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Health and Wellness: Getting acquainted with a new wellness and fitness centre

Credit: CLAUDIA BERGMAN

Whether you're new to the wellness and fitness world, or starting at a new facility, it's always a idea good to take a tour, understand the basics of your new venue and see everything it has to offer.


Karen Nixon-Carroll | Interrobang | Lifestyles | September 11th, 2017



Everyone who walks into a fitness centre for the first time has experienced fear, intimidation, anxiety, frustrations, etc. Even the so-called “tough guys” have moments where they are a bit lost. I want to guide you to never feeling like this again, or at least only for those first few moments you step foot in your new gym and never again after that.

This will absolutely apply at the Fanshawe Student Wellness and Fitness Centre, but I hope you can transfer these tips and have a great experience no matter where you choose to take care of your body.

A tour is a great way to get started, but it is only a snap shot of the information.

Sometimes certain information is highlighted more than something else, depending on the tour guide or depending on the attendees.

The guide may pick out things they think you would be more interested in and skim over things they believe you might not care for.

Ask questions on your tour like, where do I find this? When does this occur? Who takes care of that? What is available to me? What comes with an extra cost? Do I need to sign up for this? If your tour guide can’t answer these questions, ask them who can.

Now that you’ve had a tour and you’re all set to start working out, it’s time to book an orientation with a fitness staff. Most centres offer this, unless they are strictly for personal training.

At Fanshawe’s Student Wellness and Fitness Centre, we offer two types of orientations. New member orientation (new to fitness or new to working out in a fitness centre) included with membership, and an equipment orientation (for the user that needs a quick tutorial on our equipment or specific equipment they have not used before), also included with membership.

During the orientation, we show you how to use the equipment, educate you on warm up, cardiovascular training, resistance training, core training, cool down and flexibility training.

We also tell you your weight, height and body fat/muscle composition.

We show you where to find equipment that might be tucked away or that you have to sign out with a student card. We also talk about centre etiquette and teach you how to get the most out of your member experience.

It doesn’t stop there. The Student Wellness and Fitness Centre also offers an Individual Program Design (IPD).

This is likely very different from most fitness centres’, but still worth asking to see if your gym offers a one-time personalized program at no extra cost for you to work toward your initial goals.

In the IPD, we discuss a more focused goal such as strength/muscle building, weight loss/management or athletic/functional fitness.

We find that most people are looking for one of these three types of training and we have designed workouts for each. Each workout can be tweaked to the user’s fitness level and needs.

Like most wellness and fitness centres, personal training is a great option, but this of course comes with a fee. However, asking what packages or promotions are being offered is key.

Typically a fitness assessment is included, but some gyms may charge separately for this.

Side note: If your trainer does not conduct a physical assessment the first time you meet, then you should question how they were able to prescribe your unique workout.

An assessment isn’t always needed before the orientation or IPD, because they are set up for generalized goals.

If you have unique needs and know this when you first come to the gym, then your best bet is to set up a free consultation with a trainer and talk about the best options for you.

This typically happens when someone has a physical or cognitive condition, is in need of rehabilitation or has a very specific goal in mind.

The last part of navigation is all about the other programs and services offered.

Don’t be afraid to ask an instructor what their class is about or how can it be modified to suit your needs.

There may also be other areas similar to the Student Wellness and Fitness Centre like the rock wall, squash courts, and wellness services available to you.

Ask your membership staff how to get registered, what you need to bring and what are the operating hours.

Wherever you go, don’t allow yourself to get upset because you don’t know much about the facility, equipment and any fitness related topics. Also, don’t get embarrassed about asking for help. A good gym will have trained, non-judgmental and educated staff that are willing to help you have the best experience possible.

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