How to Start Exercising in a Gym

How To Start Exercising In A Gym

The time has come! You want to start exercising in a gym regularly. Maybe you’ve spent a lot of time playing sports and want to improve your game by adding strength or size, or both. Maybe you’ve spent a long time working out at home or outside and feel its time to add the gym to your regime or maybe you’ve never exercised before and want to change your life by improving your heath, fitness and wellbeing.

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I’m going to talk about how to start exercising in a gym and maintaining that habit, discussing points like dealing with beginners nerves, deciding on a goal and feeling intimidated.

You’ll also need planning and knowledge of what to do when you’re in the gym and methods of staying focused and consistent to give yourself the best chance of achieving your goal.

Beginners Nerves

I’ve been working out in gyms for around 15 years now but I still remember the nervousness I felt when I first began. It was a combination of feeling self consciousness, inadequate and unknowledgeable, but the first thing you need to realise is that every gym goer has been in this very same position, every single one.

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The next thing to do is focus on YOURSELF and no one else because you’re doing this for you alone, and for whatever reason you have for embarking on this fitness journey. Probably just as important to remember is that no one else in the gym is bothered about you or really interested in paying you any attention, they’re there (or should be) for themselves, just as you are.

Always focus on yourself, and my advice would be to carry that mindset with you always.

Visit some gyms if you have the option to do so and pick one you like the feel of most. That may be because of a recommendation or because of the facilities and remember you can change gyms at any time.

Decide on a goal

One thing that is going to help with those nerves is deciding on the goal you want to achieve in the gym. This step is really something that you will likely complete before you even step in a gym and goes hand in hand with the reason for you wanting to begin working out in the gym in the first place but its definitely significant in terms of helping to quash any nervousness.

Whatever you do in the gym with any purpose will always improve your fitness. Your goal could be to lose weight, get stronger, gain muscle or improve your cardio fitness but having decided on what it is going to be is vital for long term success.

With a goal your’e going to walk in there on the first day and every day thereafter with purpose and a genuine and real reason for being there. Focus on your goal.

Feeling Intimidated

Even with your mindset focused on yourself and being equipped with your goal, feeling optimistic and excited going to the gym for the first time, especially alone can be very intimidating so its worth keeping in mind that if you’re feeling this and its overwhelming, its a feeling only you are creating, but its natural.

Tell yourself you will manage it and overcome it, because I’ll say again, other people really are not concerned with you. Remember that. Try not to think too much about this feeling and focus your thoughts on your goal and your plan (which I’ll talk about next!).

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Something that could eliminate this feeling entirely is to start going to the gym with a friend. Having a workout partner can be very beneficial in lots of ways.

By the time your first session is over you’ll be feeling much better because you’ll have done something great! You’ll know it. Try not to leave it too long before your next visit, maybe rest a day or two and get back in there. Next, Your plan.

Planning and Knowledge

Planning of your workout program, and the knowledge needed to do that is crucial, especially if you’re a beginner but it need not be complicated. Your plan will go hand in hand with your goal and should be fairly simple and straight forward. You don’t want to make this difficult for yourself early on so it risks putting you off continuing to pursue your fitness goals.

To help with this you could pick body weight exercises and practice at home first for example or keep things even easier and just use the treadmill, rowing machine or exercise bike on your first few visits to become accustomed to the new experience.

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Pick a simple, small amount of exercises that you feel confident in being able to complete in the gym. Use the internet or a fitness app to research what you want to do and how to do it beforehand, read and watch videos to educate and inspire yourself. Talk to friends who stay fit and workout and learn from them. Spend as much time doing this as you need and keep telling yourself you can and will do fact, KNOW you will do this.

I for one do this all the time and used to buy lots fitness magazines and there is nothing wrong in doing that but I felt that I didn’t need to do that anymore as there’s an infinite amount free fitness information and knowledge on the web that’s available to everyone nowadays. You can literally research any aspect of fitness you could imagine. Take advantage of this.

Staying Focused and Consistent

You have your goal and you master plan and you’re on your way to a fitter, stronger and healthier you and by the time you’re a few visits to the gym in to your new lifestyle you will hopefully be really starting to enjoy yourself and everything about it.

What’s most important now is that you don’t give up on yourself and the decision you made to start all this. You spent time and a lot of thinking about this beforehand for a reason. Keep that reason in mind and keep in mind what you have overcome and achieved to get you to this point. Preserve that decision and don’t give up.

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Going back to your planning and the type of exercise you’re doing, again at first making this exercise manageable is key. You need to create a habit of gym going and exercise first. If you instil this habit and make it a part of your weekly routine you’re highly likely to keep it and enjoy it and eventually not want to lose it believe it or not.

Take as long as you need to develop the habit and focus heavily on this and being consistent with visiting the gym regularly. There will inevitably be times when you don’t want to go but if you do, and because your exercise is manageable, you’ll feel proud for ‘getting another one done’ you will easily develop your fitness in the long term by doing this.


So hopefully these steps are going to help you in some way if you needed some motivation on how to start exercising in a gym. They may have helped if you needed motivation on getting back in to the gym or fitness after a long break.

Enjoy yourself and remember your reason, your goal and your plan. Stay focused on yourself and consistent and keep all of this in mind as you move forward and become more fit and healthy and you won’t go far wrong.

12 thoughts on “How to Start Exercising in a Gym

  1. I don’t go to the gym much, because I feel more comfortable going to the park or a jogging/walking trail. Whenever it is very cold or raining, that’s when I miss the gym. Even though your tips are encouraging, I enjoy the fresh air and the sunshine on the outside.

    1. Hi Carol, Thanks for taking the time to post a comment. The best thing about exercise is that everyone can do it in the way they prefer most. I’m glad you found the post encouraging.

  2. You post is very encouraging. I think the reason that I don’t go to a gym is because I feel like I would be the only one there that doesn’t look good in my exercise outfit. I’m embarrassed to admit this but I have actually thought before that I wanted to get in shape before I start going to the gym so I’ll look good while I’m working out.
    Anyway, I was inspired by your passion. Keep it up!


    1. Hi and thank you for such an honest reply. What you’ve said is very true for many people But these are natural thoughts that the vast majority of people I’m sure have had.

      Remember you’re not the only person to have those concerns. I’m glad you found the post inspiring and hope it helps you to do what you want to do.

  3. Hi Chris, I really liked what you said about the Beginners Nerves and Overcoming Intimidation. I have personally dealt with this and had to overcome it. I liked the advice you gave about focusing on yourself and only yourself. Also to remember why you have embarked on the fitness journey.

    1. Hello and thank you for your comment. Yes it’s a big factor for many people when starting to get fit.

      For some it can actually stop them even starting so it’s something I felt some people out there could benefit from thinking about to get them going.

  4. This is great advice, especially as a women who is a bit self conscious about my body shape and level of fitness. I really liked your focus on self and not getting worried about what everyone else might think.

    Practicing some of the exercises at home is a great idea too 😊

    Thank you heaps

    1. Hello, thank you for your comment and honesty. Yes, remember people don’t really care about you or what you’re doing. They’re more than likely thinking the same things you are.

      Focus on yourself always and you’ll be fit and feeling better about everything before you know it. This also applies to men too, believe me.

  5. Hey there,

    It’s a very insightful piece of an article.
    I often like to hit the iron paradise too.
    Even though I am not a beginner I found some really useful information in your post.
    Keep up the pace!

    1. Hi, and thank you for the comment. I’m pleased you found it insightful.

      Indeed, this way of thinking can be used by anyone at any time and I’m happy your’re not a beginner and still found this helpful. ‘The Iron Paradise’, I like that term!

  6. A good article with good advice and inspiration to get motivated to get in the gym! I think you definitely hit the head on beginner’s nerves. It’s one of the biggest reasons people don’t utilize a gym next to time and finances. A gym buddy is a great idea! Another great option that people should utilize if financially able is a trainer. They can help you visualize and make that plan and stick to it and help make sure you are doing the exercises effectively and safely. There’s also websites like that has great tips and video training.

    You mentioned “you can change gyms at any point”. While that is a fact – no body is holding you there at your will- it is not true financially. I would touch on how most gyms require a membership fee and even a 1 year contract. For those that have financial constraints, it is good information to be aware of.

    Another great tip is having a way to track ones fitness! I personally used a book to log my work outs, sets, rests etc and that way I have a way to follow my progression (and make sure I actually am progressing!). There are also fitness apps to use as well.

    Lastly – don’t forget gear! One of the ways to prepare for the gym and have the best experience is getting the right gear. I.e – gym clothes, gym bag, water bottle, sweat towel, gloves, proper shoes. Do you have any gear recommendations or a place to get the best gear for the best price?

    1. Hi, and thank you for such an in-depth comment. It’s greatly appreciated.
      Nerves in some shape or form are certainly one of the biggest reasons if not the biggest reason people become discouraged before they have even started. Finances too, I agree but as you say a trainer is a superb way to get that extra push and needed motivation if it’s a viable option for you.

      These days yes there are still some expensive and lengthy contracts involved in the membership of some gyms but speaking from my UK perspective as well as those options there are an abundance of low cost gyms and gym chains that are maybe not that fancy but are superb and offer great modern facilities with all the equipment, classes and trainers available for anyone to utilise, and the best part about them is they are mostly pay per month with no fixed contract. I pay just £14.99 ($19.60 USD) to use a big 24 hour gym and it’s the best I have ever used and the one I have been a member of the longest.

      I have to say that is a website I have visited many time for ideas and inspiration, but not for a while so thank you for drawing it to my attention.

      Tracking fitness is something I have touched on in a couple of my other articles and is definitely something I will be posting on in the future. There are some great apps and devices to aid yourself with and I do personally use a number of them myself.

      Gear, well yes you should get some hard wearing gym kit that is comfortable and will last you. I would say footwear being the most important piece. Choose a type of footwear that is suited to your fitness requirements. The same goes for your clothing depending on what it is you’re doing for exercise. It’s nice to have the nice gear but you don’t have to spend a lot of money on it, it’s up to the individual. A T-shirt or vest, shorts and suitable footwear is all you need and you can get those items easily, but it’s highly likely most people will already have them. I would recommend polyester based clothing as it’s lightweight, breathable and non-absorbent and this allows you comfortable movement at all times. Gear recommendations? I’d definitely advise anyone to invest in a gym bag, water bottle, sweat towel yes, oh and correct footwear but for anything else the choice is vast but I have mentioned a few in my post

      Hope this helps and thank you once again 🙂

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