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4 Tips to Help Beginners Feel Confident and Comfortable in the Gym

male club member with trainer working out at Planet Fitness
A handy gym equipment guide can help you feel at home at the gym. Check out these tips for getting comfortable.

by Steven Auger

The gym can be an intimidating place for any newcomer. But, at Planet Fitness, we're here to make first-time gym-goers feel welcome. We want you to be comfortable and confident.

The endless rows of complex-looking machines can be enough to make you question if you're doing the right thing, but at Planet Fitness, you belong. Gymtimidation can be real, especially on day one, but you've made the right decision by taking that first step, and the machines aren't as scary or complicated as they may seem.

Fear not, gym newbies! We've got your back. Here are four tips to help beginners navigate equipment at the gym.

1. Ask for Help

Professional trainers do much more than just watch you lift and count repetitions, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) notes. A certified trainer can show you how to use weight machines and free weights — as well as how to perform various exercises with the proper form — so you don't injure yourself.

Training sessions can help new gym members find their footing and develop a solid fitness foundation. Planet Fitness even offers free fitness training included with a membership.

If you have questions about gym etiquette, rules, layout, or schedule, you should feel free to ask any staff member. They can help you with everything from signing up for that free fitness training to upgrading your membership if you want to try out our exclusive amenities.

2. Ease Into It

Your gym is likely to have a ton of machines that are designed to work your arms, chest, shoulders, back, and legs. Some machines feature a pictorial user guide that shows you which muscles the machine works and how to properly use the machine.

One option is to choose a specific group of muscles you want to target and focus on those machines for that day. If legs are your focus, you can select a few machines designed to target those muscles. Start off slowly and dedicate the time necessary to learn the machine and ensure you're using it properly. By targeting different muscles on different days, you won't feel the need to dive into too many machines at once.

3. Circuit Train

If you aren't sure how to plan your workout, consider circuit training! Circuit training is a combination of strength and cardio in one workout. Not only can circuit training help break up your routine, it can maximize your results.

Here's how it works: The PF 30-Minute Express Circuit combines 10 strength machines and 10 cardio-step stations. You can start anywhere in the circuit but you must go in sequence. The circuit operates on a green light/red light system. When the light turns green, you begin exercising for 60 seconds. Once this time has elapsed, the light turns red for 30 seconds. This is your cue to stop exercising and move to the next station. At the end of 30 minutes, you will have completed an entire circuit.

Not only does circuit training help you get a full-body workout, but it can increase your experience using weight machines.

4. Get Comfortable

Once you're confident being in the gym and you feel like you have a successful fitness strategy mapped out, focus on getting comfortable with the various equipment. A lot of machines have adjustable components, so setting the machine appropriately is key.

Remember, fitness is a journey and each person's journey is different. When you're faced with unfamiliar equipment, reference these tips to help beginners. Before you know it, you'll feel right at home.

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.