“I’d workout, but I’m scared of being made fun of in the gym.” Going to the gym for the first time can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. I wanted to help those who are too intimidated to go to the gym for the first time. Here’s some advice on how you could prepare yourself and avoid being noticed as the rookie. 1. Have a plan: Head to the gym knowing exactly what you’re going to do, don’t just “wing” your workouts (especially your first couple). Having a plan will help save time as well as ensure you don’t forget about any aspects of your lift. Even if its just a note card with the lifts you want to do scribbled down, it is better than not having a plan. 2. Look up the form: Don’t rely on others in the gym for advice on how to perform a lift. Sure, they may be able to assist you, but unfortunately, not everyone in the gym knows the proper form and therefore they should not be relied on. There are many great videos and websites that can be found from your favorite search engine to walk you through the steps of nearly every lift. Start by using the keyword “form” and searching the phrase “Lift + Form” such as “Parallel Squat form” 3. Wear the proper apparel: I can’t promise you that wearing athletic apparel will increase your performance, but I can promise you that you will be noticed almost immediately if you try to lift in jeans and a polo. It’s up to you, I can’t tell you not to wear jeans to the gym, but don’t be surprised if you get some funny looks. Most gyms have a clothing policy that can be found on their online site, I’d recommend at least checking this first. 4. Leave your ego at the door: Don’t come into the gym thinking you know everything and try to lift more than you should. Someone is more than likely going to wind up hurt. Know your limitations and if you’re trying for a new PR, make sure to find decent spotter who can assist you in a failure situation. Fear shouldn’t stop you from going to the gym. Think about it, what’s the worst that can happen? If you run into trouble and don’t know how to use a machine or perform a lift, there is always the option to ask someone for help. Everyone starts somewhere and no one will judge you for going to the gym to get in shape. Jack Burdick is majoring in Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota and along with his weightlifting workouts, he competes in marathons and ultra-marathons (50 mile races) and is looking to earn a Cross-Fit title or to be recognized with The World’s Fittest Man title which is reserved for an ultra endurance power athlete.