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Guide to Gyms

By Nisha Varma
Reebok Master Trainer

So, you’re getting enrolled in a gym like many others. It’s no coincidence that gym memberships soar in the New Year, as it is one of the most popular resolutions made in the New Year. If you are planning to get a gym membership and then continue reading to know details that you always wanted to know but didn’t know whom to ask. Before you embark on a fitness routine you need a medical evaluation and a qualified trainer to direct and guide you, to pull you through the weight plateaus and to push your stamina without overtaxing you. Any good gym should keep in mind your health history. If a person is healthy basic BP reading and pulse check should suffice, but if he suffers from conditions like diabetes, arthritis or heart problems, he should get a clean chit from his doctor.

1. Distance. Though it does not appear important at the time of deciding on a gym, it is. Excuses fly thick and fast if a gym is far from your home, particularly in winter. Ideally, a gym should be a ten-minute walk from your residence, but a ten-minute drive will also do.

2. Ambience. What kind of person are you? Would you like to mingle with the people while pumping iron or do you prefer some amount of privacy while exercising? A cheery atmosphere at gym is likely to put people in good moods to do their work out.

3. Trainer. Many people opt for a gym for the facility of a trainer. Trainer is the guide who helps you conceptualize your fitness goals and assists you in shaping them. A good trainer can make or mar your fitness. Look for a qualified trainer who is well versed in the nuances of training. Also a trainer should know the limits of each person as it varies from person to person and should not push a beginner very hard. The task of the trainer is to counsel the clients and keep workouts varied and challenging to grab their motivation. Also, the trainer needs to be compassionate and should not treat clients with disdain and make them feel small for small lapses in the routine.

4. Infrastructure. There are basically three kinds of exercises— cardiovascular, muscular-conditioning and calisthenics. Any good gym will have quality equipment for these. But make sure the equipment is in good condition. The place should be spacious and clean. Exercise mats are the best indicator. And see if they have some good music too.

5. Timings. Are you a morning person or do you like to work out in the late evenings to burn out the stress that you have accumulated during the day. Ideally, a gym should stay open for long hours to accommodate your schedule.

Gym Etiquettes

Are manners necessary in a place where everyone is huffing, puffing and grunting? Then answer is yes.

  1. Exercise control when loading and unloading your gym bag and locker. Remember, you are in a locker room, not at a picnic, so refrain from spreading your towels, clothes, shoes, and toiletries all over the benches and floor around you.
  2. Swipe aerobic equipments after you finish off exercising. No one wants sweaty equipments.
  3. Give space. Even if you are waiting for equipment currently in use, do not hover around the person, as you will expect the same when you are exercising.
  4. Do not throw weights around. No one wants to topple over weights that are strewn on the floor. Rather once you are done stack them back where they belong.
  5. Deodorants. Agreed, you do not sweat but it is advisable to use some deodorant before you hit the gym. Even the freshest smelling folks can have others reaching for gasmasks during vigorous workouts.
  6. Mind those grunts. They sound uncouth and distract fellow gym goers. Also keep your conversation to a minimum, as bonding over gym sessions is not cool and may not be appreciated by fellow gym goers.


  1. Know your equipment and make sure it is in good condition.
  2. Know your limits. Pace your programme with achievable targets.
  3. Stretching exercises are a must. However, if done wrongly they can do more harm than good.
  4. Thin people should take two bananas or two boiled potatoes half an hour before hitting the gym.
  5. Use proper shoes and clothing.


  1. Do not forget to warm up before you begin an exercise routine.
  2. Don’t ignore medical conditions like osteoarthritis. If you had a surgery seek your doctor’s advice before you hit the gym.
  3. Do not drink water immediately after exercise. Allow some time to lapse after you have finished your exercises before you take a sip.
  4. Don’t ignore signs of early injury.
  5. Do not lift weights without wearing gym belt and if you have any injury in your lower back avoid lifting heavy weights altogether.

Most of us tend to get lured by the membership fee. You should not decide on a gym just because they are charging less rather look for a gym that has qualified trainer. Remember to hydrate before and after the workout and stay away from over training.