COVID-19 has caused lockdowns nationwide that has put many people back into the land of the "college 15." As the nation begins to reopen, you may find yourself a good ten to 15 pounds heavier than you were at the beginning of the year. This is the perfect time to hit the gym, but it can be an intimidating place if you have not been in a long time. One of the best ways to reduce the anxiety of stepping into a gym is by fully understanding the various types of equipment it has to offer.


If you are looking to increase your heart rate and sweat off the pounds, then cardio is the direction you will want to go. Many gyms have cardio equipment in a separate area of the gym and include treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes. You can also find cardio classes that give guided instruction to working out. If you have never used a piece of equipment, talk to the gym for guidance on proper usage and safety tips.

Open Floor

When you do a tour of a gym, you may notice many have a large open space with hand equipment on the floor nearby. Some of the equipment you will usually find include weighted balls, rollers, yoga balls, and tension wraps. These are ideal for pre or post-workout routines. Personal trainers can also help you with stretches and workouts if you are recovering from an injury.

Strength Equipment

Strength training is a great way to reduce fat and increase muscle. There are two types of equipment found in gyms for this style of training: free weights and cable machines. Free weights are the dumbbells that you find in racks along the walls. Reputable gyms will have light weights and heavy weights for people to find the best weight. When using free weights, you will want to start with a lighter dumbbell that you can control and then work your way up. Dumbbells are a great addition to exercises that can be performed in the open floor space, so talk to the gym about the ability to use free weights in different areas. Weights are generally placed near a mirror so you can see your form, as well as make sure you are aware of your surroundings.

Cable machines are another type of strength training equipment. These are the machines you see that have weights attached to cables while you do the exercise. Many gyms allow you to have one free consult with a personal trainer that will help you identify your starting point on each machine, show you how to use them safely, and design a workout routine for your needs. When using cable machines, it is important to go slow and rest between repetitions. Any time you have questions when it comes to a piece of equipment, always ask.

The gym should not be a source of anxiety, but rather be a place to release stress. A good workout routine will rotate through all of the above areas. It is good to experiment with what works for you and what you feel comfortable with. However, the most important thing is to stay safe, hydrate, and keep your heart rate elevated.