How to start working out in the gym

10 May 2022

So, you’ve decided you want to be more active and improve your fitness by joining a gym, but you’re a bit nervous and have no idea what to expect or how to start.

Our Slough gym, Bracknell gym and Langley gym teams have put together the following advice to help you prepare, from dealing with nerves to what weights to pick up first.

Absolutely Fitness’s tips on getting started at a gymIf you’ve never stepped foot in a gym before, they can seem quite daunting places, but like everything, once you have a routine you realise that the equipment is easy to use, everyone working out has the same goal – to improve and maintain fitness, and they can be really supportive and friendly places.

Every new member at a gym – including those who join Absolutely Fitness – will take part in an induction. Don’t skip this, as it will answer a lot of your questions. You’ll receive a tour of the facilities, be shown how to use equipment, and find out what you need to do when you arrive for a workout, ie, whether you need to sign in, log your car number plate, etc. These inductions really do help to deal with any gym anxiety you may have.

At Absolutely Fitness, members can join booster sessions, which take place every day and give advice about how to use our app and equipment, and allow you to ask questions. However, our members don’t have to wait for a booster session if they need advice; our fitness gurus are an extremely friendly bunch and do everything they can to make new members feel welcome and comfortable and are always available to help you reach your fitness goals.

To help our members feel comfortable working out, we have specialist ladies only areas our Slough gym and our Bracknell gym.

Overall, you want to feel comfortable. There is a lot of specialist workout clothing on the market, but when you’re just starting out, you only really need leggings, tracksuit bottoms, or shorts and a lightweight t-shirt. Trainers are a must, and whilst there are specific gym shoes for different types of workouts, such as cross fit trainers and weightlifting shoes, start with a decent pair of trainers that fit your feet correctly and offer some support. It’s also essential to invest in a good quality sports bra if you need one.

As your fitness journey progresses, you may want to invest in new clothing.

Your gym will be full of equipment that can work every type of muscle. At our gyms we have state-of-the-art machines from industry-leading brand Technogym.

During your gym induction you will be shown how to use the machines, but if you’re unsure please ask. Using a piece of equipment incorrectly can cause damage to the apparatus and yourself.

Depending on what you want to achieve will determine the type of machines and equipment you use:

If you’re looking to lose weight or improve your fitness, head straight for the cardio machines.

Exercise bike
Cross trainer
Rowing machine
Looking to tone muscles or build strength? The resistance and free weight areas are for you.

Resistance machines
Cable machine
If you want to improve your endurance, motion and balance, the functional training zone is ideal.

Suspension straps
Expert advice from Absolutely Fitness about working out at a gymMake sure you warm-up before starting any form of exercise. Gym anxiety can mean you just want to get started and jump straight on that treadmill, but it would be a massive mistake. A warm-up helps loosen your muscles and reduces the risk of injury – everyone needs to warm up, so don’t feel nervous. Include exercises that gently stretch your muscles, such as lunges, squats, and push-ups.
Free weights, such as dumbbells, can be heavier than they look and you can cause muscle injuries by grabbing the first weight you see! Start by using the lighter weights and work your way up – if using a barbell, this can simply be starting with the bar without any weights.
Don’t overestimate your abilities by doing too much. Begin by working at a lower intensity and gradually increase the amount of exercise you do. It will be better to do this than throw yourself in, injure yourself on your first visit, and have to rest up for a few weeks.
When you exercise, you will sweat meaning you will lose body fluid. It’s important to drink water so you don’t become dehydrated. Drinking before, after and during a workout can help to boost your energy and avoid cramp.
Put weights back after use, and don’t drop them
Wipe down a piece of equipment after use
Don’t hog a machine or piece of equipment – 20 minutes is a good amount of time
Be patient if the piece of equipment you want to use is being used by someone else
Keep the music to yourself – whether you are listening to music or a podcast, use headphones/earpods
If you’re looking to kick-start a fitness programme or join a new gym, the teams at our Slough gym, Bracknell gym and Langley gym will be happy to show you around, just click book a tour.