Total Basset Case: 5 tips for working out at a big box gym

Apr 28, 2016

5 tips for working out at a big box gym

First things first, my computer is all better!
I swear those guys at the Genius Bar are really, geniuses.  They explained a couple of really handy photo storage things to me.  I am happy to do a post on that if anyone is interested, just let me know.

Moving on...
Back in January a big box gym opened up literally across the street from us.  Previously I had been working out in our lower level but was craving a little more of a challenge.  I also wanted somewhere I could run on the dreadmill if the weather was not cooperating.
We stopped in one day and when they told me it was $20/month with unlimited classes and guest passes, I was immediately sold.
I was attracted to the gym because of the size (not too big and not too small), the amenities it offers, the classes and the friendly staff.

However, starting back at a big box gym was a little intimidating.  
What do I do? Where do I start?  What machines do I use?

Thankfully because of the amenities I mentioned above, this was all figured out quite quickly.

I put together some tips to help you feel more confident walking into a big box gym and making the most of your workout.

1.  Be friendly - Say hi and smile to the employees, fellow gym goers, instructors.  Chances are you will go to the gym around the same time each day meaning you see a lot of the same people, every day.  I am on a first name basis with the guys at the front counter and it just makes my whole gym experience more enjoyable and a more personal connection in such a big place.

2.  Have a plan - Whether than aimlessly wondering around the gym for 30 minutes, arrive with a plan.  It does not have to be a full fledged plan but at least a general idea of what your focus is that day.
For example I do-
Monday - cardio class and back
Tuesday - arms
Wednesday - legs
Thursday - abs and booty
Friday - light cardio and stretching 
I trickle in other classes I enjoy depending on the day and what time I get to the gym.  
This plan helps me stay focused and make the most of my time at the gym.  Because as much as I love working out, I love being home with my family more.  

3.  Observe - Still not quite sure what to do when you arrive at the gym?  Take a look around! While every single person may not being using correct form or something you think you can do, you can at least get some ideas.  Jealous of how ripped that girls arms are?  Watch what she does on her arm day.   Think that guy has the best abs in town?  Keep an eye on what ab circuit he's doing.  There are plenty of seasoned gym veterans that have plenty of work outs figured out so simply keep an eye on them.  
And if you are still stumped, stick to the basics.  You can NEVER go wrong with push ups, lunges, squats, bicep curls, tricep extensions, crunches, burpees, planks, etc and by adding weights, all of these can be taken up a notch.   

4.  Read the signs - Strength machines are a great place to start if free weights aren't your thing.  Luckily, they all come with detailed photos as well.  As many times as I have been to the gym, I still read the signs on the machines to double check I am using it correctly.  

5.  Utilize the resources - Thankfully my gym has great classes, offered at various times of the day.  I am paying for these classes each month so it is worthwhile to me to take them!  Some days I want to do my own thing and some times, I really enjoy that someone else has already planned my work out for me.  Even if you are not sure about a class or if you will like it, just try it out!  Most classes are about 30 minutes, you can stick out any class for 30 minutes.  You may even find something you really love! 


Erin LFF said...

That's a great price for so many amenities at a gym!! Whenever I decide to get back to a gym classes are a MUST for me. They motivate me to get there more than anything else! :)

Kait said...

Yes to a storage post!! And hooray for gym tips! I really love this post

Jen Gavey said...

Mind sharing the name of the Gym? I'm looking for a new one in the norther suburbs of Cincy and I believe you live around there??

Anne said...

Ooh, I needed this - I've been going to big gyms for years, but I'm still in a rut. Pretty much just do spin class or the treadmill but know I need to balance that with some weight training and just cannot drag myself over to that side of the gym... so #3 and #4 are great reminders for me right now. Also your strong looking arms are good motivator :)

Sharon Stone said...

Rattling work man, ready your heads last you did it. trx classes near me