A guide for first-time gym-goers

The Aquinian’s Shannon Cornelius explores the best gym options for St. Thomas University students and offers advice on how to keep up.

At this point in the semester, you’ve probably got a Pinterest board full of workout routines and different exercises. You’ve also probably said to yourself you want to start going to the gym to help ward off that “freshman 15” everyone has scared you about.

But if you haven’t started yet, don’t feel bad. You’re not the only one. If you want to get going but don’t know where to start, this guide will help you. There are many things you need to figure out before you can start going to the gym if you want to succeed — or, at the very least, save yourself from a few embarrassments.

Personal trainers can be very helpful when building our workout if you’re new to going to the gym. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ

The first question you need to ask yourself is: what you want to get out of going? Do you want to lose weight, or do you want to gain some muscle? Maybe you just want to try and get in better shape. Knowing this will help you decide what gym you want to use and when you want to go.

As a student at St. Thomas University, you get a free membership at the J.B. O’Keefe Fitness Centre on campus. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go there. There are many other gyms and fitness centres in Fredericton. Picking the one that works best for you will help in getting you to go consistently so you achieve your goals (and don’t waste any money).

Just going to a gym because it’s cheap isn’t always the best option. If it’s not close to where you live, or you don’t feel comfortable going there, you’re going to find it hard to motivate yourself to go. Doing your research to find out where the gyms around you are located and what their costs are is important.

The Richard J. Currie Center, located on the University of New Brunswick campus at the bottom of the hill, is close for people who live on campus. However, it is one of the more expensive places.

Its membership rates for students run between $39 for a month membership to anywhere between $329 to $372 for the year. Depending on the membership, it will give you access to the equipment and squash courts, the Lady Beaverbrook Gymnasium next door, as well as discounted prices on personal trainers.

Having a gym buddy can be good, if they actually encourage you to go. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

The YMCA located on York Street is another option. Memberships for students are $23 bi-weekly and only requires you to keep the membership for three months. After that, you can cancel it whenever as long as you give them one month’s notice. This gives you access to all of their classes, the pool, the equipment and saunas. You also get a free consultation with their personal trainers as a new member.

Fit 4 Less, located above the Superstore at the bottom of Smythe Street, has two membership options available. Its 4less card option requires a one-year commitment and costs $4.99 bi-weekly with a $44 signup fee. Its Black card does not require a commitment. However, if you commit to a year’s membership, you do not have to pay the signup fee. The one-year membership adds up to $9 bi-weekly. You have more access with the black card, including access to multiple locations. With the basic card, you have access to the one location, virtual fitness and cycling classes and Fit 4 Less’ 30-minute express circuit.

GoodLife Fitness has three locations in Fredericton — Prospect Street, Queen Street and Brookside Drive. It has multiple membership options, including a $14, 14-day trail period. You can also get a youth discount, and potentially a corporate discount depending on where you work. Memberships require a one-year commitment with bi-weekly payments and an enrolment fee. With your membership, you have access to classes, virtual classes, the equipment and the sauna. Some membership options also allow you to go to more than one location. It also offers personal trainers, but pricing varies.

Figuring out where you want to go is an important decision because it will inevitably impact what time you go, how often you go and what you get out it all. It can make or break your gym experience.

Finding a time to go to the gym that you can stick to can make or break your routine. (Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

Some people want the option of personal trainers because they don’t know where to start on their own. This can be a big advantage if you’ve never worked out before and have no idea how to make a workout routine. Others don’t need them and find the internet a useful tool. The biggest thing is building a routine that works for you and finding what makes you most comfortable.

This will help you find a time and a schedule that you can stick to. Some people find going in the morning easy while others prefer the afternoon or evening. Others find that going whenever they have time is the best option for them. Skipping a day every now and then is okay too, but don’t let that turn into more. Starting off small is generally the easiest way to begin. Going a few times a week is a good start, and for some, that’s all they need. Having a workout buddy is always helpful too, as long as they actually go with you and motivate you to improve.

Going to the gym isn’t easy. It takes some research and some time before you can begin, but once you start, it’s easy to keep yourself off the couch.

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