You’ve turned over a new leaf and joined a gym. Congrats. It’s a big deal! Not only is it a financial commitment, chances are you’re hoping your new gym membership will positively change your life. Working out regularly at a gym can be transformational. But, listen, you don’t have to have everything completely figured out before you arrive for your first workout. Indeed, in many ways it’s better if you don’t. You can improve the chances you’ll reap the benefits your new membership provides if you immediately commit to two things: exploration and conversation.

Those two basic things will help you set fitness goals and give you the tools you need to develop and follow through with a practical plan. If you’re open to discovery, you’ll find the movements you enjoy and you’ll create the social network that can advise you, keep you motivated and help you grow your wellness by the day. Buff up your sense of curiosity before you start working on your muscles and you’ll develop the mindset and tools that will help you set and reach fitness goals.

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2 Ways to Reap the Benefits of Your New Gym Memberships

stay motivated

1) Commit to Exploring.

– Try classes. Whether you stick with a particular class or not is irrelevant. Just attending sessions taught by various instructors and exploring different exercise formats will expose you to a host of new exercises and people with interests similar to yours.

– Get on every type of cardio machine, especially the ones that intimidate you. Find out how cross-training on various machines can increase your athleticism.

– Same thing goes with random pieces of equipment. Find out how to use rubber o-rings. Put on a pair of flippers in the pool! Chances are you’ll discover something FUN and functional.

Use the internet to explore fitness plans, form and equipment use. There are many free legitimate sources out there that can quench your curiosity when you are not at the gym. The American Council on Exercise is a good place to start.

stay motivated

2) Commit to Conversation- Talking and Listening!

Chat with the people at the front desk. Listen when they tell you about special promotions, programs and challenges and take them up on offers that sound fun!

– Check out bulletin boards for announcements regarding events like runs, walks and other events and activities so you can meet like-minded people who share your goals.

– Follow your gym on social media so you can view schedules, challenges, post questions, learn from their blog and partake in the community.

– Say something nice to other gym-goers, even if it’s just “hello.” It’s likely they appreciate the social support as much as you do (otherwise you’d both be working out at home). Friendly faces make it more likely the gym will join the list of your happy go-to places.

Trainers and fitness pros LOVE to talk about fitness. Tell them about your goals or let them help you define your plan. They have committed their lives to helping and educating people just like you and will keep you accountable.

It’s your gym now. Use it!