Woman working out at the gym

How to get started at the gym

Kickstart your gym journey with confidence! Our quick guide demystifies the gym experience, from setting achievable goals to gym etiquette. Discover how to make your workouts effective and enjoyable, no matter your fitness level.

How to get started at the gym

It can be pretty daunting joining a gym for the first time. Many feel a bit intimidated or feel they’ll be judged or won’t fit in. But just visit a local gym like our partners Snap Fitness and you’ll see it’s a relaxed and welcoming place with people of all ages and shapes and sizes focussed on their own fitness and health.

First talk to your doctor
It’s a good idea to get a check up at the doctor and talk to them about what you want to achieve at the gym. Based on your health history there might be a reason to go slowly or avoid certain types of exercises.

Set a specific fitness goal
You’ll get the best results if you start with a specific objective that you can put a number on. It could be something being able to do 20 sit-ups in a row by the end of April or lose three kilos pounds by your birthday in June. These goals are specific, attainable, and grounded in time. Being able to measure your goals means you can see your progress, which is the key to kepping you motivated.

Get a Personal Trainer
It does add to the cost of going to the gym, but it pays off massively. You’ll get a introduction to the gym and how to use the gear the right way. They also design a workout programme that’s designed to meet your goals, give you guidance on exercise technique to help get the most benefit from your gym sessions and prevent injuries, and they’ll keep you motivated.

Start slow
Go too hard too early and you might hurt yourself. Start with shorter workouts, bodyweight exercises, and beginner classes. Even if all you do on your first day in the gym is walk on the treadmill, you’re starting right.

Be consistent
Don’t feel bad if you skip a day when you just don’t feel up to it. Take the long term view that overall consistency is what is important.

Warm-up and cool-down
Plan to spend five to ten minutes before and after your workout warming up your muscles and joints and then cool down after your workout with gentle stretching.

Do both cardio and strength training
A complete workout programme combines weight training to build muscle and tone your body, with cardio to increase cardiovascular fitness and burn fat. A ratio of one weight session to two cardio sessions is about right for most people. A personal trainer will be able to advise what’s best for you.

Take the classes
Classes are heaps of fun.They give you a chance to learn new exercises and try something new. You’ll get to know more of the gym staff and make new friends who will keep you motivated.

Be patient
Good things take time. Be patient, and don’t beat yourself up for not reaching your goals as fast as you planned. Strength gains and weight loss do not happen in a day. If you’re making progress, you’re on the right path.

Know your gym etiquette

  • Put weights back when you’re finished using them.
  • Avoid dropping weights, which is distracting and can damage the gear.
  • Wipe down machines after you use them.
  • Give people plenty of space and don’t hog gym equipment.
  • Be flexible and prepared to change your routine if the gym is busy.

There’s no time like now to get started
The most important thing is to start going the gym and making exercise a normal part of your daily life. The longer you wait, the longer it will take to reach your goals. If you’re thinking of going to the gym a visit to your local Snap Fitness a great place to start.