Ready to start your fitness journey? Your local gym has everything you need to make the first step – encouraging atmosphere, equipment, and advice.
We dream of a world where everyone feels confident about stepping into a gym for the first time. If that sounds like a bit of you, read our best-ever beginner’s guide to your first gym session!
Going to the gym for the first time?
Amazing – you’re about to do something really positive for your health and fitness. Gym training can help you build strong muscles and bones, lose body fat, develop better cardiovascular fitness (that’s “heart fitness” in real talk) and increase your sense of self-confidence. Sounds pretty good to us!
There are so many great reasons to head to the gym as a beginner. First up, you’ve got all the fitness equipment you need to make meaningful changes to your body and mind. Then you’ve got a motivating atmosphere and none of the distractions of home, so you can finally focus on yourself. Lastly, you’ll be able to tap into the expert support of Personal Trainers and class instructors who really want to help you become your best self.
Love cardio? Cool, you’ll be able to sweat it out on smart bits of cardio equipment that you simply can’t have at home. Want to start lifting weights? There’s no better place to do that than at a gym, where you’ll be able to safely use machines and free weights. Or perhaps you fancy doing functional fitness training, HIIT workouts, or group exercise classes. It’s all there at your local gym, just waiting for you to find your favourite workout.
5 things to do before you go to the gym
Don’t head to the gym before ticking off this top-5 checklist.
- Find a great local gym using the Hussle gym finder
- Check to see if you need to book in advance (especially for classes)
- Decide whether you want to go at peak times or in quieter periods
- Book an induction with one of the gym team who will show you around
- Get your kit together: comfortable trainers, towel, and a bottle of water
Things to try on your first gym visit
We get it – thinking about your first gym visit can be daunting. The best way to minimise the overwhelm is to plan ahead. It’s a really great idea to book a gym induction, so a friendly member of gym staff can show you around, set you up on the machines, and answer your questions. They want the best for everyone who goes to the gym and will be happy to help.
Keep it simple and low-impact for your first few visits. Warm up on a piece of cardio equipment (hint: this is also the perfect opportunity to look around and get your bearings!) Try the treadmill for an incline walk, the cross trainer, or the rowing machine to get your heart-rate up to start your session.
From there, move to the stretch or functional fitness area where you’ll find mats, medicine balls and kettlebells. This is a simple and versatile way to introduce some resistance work into your session. Try bodyweight movements like squats, lunges, press ups and sit ups, or incorporate extra weight with a light kettlebell.
If you want to add a bit more weight to your workouts, try the resistance machines for your first few visits. It’s easier to learn good weight training technique on a machine and the workouts will build your confidence with weights. When you feel ready to move over to the free weights (barbells, plates, dumbbells) ask a member of staff to show you how to pick the right weight and do exercises with good form.
How to get help in the gym
Not everyone knows what to do in the gym, and that’s just fine! If you’re a newbie to the gym scene, how can you be expected to know what to do? Thankfully every gym has qualified staff members who know exactly how to explain the equipment and machines without making things more confusing.
If you don’t know where to start, head to reception and ask to speak to a Personal Trainer or gym manager. They will chat with you to understand your background and goals, before showing you around the gym and helping you get to grips with the equipment. If you want, they will even give you a simple workout programme to follow on your phone, or show you how to access on-demand workouts and classes using a virtual platform.
Really like the look of a workout class but don’t know what to expect? Ask reception to put you in touch with the instructor. He or she will be delighted to explain their class, show you any equipment, and tell you which class times are most popular. Added bonus of speaking to the instructor before you book a class – they’ll already know you when you turn up to work out!
3 things not to worry about at the gym
What you’re wearing
As long as you are comfortable and supported in all the right areas (ladies, you know what we mean…) you can wear any sports kit. You don’t need labels or brands unless that’s your thing. Shorts or leggings plus a t-shirt or vest top and away you go.
What other people are thinking
Here’s a secret about people in the gym – they are all more concerned about themselves than they are about you. And they were a newbie once! Be confident and enjoy your workout.
Getting it wrong
The great thing about the gym is that it’s a controlled environment that is purpose-built for working out. You can’t go wrong – and if you make a beginner mistake, so what! Most people in the gym will be happy to give you some pointers. An even better idea is to a trainer for advice (or maybe book a one-to-one session) to learn the basics.
How long should your gym workouts be?
You’ll be glad to hear that the days of mega-long gym workouts are in the past! As a gym newbie, keep your training sessions simple, short, and stress-free. The goal is to get your mind and body used to your new hobby – and leave you wanting more.
30-45 minutes is the optimal amount of time to be in the gym when you’re starting out. This gives enough time for a 5 minute warm up, 20 minutes workout, and time left over for core work and a bit of stretching – perfect!
What’s next after your first gym visit
You made it to the gym – go you! We hope you feel proud of yourself for stepping outside of your comfort zone. Hopefully you enjoyed the feeling of working up a sweat and getting your muscles moving. Here’s what to do next:
The most important part of your post-workout plan is giving yourself a massive pat on the back. You’ve just done something really significant for your mind, body, and future self!
Simple recovery tips
Make sure you hydrate and eat a healthy snack after your first gym visit. There’s no need to replace the calories you’ve burned, but it’s a good idea to nourish your body with a bit of protein and some healthy carbohydrates. If you feel achy the next day, keep your body moving (get outside for a walk) and do some simple stretches for your legs, back, hips and upper body.
Plan your next visit
Keep the momentum up by planning your second gym visit. Do you want to go back to the same gym, or try something new? Has your enthusiasm rubbed off on a friend who will come along with you? Get the next training session in the diary and build on your new healthy habit.
Try a different gym
There are dozens of gyms in your local area, all offering different classes and equipment. Try a few to find somewhere you feel at home in. Hussle has the best selection of local gyms and leisure facilities.
Explore different activities
Got the workout bug? Don’t limit yourself to gym training. There are loads of different forms of exercise out there just waiting to be enjoyed. Why not try an exercise class, swimming, or even a taster session of a new sport. There’s no right or wrong way to get fit and stay in shape. The best workout is the one you enjoy! What would you like to try next?
Find a gym near you
Check out Hussle’s gym finder to view all the gyms, workout studios and leisure centres near you.