How to Love Your New Gym Membership

You made the resolution to get fit in 2018. You invested in a gym membership to get you on track. So why is your gym bag still sitting untouched in the corner of your living room?

“It can be very intimidating for someone to join a new club, especially when it’s big and it gets very busy and there’s all this expectation,” says Tonya Jacobs, general manager of Mercedes Club, an 80,000- square-foot fitness oasis in New York City. But joining a gym doesn’t have to be figured out solely on your own. “What you should realize when you’re joining the gym is that with your membership consultant, you shouldn’t just look at them as the person selling you a membership,” Jacobs says. They should be your in-house resource, to help you get your fitness goals on track.

Here are five tips to demystify your new facility:

  1. Get your official gym orientation. “Nine times out of ten, your gym membership comes a complimentary orientation to the equipment, as well as an assessment for your own personal goals,” Jacobs says. “At Mercedes Club, we call it our fitness evaluation, where we spend 20 minutes conducting a health history questionnaire and various measurements and tests, and we discuss what the person’s goals are. The next forty minutes are program design and a workout.” If your new gym membership doesn’t come with a complimentary fitness evaluation, reach out to the gym’s general manager. “Explain that you are new to the gym,” Jacobs says, “and you would like an orientation on the equipment and the kind of workout you should do.”
  2. Test out the class schedule. Classes are a great starting point to learn more about your gym. “The beauty with classes are they build teamwork and camaraderie, and you get to know the same familiar faces over the weeks,” Jacobs says. Your membership advisor or fitness manager can guide you through the class exercise schedule, and help you find classes that are right for you. If you don’t have access to an advisor, start with the classes geared toward beginners and all levels. “At the beginning of any exercise class, a good instructor should ask if there’s anyone new to the class, and if you have any injuries, they’ll show you modifications so you can perform the class accordingly.”
  3. Invest in a trainer. Seeking the professional help of a trainer when you first join the gym can improve your initial experience. “If you’re looking for results quickly in a safe and healthy manner, or if you’re just interested in learning a couple different workout routines based on the goals you want to accomplish, a personal trainer can design a program for you,” Jacobs says. “They can give you an orientation on all the cardio equipment and introduce you to all the free weights and all the specialized pieces on the fitness floor.” Getting a trainer can also make you more accountable to show up for your workouts. Try a small package of training sessions to start.
  4. Take part in your gym’s social scene. Another great way to get to know your club is to take advantage of its social programming. “Events like ours include movie nights, food tasting parties and hanging out at the juice bar, all great ways to integrate and find friends,” Jacobs says. Check the gym schedule or ask gym employees if there are any social events is coming up on their calendar.
  5. Find a workout buddy. A workout can be easier and more fun when done with a friend. Scheduling workouts with a pal means you’re less likely to flake on your gym time. Plus, you can take advantage of two-for-1 personal training packages, assisted and two-person exercises – and a little healthy competition.

Jacobs offers one last suggestion: “Befriend the staff – they can make introductions for you. They know everyone and are a great resource.”


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