How to Use the Campus Gym as a Novice

Image of the Student Life Center with text that reads "How to use the campus gym as a novice"

Going to the gym can be intimidating, especially when you’re unsure of what you’re doing. However, there are several perks of going to the gym like improved fitness, socialization and mental health. While it can be scary, there are several ways to utilize the campus gym as a novice—all you need is your UCard! 

Run Forest, Run! 

Running is one of my favorite things to do at the gym. Don’t be afraid to start utilizing the are treadmills, stair machines and indoor track at the Student Life Center. With treadmills overlooking campus, there isn’t possibly a better view.  

Tip: If you’re a new runner, don’t be too ambitious with your speed or specific mileage goals. Find a pace that you can sustain and set a goal for the length of time you want to run. Gradually increase your speed and run time as you build stamina.  


Weights are a fun way to stay involved in gym life. Something as simple as curls or lunges with dumbbells can get your arms or legs burning! Try out some simple weights to start.  

Tip: Don’t over or underestimate what weight you should begin with. Choose something that is doable but will be challenging when you reach the last rep.  


Machines are a great way to isolate a muscle group. On each machine, you can find instructions on how to use them. Some of them are a little confusing, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. But, be careful! If you aren’t confident with a machine, don’t use it. Using machines incorrectly can result in injury. Tip: Clair Thomas has videos of every machine she uses on her Instagram and is an amazing role model.  


I have found some of my favorite workouts on Pinterest. With pictures, videos and explanations on how to do a workout, Pinterest has simple, fun ways to get your heart rate up. With mats on the top floor of the campus gym, there is always room for something as simple as an ab workout! Tip: There is no wrong way to work out, so just try things out! 

Apps and Websites 

There are several workout apps that are great for the gym or at-home workouts. From paid apps like Peloton to free websites like Fitness Blender, the options are endless. Pick what works best for your finances and your fitness! Tip: Fitness Blender is free and has videos involving all kinds of workouts. If you’re looking for a HIIT workout, a dumbbell workout, or a workout with no equipment, there is something for you! 


The Fitness Center also offers classes for students to take when they please. Classes are $7 for individual passes, or students can buy a semester-long pass for varying prices. Classes include yoga, cycling, Zumba and more. My favorites are the yoga classes. The instructors are super kind and always willing to help. Tip: Make new friends! People are usually super friendly in classes. This is a great place to meet people who like to do the same things as you.  

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! There are so many resources to help you along your fitness journey, so there’s no excuse to skip the gym. Good luck with your newfound gym life—maybe I’ll even see you there! 

Kailey Gilbert
Outreach Housing Ambassador