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So I want to go to the gym...


Distinguished Member
Jul 3, 2004
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And I have literally never been in a gym. Used to be that I did so much stuff I was always in shape, but staying up late studying (and, naturally, eating some) and sitting in class or at work all day has added a modicum of flab which I do not wish to encourage. As long as the Uni's got a gym I figure I should use it; not like I use any other services for my 40k/yr.

So, I suppose I need sneakers (haven't owned a pair in ten years), and what, sweats? Help me out here, and anything else you wish to share. Definitely do not want to go overboard, that's for my suits, just serviceable.



Stylish Dinosaur
Sep 28, 2004
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first figure out what you want to achieve - bulk up? maintain? build up stamina? think about it. I would get a good book on what you want - if you want to build up running skills, or build up strength, or what not. it helps to start off prepared.

in terms of stuff - a lot is determined by what you want to do. lifting shoes are differnt from running shoes. but the basics are

bag - cheap but sturdy and washible gym bag, backpack always worked best for me.

5 cheap cotton tees
5 pair of shorts
5 sweats/hoodies (cheap, all cotton, thick)
5 pairs thick gym socks
optional - 5 pairs thick sturdy cotton sweat pants
if your gym doesn't have them, a few towels.

I have all of mine the same dark blue. makes life simpler.

the underarmor beanie caps are cool - I will be buying one of those this year.

a heart rate monitor can be helpful, as with a cheap boxing ring timer (it is great to be able to set yourself a minute, or 3 minutes)

some people like gloves, belts, and wrist straps. some like to have a chalk bag. I am guessing that all that stuff is at least year away from your needing or thinking about it.


Stylish Dinosaur
Mar 10, 2006
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1. Decent running shoes, I like New Balance personally. But you should try different brands to see what fits.
2. Atheltic shorts, I use poly basketball shorts that come down to my knees.
3. Cotton tshirt, or something with wicking abilities if you're going to run.
4. Water bottle.
5. Ipod.
6. Weightlifting gloves.
7. Cotton low fitting socks.
8. Gym bag. I use an Ogio 35 liter model. It's compact and well made. On eBay now for about 30 bucks shipped.
9. If you're going to do some squatting or heavy benching, a weightlifting belt.

I don't need long sleeve stuff at my school gym because they keep it fairly warm, and the beautiful sweaty coeds emit plenty of heat when they work out.


Distinguished Member
Jul 16, 2003
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Well it really all depends on what you plan on doing in the gym... Lifting or cardio or swimming, etc.... all potentially need different things.

But some basics: Gym bag, shorts, t-shirt, shoes, socks, hand towel (for wiping sweat), lock for a locker. Personally I like champion brand clothes for working out, they last me a very long time. A timer or watch with a timer can be useful (timex works well) or one of these www.gymboss.com. I always bring a clipboard and a pen, but I do a set lifting program. If you do cardio some music or books on tape/CD helps pass the time. Water bottle.

You don't necessarily need lifting gloves, although they will help prevent calluses from forming on your hands if you lift weights.

You also don't really need a lifting belt in normal training and in fact using one could potentially be detrimental to the development of your core and support muscles.

I find sweats get too warm, so I'd stick with the shorts.

If you plan on showering at the gym you'll want to put together a little shower kit. I also bring a small first aid kit in my gym bag because I'm always banging or scraping myself.

If you really don't know what your doing you might want to consult with a trainer.


Distinguished Member
Jul 3, 2004
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Thanks, guys.

Globe -- great idea about a book, that's usually where I turn first, but it didn't occur to me. I merely want to do some cardio to kill the flab, and do some upper body with weights to tone up some. I'm far from a jock but there's no sense in letting myself go.

I probably will stick with sweats since that seems acceptable if not always desirable (I can't remember when I last wore shorts), and I will see the trainer.


Current Events Moderator
Mar 19, 2002
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In terms of shoes, I would get a pair of cross-trainers.

They give you the stability you need to lift weights and the flexibility necessary if you're going to play racquetball, take an aerobics class or spend time on a treadmill, elliptical trainer or stairmaster.

Shorts and t-shirts as mentioned by others - total number depends on how many days each week you plan to go to the gym and your laundry habits.

Fingerless weightlifting gloves are helpful if you don't want to develop calluses.

Sweats or trackpants are nice if it's chilly where you are - or if you just want something to pull on after your workout, that is if you're not showering and changing back into your day-to-day attire.

Skip the weight belt - it's not necessary until you become a powerlifter.


Distinguished Member
Sep 23, 2006
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Good suggestions above. I think either running shoes or cross-trainers would be fine (though if you go for the running shoes, I might go for the offroad/trail running variety). I've had good luck with New Balance as well.

I work out in shorts (unless it's a winter evening/night and I have gone for a run first, or I'm going to afterwards).

I just wear whatever t-shirt I grab. If I was going to be running hard I might get a wicking shirt, but that's probably not necessary.

I would not bother with sweats, unless you literally like to sweat - if you have to go for long pants, I would use some lighter warmup/track pants - doesn't have to be anything fancy, just something like these from target. You could get the same thing from nike or adidas or whatever if off-brand is not stylish enough (I've got nike warmup pants but at an outlet - unless you're really working out hard I don't think you'll notice too much of a difference between really good ones and a nonbrand or cheapo brand).

One more thing - If you're not going to be using a locker you should either wear shorts/pants with pockets so you have somewhere to put your ID/keys/whatever, or use one of those neck lanyard things. I hate running with stuff in my pocket so if you're going to be using a treadmill instead of weights this suggestion is probably not for you.

good luck with the working out. It works best when it becomes a habit, so you probably shouldn't start off so gung ho that it quickly becomes a chore.


Stylish Dinosaur
Apr 27, 2007
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whatever you do, stick to basics. deadlifts, dips, chins, bench, squat, t-bar rows, etc.

i see every numb-nut trainers having noobies doing lateral raises and wrist curls like that's their biggest weaknesses.


Apr 2, 2008
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The best advice I can give for shoes is to go to an actual running store (not Foot Locker) and have them look at how you run and recommend a shoe with the correct amount of stability/cushioning.

I'd also suggest picking up compression shorts-type underwear for the cardio; especially if you want to keep your jewels above your knees. The champion brand ones at Target are cheap and are easily as good as under armor ones.


Feb 14, 2008
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just bring a t shirt, shorts, running shoes, and a gym locker and throw it into a backpack. if you're just getting into working out i wouldn't go too crazy with the running shoes. they can get kind of pricey and you don't even know if you like working out yet. and if you don't really have probs with posture then almost any decent running shoe will do for light jogging on the treadmill. keep in mind when you're working out, less reps with proper form is more valuable then more reps with bad form. in other words, doing 5 proper push ups is better than doing 10 half assed ones. cheating yourself when working out is pointless as it just wastes time. go at your own pace and you will see good results without injury.


Distinguished Member
Mar 12, 2002
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Last June, I entered a gym for the first time in my life. It has been one of the greatest decisions of my life. (If I can do it, anyone can!)

I strongly urge that you consider hiring a good personal trainer--someone who can guide you through an effective workout routine. Like anything else, it is worthwhile to shop around and get references. A good trainer motivates and can keep you going when the "newness" of going the gym wears off.

As for clothing, seek material that wicks--especially shirts, socks, and underwear. None of this need be expensive.


Distinguished Member
Jan 11, 2008
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The guy posted this message over a year and a half ago. I sure hope he ended up going to the gym.


Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2008
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Hunstman, All you need are a comfortable pair of shorts and a t shirt or tank top. When you join a gym to your liking, usually they offer a free assesment and recommendations depending on the goals you want to accomplish. A trainer will probably show you the basics and from then on you can tailor your workouts depending on your schedule.

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