It's the start of a new year, so you know what that means...gym memberships have skyrocketed. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm ALL for people bettering themselves. If the start of a new year is what it takes to motivate you to get in shape, go for it! Trust me, it's worth it.

With that being said, it's always obvious when you spot a newcomer in a gym. They're nervous, they don't know how to operate the machines correctly, their form is screwed up. It takes everything in me not to help people (maybe I should've been a personal trainer), but sometimes you have to let people figure things out for themselves.

So, to help out all you new members of the #FITFAM, I've put together some pointers/advice. This can be said for old members of gyms too. Everyone could use some pointers sometimes.

First off, don't slam your weights. IT'S SO ANNOYING. Unless your new gym is Crossfit OR you're dead-lifting, slamming weights is unnecessary. If you can't set those 20 pound weights down somewhat gracefully after some arm curls, you might be lifting too heavy.

Next, wipe down your station. No one wants to sit in your butt sweat after you're done with a machine. This goes for everyone, actually. There isn't a gym that doesn't have spray bottles or wipes, so there's no excuse.

Try not to use 15 machines at once. We all have our circuits that we are following, but taking up 5 different machines is ridiculous. You're preventing people from using something, and that interferes with their workouts. Either work quickly or try to stick to rotating between just a few machines at once.

Look at the pictures on the machines before you use them. Sure, machines can sometimes be manipulated to work differently than they're supposed to, but for the most part, it's all right there for you in a little diagram. It'll save you from pulling something or hurting yourself, and you won't look ridiculous.

That leads me to my next point. Ask if you need help with something. If you need a spot or an explanation on how to use something, there aren't too many people that are going to tell you no. Ask a worker at the gym, or someone that seems to be resting between their sets. There's going to be someone in the gym that might have more experience than you, and I'm sure they'd be happy to help.

Also, take it easy on the pre-workout the first few times. While I HIGHLY recommend pre-workout, it's a lot different than a caffeine rush. It can make you jittery and tingly and I HATED it at first. Turns out, I was just taking a little too much. I miss pre-workout, because it really does help. My favorites are Advocare's pre-workout and Blue Print Supplements pre-workout in the Starburst flavors. The good thing is, 517 Fitness sells both of these pre-workouts (and a lot more). Yay!

Well, that about sums it up. Take all this into consideration when you walk into the gym and you should be good to go. Most importantly, though, be proud of yourself. Everyone has to start somewhere. I highly recommend starting at 517 Fitness. They can help you every step of the way. Whether you're switching gyms or new to the whole thing, 517 is going to get you headed in the right direction. BONUS: they're open 24 hours. Go check them out!