New to the gym? You may be surprised by all the things available in today’s health club. Know to expect. Here is a sneak peek.

Sure, the gym has fancy equipment but most importantly, there are trained staff that can help you use it safely. Take advantage of gym staff and trainers to:
• Give you the grand tour – learn about all the amenities available at the club of your choice.
• Provide a tutorial – no one is born with knowledge about how to use gym equipment. Let staff get you a quick lesson so you get the most benefit with the least likelihood of injury.
• Help you clarify and meet goals – staff can help you develop the right training plan and give you the encouragement to stick with it.

Check at the membership desk or the front desk about scheduling an appointment. Many facilities offer free training and support.

Locker rooms
There are places to shower and change. Be sure to bring your own lock. Most places require that you take your lock and belongings home after each visit. You’ll learn on the grand tour whether or not towels are provided. Don’t forget your shower shoes.

Weight area
Most gyms have a wide selection of free weights and associated equipment. This is usually in a room or an area near a mirror so you can monitor your form. Proper form helps you target the intended muscle and reduce risk of injury. You’ll need to bring your own weight belt and gloves.

rp_photodune-10686271-group-of-people-running-on-treadmills-xs-230x153.jpgCardio equipment
This is usually high real estate area. Treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes and stair climbers are among the most used gym offerings. Expect to see a sea of them. Popular equipment may have sign-up sheets to be sure time is shared fairly. You may also be limited to only 30 minutes at a time.

Weight machines
Weight machines are positioned in such a way that you can create your own circuit. They often feel less intimidating than free weights because pictures display movements and targeted muscles. Remember not to hog the machine. If you are doing sets, work in with a buddy and don’t forget your towel. It is courteous to wipe sweat from the machine after you use it.

Fitness studio
Stop here for spin class, Pilates, ab work, yoga, aerobics and a host of offerings that make it fun to work up a sweat.

Bonus equipment
Today’s gym isn’t Rocky’s gym. Common features include:
• Heated pool and/or sauna, steam room
• Indoor track
• Basketball, squash, racquetball or tennis courts.
• Childcare/teen center
• Juice/smoothie snack bar

There are diverse offerings at most gyms so there is something for everyone, even if you don’t think of yourself as a “gym” person. When you visit, bring your list of questions along. If there is something you’d like to see, but don’t – ask.