Your Pre-Gym Checklist

Each year, thousands of people start going to the gym – only to be frustrated by a number of different road blocks. That said, with the proper planning you should be able to eliminate most of the frustration associated with your first few days in the gym. In many cases, you’ll find that a few simple actions will vastly improve your comfort level and satisfaction with each workout.

Get a medical checkup

Even if you think you’re perfectly healthy, it’s best to have a physical before you start exercising. During this exam, let your doctor know that you’re planning to start exercising at a gym. This is an ideal time to ask if there are any exercises that you shouldn’t perform – especially if you have a history of any major injuries or illnesses. Work with your doctor to determine what precautions you need to take while you’re exercising.

Hydration and food

If you aren’t physically fit, your eating habits probably also need improvement to give you the energy you’ll need to workout regularly. If you skip breakfast, eat too many sweets or fall into any one of a number of dietary traps, you may not have the energy to complete your workouts – and you certainly won’t see the results you want. Work on switching to a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean, healthy proteins.

In addition, while you’re at the gym, it’s best to keep plain water on hand. As you sweat, it’s crucial to make sure that the water from your body is replaced as quickly as possible. This is especially important in the beginning, as you may not even be aware of how often your body suffers from a lack of sufficient hydration. If you do more than an hour of strenuous physical activity, you’ll need to replace electrolytes lost through sweat, but otherwise steer clear of expensive energy drinks – most of them are full of calories.

What to include in your gym bag

If you’re planning to go to the gym on a regular basis, you’ll need a gym bag. If you live far away from the gym – or if you plan to go before work or other activities – it’s also likely that you’ll want to shower there. If this is your plan, you’ll want to carry a towel, a complete change of clothes, your own soap, shampoo, conditioner, and grooming accessories, and a pair of flip flops for the shower. If you don’t want to carry huge bottles with you, small plastic bottles are available that you can use to hold liquid soaps.

Modern gyms offer members many things that they need in order to achieve fitness goals – from personal trainers to group fitness classes and more. Despite all these amenities, people get discouraged or drop out for a variety of reasons. In some cases, simply being prepared for certain situations before you go to the gym will make it much easier for you to continue working toward your fitness goals.