Do you have gymtimidation? Finding your way around the fitness floor can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a newcomer. It can feel like a workout war zone where dumbbells are dropping, jocks are storming the track and sweat is flooding the floor. And while it’s tempting to grab your water bottle and retreat to the safety of the locker room, a simple structure can help ease gym-related apprehensions.

Navigate your fitness center like a pro with these ABC’s:

A is for Aerobics. When designing your workout plan, always start with strength and resistance training, followed by aerobic activities. Since cardio requires repetitive movements for extended periods of time, muscles will fatigue.

For those unfamiliar with the following machines, ask a personal trainer to demonstrate the safe way to operate equipment.

Elliptical: Ideal for the athlete returning from orthopedic surgery, or for those with sore, stiff joints.

Treadmill: To avoid boredom, constantly adjust the incline and speed to challenge your body and mind. Also, avoid holding the rails during your workout. This zombie-like stance jeopardizes your form and increases the risk of injury.

Rowing Machine: This all-star, total-body conditioner is often thought to be just an upper body workout. But the rowing machine is powered by your core, hamstrings, glutes and quads, all of which translates to a mega calorie burn.

Stationary Bikes: The recumbent bike has a comfortable seat and back rest, catering to those who need spinal support and an easier cruise. For those desiring a more demanding drill, choose an upright bike.

Stair Stepper: One of the most strenuous machines in the gym, the Stair Stepper requires endurance, balance and coordination. While it is not the most exciting piece of equipment, it is one of the best for improving heart health, lung capacity and stamina.

B is for Body Weight. Body weight exercises are a top trend in the fitness industry because they are effective, efficient and excellent for perfecting form without the added resistance of free weights. Another fun feature of body weight exercises is that you can easily customize the intensity.

Wall Sit: Rest your back against a sturdy wall and step your feet forward so your body weight is resting in your heels. Slowly lower your body until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and hold for 60 seconds.

To increase intensity, lift one leg at a time while in this squat stance.

Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates an advanced wall sit.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates an advanced wall sit.

Lunge: Stand with your shoulders back, eyes forward and feet hip-width apart. Take a step back with your right foot, lowering your body so both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your weight in your front heel. Hold for two counts then bring your right foot back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times then switch legs.

To increase intensity, extend your arms and twist your torso in the direction of your front leg each time you lunge.

Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates an advanced lunge.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates an advanced lunge.

Push Up: Start in a plank position with your shoulders stacked above your wrists, back flat and neck neutral. Practice 10 push-ups.

To increase intensity, start by resting your body on the floor with your hands positioned below your shoulders. Push through your palms, lifting your body into a plank. Count to five as you slowly lower your body back to the floor. That’s one rep. Repeat 10 times.

Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates an advanced push up.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates an advanced push up.

C is for Core Strength. The core muscles give the body functional power, spinal stabilization and better balance. Start every workout with core training, and always incorporate it into your body weight exercises.

Plank: Hold a high plank for 60 seconds. Remember to keep your shoulders aligned above your wrists and spine straight.

To increase intensity, extend your right arm and left leg. Hold for 10 seconds then switch sides. Continue alternating for 60 seconds.

Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates an advanced plank.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates an advanced plank.

Navigating your way around the gym shouldn’t be the hardest part of your workout.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt, ACE-CPT, is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.