OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Friday, March 27


QUESTION: I have not done any physical exercise since I graduated high school a long time ago (back then I was forced to exercise in gym class). I used to hate working out, but now my parents have somewhat convinced me that I really should, for health.

So my question is, how do I get a UW gym membership , and where is UW's gym/exercise machine room/swimming pool (if exists)? (Please be more specific than just PAC, the only thing I know about PAC is a big empty room for exams).

Additionally, could you offer any advice for me on how to exercise (which machine is good for beginners, any non-obvious thing I should be aware of, etc) and how to avoid being laughed at for trying to lift a dumbbell with almost no weight on it. (I think that was part of reason why I have always avoided gym)

Also please just don't say "you can go to PAC and figure it out yourself", because I'm a very shy person and I'm very nervous going to a place that I always avoid for my entire life and I need encouragement from people with experience in exercising.


  1. Hey OP. Good on you for putting in the initiative.

    You don't need a membership. Just walk on in.

    You can go to PAC to work out, but I think CIF would be less intimidating for someone working out the first time. To get to the gym, enter the front door and go straight down the hall. At the intersection near the desk, turn right and go to the end of the hall. There is the gym. You will find the change rooms on the way.

    Advice for beginning:
    Start your workout with a little bit of cardio. Doesn't have to be much, maybe 5 mins. Look up proper form for bench press, squats, and deadlifts on youtube. These are the major exercises and you should know proper form or you can hurt yourself. Look up how to do skull crushes for triceps, shoulder press for shoulders. Leg raises are good for abs.
    Start off with 8 repetitions, and 3 sets of repetitions per exercise. Lift the maximum you can while doing 8 reps.

    Put being made fun of out of your mind. Everyone is there to improve themselves, and most people won't even pay you a moment's notice. Everyone starts somewhere.

    If in doubt about form, ask someone doing the same exercise. They will probably be more than willing to help. They could become a gym buddy too.

    Good luck OP. Make sure the gym becomes a habit. Force yourself to do it every day for two weeks and then you'll start to miss it if you don't go.

    1. OP this is pretty good advice here, covers the basics. Like 1a said bench/squat/deads are the basic compound exercises you should be doing, I would also add military press in there. As for form there's plenty of videos online, and you can ask the person working there, they are usually kin students that know what they are talking about.

      Also I'd like to add. To change body composition you gotta take care of your diet. If you wanna lose fat, you HAVE to burn more calories than you consume. No matter how good your workout is, you can't defy the laws of thermodynamics. Now this doesn't mean go run on the treadmill for hours, lifting burns calories and muscle increases your resting metabolic rate so again you burn calories. But ya to sum it up, lift hard and watch the diet (no need to go paleo vegan organic homegrown farmer Lol, just watch your calories/macros and avoid junk)

    2. OP here, thanks both 1 and 1a for your advises.

      Regarding diet, I am super lazy about cooking and too cheap to eat at restaurants often so I'm actually very thin. I have never cared about calories etc. Is it still important to watch those even if I'm not overweight?

    3. Oh my bad OP I assumed you were overweight Lol. But to answer your question yes you do need to watch your caloric intake if you want to gain some weight(muscle). You won't grow if you burn more than you consume, simple as that. I started just like you, skinny as a toothpick, and only when I started eating more did I gain some nice lean mass. Eating more will become easier when you start lifting because obviously the higher physical demands will make you more hungry, but definitely try to eat as much as you can, especially protein. For skinny people its easier not to worry about gaining fat, just vaccum in everything in sight lol. Good luck man

  2. I'm up for being a gym buddy since I'm in a somewhat similar situation

  3. If you find that convincing yourself to go to the gym is tough, I would recommend joining the Shoe Tag program. It's always free during the first week of term and exams (that DOES make it busy though...) and you get to go to as many fitness classes as you want (in a schedule. See the link).
    The classes might sound intimidating, but they're really not and the instructors are all great - I've been using the shoe tag since 1a (I'm in 3a now). You go at your own pace and they have different classes for all fitness levels.
    A tag for the term costs $56, but even if you only go once a week, that works out to less than $5 per class. I find it's nice having an instructor there to tell me what to do and guide me through the exercises, rather than figuring it out myself and having to motivate myself.
    Good luck and good on you for getting started! Fitness Schedule

  4. If you're finding it difficult to go to the gym because of self-confidence issues, I'd recommend trying bodyweight exercises in your residence or anywhere else you feel comfortable.

    Push-ups, dips, planks and plenty of other exercises are great and there are plenty of resources out there to get you started. Once you build a base level of fitness and some confidence you can start hitting the gym.

    Regardless of using gym equipment or doing bodyweight exercises, having a proper form is more important than the number of repetitions. Also, you need to be strict about doing this regularly until working out becomes a habit.

    Combine this with a healthy diet and some self-motivation and you'll make it.

  5. Hey way to go OP, exercise is awesome for you in so many ways and I'm proud of you for taking the first step! :D There's tons of ways to exercise on campus, like people mentioned. Shoe tag classes, athletic clubs, and intramurals are a great way to go. You could join (next term) a beginner intramural team. If you don't have a buddy to join with you could just go as an independent. This is a lot of fun, although I don't know if you would do this, as you said you are shy.
    However, it sounds like you are interested in strength training. I started strength training about a year ago. When I started I was intimidated to enter the PAC gym and didn’t know what I was doing. Now the PAC is my second home, and I actually get asked gym questions by strangers and acquaintances on a semi-regular basis. If you are interested in strength training, I would highly recommend signing up for some personal training lessons with a trainer at the pac/cif. I'm at the pac often and I frequently see the trainers there doing awesome work with people who are in your shoes. Learning about property technique is really important and this can be hard to do without help. Also, I wouldn’t recommend starting with big lifts until getting down key motions and building up initial strength. Being able to work with people who can show me how to do things, and correct me if I am doing them wrong, is key for me! I know a little about lifting right now, but I still have a lot to learn. Also, I’m not 100% sure but you may be able to do semi-private lessons, which could be a great way to stay motivated and to meet a workout buddy in the future.
    Also, I know that the people and trainers in the pac can be a bit intimidating if you don't know any of us! We’re muscly and give the impression we know what we’re doing. But please believe me OP, we’re just happy you want to learn and trying to make a change for the good, and we will give you the best advice or help that we can 
    Finally: the Physical Activities Complex (PAC) is the big brown building next to the SLC. Access to the swimming pool is through the change rooms, which are located on the bottom floor. The weight room is located down the hall from the change rooms (if you have your back to the change room doors, go down the hallway to the left). If you’re not sure where anything is, just ask someone  There are also squash courts downstairs.

  6. OP here. Thanks all for your advises!