If you’re anything like me then you can be relatively experienced in a gym and still fear walking into a brand-new one for the first time. Sometimes it’s just initial nerves, but if you don’t nip it in the bud then you could end up like me and still be intimated by your own gym despite having been a member for years. I’ve realised that it comes down to what you make of your very first gym trip. If you walk in like Beyonce then you’ll feel like you fit in in no time, but if you hide in a corner (like me), then chances are you’ll still be hiding in that same corner years later (definitely me).

So you have two options; stick it out and find your confidence, or find a new gym. Luckily my decision was made for me because the company I work for have just opened a brand-new gym in Milton Keynes, smack bang next to our new head-office. So I really have no excuse not to train now. Better still, I know how good this gym is and what this brand stands for, and it’s everything that my other gym isn’t, so for the first time ever I can stop hiding in corners and actually get what I want out of fitness. On that note, I know I’m not the only one who gets the ‘gym fear’, so I figured I’d write a few tips for what to do when you join a new gym so we can stop hiding in corners once and for all.

Get to know the staff

Probably the single most important thing to do. Now depending on which gym you go to, you may or may not have easy access to the staff. As I was at a fairly large gym before the staff only surfaced when they were training members, so the only time I spoke to them is when they approached me to ask for the equipment I was using. Because of that, I never really felt comfortable there. Thankfully now because I work for énergie I already know the staff at my new gym so I have nothing to worry about, but for those who aren’t in that position, make sure you get talking to the staff at your new gym from day one. Even just saying hello and goodbye will let the staff know that you’re the kind of person who wants to be involved, so they’ll always go that extra mile to make you feel a part of the family.

Book onto a few classes

Next, whether you think you’re a ‘class person’ or not, just book one or two to familiarise yourself with what the gym offers. At my other gym I never did a class because I never felt comfortable enough to ask about them, let alone walk into the studio to do one. To help keep the gym fear at bay this time around, I committed to doing my first class at énergie the other night, and actually ended up doing a second straight after. It’s such a good way to get to know everyone in the gym and even if you fail (which I definitely did in Pilates), you just laugh it off with everyone. There are always loads of classes to choose from, and some of them are really unique. For example énergie will soon have thé YARD which is a high-intensity group workout with a focus on boxing, and when I tried it at another énergie gym it was without a doubt the most challenging but rewarding class I’ve done. Before that, I thought I hated classes. Never say never!

Try out every area of the gym

This is what I’m the worst at. At my old gym there were a fair few areas I literally never ventured into, mainly because I didn’t know how to use the equipment and quite frankly the people in that area scared me. So here’s an idea, when you join a gym book an induction so you’re comfortable with every single area from the get go. énergie do a ‘Kickstart’ session for newbies which is amazing for getting to grips with all of the equipment. Plus, you get to know a Personal Trainer at the same time. As I literally saw the gym being built I already feel like I know it inside out so I haven’t followed my own advice for this one, but my friend did a Kickstart when she joined and said how beneficial it was, so I’d really recommend doing the same at whatever gym you’re a member of.

Take advantage of everything the gym has to offer

This will vary from gym to gym, but if you see something you want to try, try it! For me at my old gym, it was the body scan machine, but I never used it because I didn’t know how to and there was nobody to help. Luckily énergie have one too (and it’s free for members), so obviously I’ve already taken advantage of it. Some might argue the accuracy of these machines, but if you’re looking for some basic info to use a reference point, what’s the harm? As I go away in four weeks (eek!) I wanted to know where I was at with my fitness, so these results were really helpful for me. For example I didn’t know that my right arm is 2.4% fatter than my left (!?), but because of that I now know what to work on over the next few weeks until my second scan. Pray for me and my right arm please.

Become a part of the community

By this I mean talking to other members, asking for advice from the professionals and supporting other people if and when they need it. When I did an outdoor bootcamp class the other night I couldn’t believe how strong the community already was. The support was unreal. Even if you’re more of a head down, headphones in kind of person, that’s fine, you can still be a part of it all. One of the best things you can do is follow the gym on social media because you find out so much about your gym’s events, classes and updates. The owners of énergie Fitness Milton Keynes, Claire and Rob are amazing at updating their Facebook page, and as a social media nerd I’m always in awe at the engagement they get from their members.

Hopefully these tips have been helpful for anyone who is looking to join a new gym, and if you’re in the area, definitely check out énergie Fitness Milton Keynes. Especially as they’ve had a few new additions since I took these photos on the opening night!

Disclaimer: although I work for énergie this isn’t sponsored, I just love this gym and my training has never been better because of it.

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