I always make sure to stretch first, and I make each day something different to work on. For example, Monday is cardio, Tuesday is full body … doing this really helps me stay on track,” Croston said. 

So there you go, a quick beginner’s guide for going to the gym. Remember to keep pushing and sticking to your routine and your fitness journey will become a breeze.  

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