Gym Newbie Survival: What To Do With The 5 Minutes Before A Class Starts

When you own a gym you obviously become really comfortable in it… It’s your home, and the people in it are your family

I often fail to recognize just how imposing it can be for newbies walking into the place for their first couple of weeks


We’re playing our own music… The place is full of people that they don’t know yet… Everyone looks like they know each other, and they seem to know the training really well

It can be intimidating


There’s an introduction process that must occur, we all go through it. It’s our job as coaches and training partners to make these people feel welcome, and bring them into what is now their home too

One of the things I always observe in any training space, not just my own, is what people do with themselves before a class starts…

You’ll see one group that come in and immediately start working on something. Warming up for the workout, or doing some rehab drills, or limbering up so they can get into the soon-to-start class ready to move

The second group of people will get social. They’ll find a mate and go into banter mode…

The third group, will come in and just kind of stand there, often awkwardly… Waiting for class to start and the instructions to begin. This group is often the newbies. They don’t yet feel comfortable in the environment. Can’t blame them

Each of these is totally fine –

However, from all my years in the field I can say that those who come in and start working on SOMETHING are inevitably those who will get the most out of their training…


Whatever that something is doesn’t matter too much – it could be stretching, doing some soft tissue release, asking another member about their training – just something that contributes towards your training. Something that shows you assume ownership of your own training practice

I often mention this to my students, how owning your own practice is important. Rather than just being a passenger in the class. You want to make that shit yours, for life


What could you do with the 5-10mins you have up the sleeve before class starts?


First – get ready to move –

Put your gear down on the shelf, turn your phone to silent, fill up your water bottle, go to the bathroom, change into your training gear and get yourself onto the floor


Second – go and say hi to your gym fam! These are your people. See a new face? Go and intro yourself and make them feel welcome

Third – let’s get to work…

Some ideas:

Free them hips – roll out

Grab a foam roller and get stuck into your ITB and hip flexors. If you’ve been sitting all day, or if your squat is pretty average, this will pay dividends. It’s a great way to position yourself in a corner of the room where you can observe the going ons, and spark up a chat with another member while you get yourself ready to work

Open up those shoulders – hang from a bar

Likewise, if you’ve been sitting at a desk, or just have tight shoulders and upper body, simply spending a few minutes hanging will make big changes over time. Sink into the hang and let gravity do the work

Open up your hips – hang out in a squat

Getting into the bottom of a squat, hanging out, pushing the knees out and lengthening the spine is basic human maintenance 101. If you can’t keep your feet flat, try doing it in front of an upright, or something solid you can hold onto, and use it to stop you falling backwards

Give love to your back – mobilise your thoracic spine (the piece of spine between your shoulder blades, dude)

Lie on the ground, place a foam roller under your shoulder blades running across the spine, cross arms placing hands on opposite shoulders the bridge back over the roller bringing your head towards the floor. Keep breathing. This simple extension will help to get some movement into what is generally pretty immobile for most modern humans…

Nourish your goddamn feet!

if your foot strength sucks (which if you wear office shoes, work boots, heels, or running shoes most of the day, there’s a high probability it does), then get barefoot, grab yourself a lacrosse ball or other massage-worthy implement, and place it under your forefoot. Keep your heel on the ground and then make some slow, painful passes across the sole of the foot, applying as much pressure as you can handle… Work your way up towards the heel starting at the top of the foot

Activate your butt – get those glutes firing

If you sit a lot, your glutes (butt muscles) are probably pretty lazy. Its worth getting them fired up by doing some light hip hinges or banded walks and focusing on getting the glue squeeze. This will pay big returns if you happen to be doing anything lower body or trunk related that day, which in our gym, you can assume you will be…

I hope some of those ideas help

Taking ownership of your training in super important if you wish to make it a long term, enjoyable part of your life. Don’t be a passenger in the process, make it yours


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  • October 30, 2018
  • Blog