The new year is right around the corner, and we all know that the gym membership is at the top of most people’s resolution lists. If you’re a first-time gym membership holder, or if it has been a while since you’ve hit the weight room, take a minute to read these helpful FAQ and answers from personal trainer, Paul Booth.

What should you pack in your gym bag? Do you need things like shower shoes?
Gym bag essentials include a water bottle, workout gloves, comfortable shoes and apparel, and hair ties. Bring any toiletries you need for after your workout too, like shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, and shower shoes/flip flops for the shower or sauna. You may also want to bring a journal to record you workouts or log them on your phone.


How can you know what amenities a gym offers?
Do a little research before you sign up with a gym. On your first visit take a tour of the facility with a representative from that fitness center to see what amenities they have to offer.

What kinds of sanitary precautions should people take when using different machines? Do the same rules apply to anything you touch, like free weights, medicine balls, and yoga mats?
Most gyms have sanitary stations with products to keep shared equipment clean. Wipe things down both before and after you use them. You may also want to consider investing in some personal items if you plan on using them frequently, like a yoga mat. Some equipment, like free weights, don’t need to be wiped down each time. And always be sure to wash your hands when you’re done with your workout!

The weight section seems intimidating – do you have any advice for getting comfortable with this area of the gym?
Start out light and concentrate on good mechanics and form. As you grow in strength and confidence, increase the load and complexity of movements to continue to challenge yourself.  You can also try working out with a friend, having a partner to spot you will help you feel more at ease and help you motivate one another!

If you’re unsure of how to use a machine, what should you do?
If you spot a new machine that looks like something you would like to try, but are unsure about how to use it, check with a trainer at the gym. They will be more than happy to show you proper form and get you off to a good start.

Is blasting music on your earbuds rude?
Always. Choose some tunes that will inspire you to have a great workout, but make sure the volume keeps these tracks for your ears only!

This is a guest post written by Paul Booth, personal trainer at WILLSPACE in NYC.