Joining a gym can feel daunting.
If you’re taking the first steps on your fitness journey and the fear of entering a gym and not knowing what to do is holding you back, then you aren’t alone.
One in four women feel anxiety about going to the gym, and over 50% of people who don’t attend the gym find the idea of visiting one scary.
At Trojan Fitness, we welcome everyone into our gym, whether experienced or complete beginners.
And that’s why we’ve created this guide to help break down your gym anxiety and put your mind at ease that the gym isn’t quite as scary as you think.
Let’s take a look.
Breaking Down the Workout Myths
There are several myths about gyms that make people not want to visit, and frankly, a lot of them don’t bear true. Here are a few of them and the reasons the truth may be much different:
- Everyone is Really Fit – For beginners, it is easy to imagine standing out in the gym as the one person who is not at the peak of their fitness, but that’s not true. Gyms cater for all people. Sure, there will be people who are physically strong and fit, but there are also plenty of people who are just starting out and will be in a similar position as you.
- Everyone Will Watch You – This is really common amongst gym beginners. When working out, you don’t look your best. With a sweaty brow and flushed face, it’s easy to see why people would be put off doing this in public. What you must remember is that everyone is there to do their own thing, not watch other people work out, and chances are they won’t even notice you’re there.
- They’re Really Busy – Gyms do get busy, especially at peak times, but there are always ways to combat this. Firstly, if you can, try and find a time when it’s quieter, such as during the day or later in the evening. Secondly, try and avoid the popular areas when they’re busy and focus on something else until a slot for you opens up.
- The Equipment is Complicated – The thought of fiddling with equipment that you don’t know how to use can be frightening, but that’s why there is always help on hand. Whether it’s through your induction when each machine is discussed with you, or simply asking one of the trainers for help, you’ll soon get to grips with how everything works. Remember, there’s no shame in not knowing how to work something the first time.
- You Will Stand Out – Every fitness journey has to start somewhere, and whether you want to lose weight or build muscle, the fact that you’re in the gym and making a difference is all that matters, not where you are on your journey right now. As the weeks and months go by, you’re sure to see a real difference in how you feel about this, and the gym will feel like a second home.
Gym Routine for Beginners
What’s important when you start at a gym, is to form a routine.
This is important for a few reasons. Firstly, this will help you reach your goals. A strict routine (whether devised by yourself or a personal trainer) is the best way to stay on track as you complete your fitness journey.
Another reason a routine is great is that it can help to cut down on the anxiety you feel. The feeling of the unknown is something that can be off-putting for gym beginners, so walking into the gym knowing exactly what you are about to do and in what order can really help.
A key part of a gym routine for beginners is a warm-up. If your muscles aren’t yet used to the rigours of regular workouts, then suddenly jumping into it too fast can cause damage. Make sure you loosen up your muscles through stretching and some light aerobic exercises before getting to it.
Not only will this reduce the risk of injury, but it will also cut down the risk of cramps.
No one person is the same, and there is no set gym routine that works for everyone. What is important is that you work out your goals, and tailor your exercises to the ones that suit you best.
As you progress (and believe me you will) you may feel the need to alter your routine, maybe adding more reps, miles, or workouts, but to begin with, try and stick to it as best you can, even if you want to push it harder in the first few weeks.
Gym Workouts for Beginners
If you’re new to working out, you may not know what the best exercises are to fit into your routine. With that in mind, we’ve come up with some great ones to start your journey with.
Jogging on a Treadmill
This is a classic and for good reason.
Running on a treadmill is a great cardio exercise and is accessible for gym-goers of all levels.
If you’re new to fitness, there’s no shame in getting on a treadmill and spending thirty minutes walking. In fact, you can burn 120 calories doing this, making it a great beginners exercise.
The best thing about treadmills is that you can go at your own pace, whether that’s nine miles an hour, or three, as long as you’re moving and your heart rate is rising, then you’re on your way.
Chest Press Machine
Working in a gym, it is clear to see current trends in muscle building. At the moment, a really popular muscle to workout are the pecs. There are many exercises that build your chest muscles, but one of the best for beginners is the chest press.
This is because it’s nice and simple. All you have to do is set your weight, sit in the chair with a straight, rigid back (making sure the handles are in line with your pec muscles), and push outwards. Slowly bring the handles back to their resting place and go again.
It’s a great exercise to work on your upper body and one that is nice and easy to work your way up in.
So, we have covered some cardio with the treadmill and some upper body with the chest press, now it’s time to focus on the lower half of the body.
A great starter exercise is on the leg press machine.
To begin this workout, sit in the chair with your head and shoulder rested back on the seat. Place your feet flat against the board, and about the width of your shoulders apart. From this position, you push outwards, maintaining a straight back and flat feet.
This is a great beginner’s exercise as you can set the weight you want and it works most of the lower body muscles, including the quads, hamstrings, and the ever-popular glutes.
Gym Classes for Beginners
The above are all great exercises to perform alone, but there are plenty of benefits to working out in a group. At Trojan Fitness, we have a varied list of group classes that are suitable for everyone. Here’s a pick of three that are ideal for beginners.
This is regularly seen as the most popular group class, and there are plenty of reasons why.
It comes packed with benefits, both physical and mental, and is a low-intensity workout that can be enjoyed by anyone.
A yoga class consists of one trainer providing instructions for varying different positions. The emphasis isn’t always on breaking a sweat, but instead on stretching your body and slowing down your breathing.
There are different types of yoga available for people of varying levels, so if you’re a beginner, keep an eye out for a class that will suit you. This is a great way of meeting like-minded people due to its low-intensity nature and the feeling of camaraderie that this can provide.
Want to know more? Then check out our guide to yoga classes. And if you enjoy yoga, but want to focus on building your core a bit more, then why not think about Pilates?
While experience gym-goers may only focus on specific muscle groups each day, it is a bit different for gym beginners, who may benefit more from a full-body workout. If you’re looking to lose weight and build some muscle, then a HIIT class would be perfect for you.
This involves a trainer going through a high-intensity workout in which you will jump from exercise to exercise. Done without gym machines, this will take place in a studio and on mats. Exercises regularly include things like squats, jogging on the spot, and lunges.
We have a HIIT class guide here if you want to read more. After a while if you want something higher intensity, then why not try out circuit training instead?
Now we’re really upping the intensity.
If you are focused on burning calories and losing weight, then a spinning class is a tough, but rewarding class to join.
Following the trainer’s orders, you will be pushing yourself on a static bike as you go through periods of heavy pedalling followed by slower parts. While this may sound like a lot for a beginner, there are classes that go a bit easier.
Spinning provides a real adrenaline boost and the fact you are in a group who are all in it together can be a real boost in getting you through to the end. Once it’s completed, you can be sure you’ve burnt off plenty of calories (around 400 for a 45-minute class).
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, then we have another handy guide for you. Check out our spinning guide here.
What to Wear to the Gym
What to wear when going to the gym is a big question and can be a big cause of gym anxiety. So, here’s some quick tips on how best to prepare your wardrobe for a workout.
Firstly, pick the right shoes. Especially if you’re heading for the treadmill, the wrong pair of shoes can do much more harm than good.
Running shoes come in all shapes and sizes, so spend some time trying the different ones on in a shop and work out the best fit for you. You want to be comfortable when working out, so finding a pair that provides stability and a bit of cushioning, while still feeling breathable is vital.
Once you have the shoe, try and avoid thick socks that will stifle your feet. A good pair of lightweight exercise socks doesn’t cost a lot and can make a big difference.
When it comes to your clothing, try and wear things that are loose-fitting. You’re going to work up a sweat, so try and choose a breathable material such as cotton or polyester. Don’t wear clothes that restrict your movement as you will want freedom of movement when operating the machines and exercising.
A sports bra is another essential piece of kit that can provide vital support when working out.
When it comes to shorts, an elasticated waist is always a good choice. You’ll be bending and stretching a lot so make sure you have the flexibility to do so in your clothing choices.
And what else should you pack in your gym bag?
Here’s a quick run-through of some other gym essentials to carry with you.
- Exercise Tracker – There is some great technology now available to help you through your workouts, including fitness trackers that provide plenty of information on your performance and results.
- Towel – A sweat towel can be a great addition to your gym bags, especially on the cardio days when you’re going to be working up a sweat. It’s good practise to wipe down equipment after using it, so a towel can be really handy.
- Water bottle – Probably the most important thing to remember. No matter what form of workout you are doing, staying hydrated is a priority, so always keep a water bottle nearby.
- Items to get clean and change into – If you’re getting a shower and changing at the gym, don’t forget a clean pair of clothes and a towel. This is essential for people with limited time who may need to head straight to work after a workout. Other things to add are toiletries such as shampoo and deodorant.
- Food – Before and after a workout your body needs energy. A great way of providing this is through food. Try and keep things like energy bars or high protein snacks such as nuts handy just in case you need an extra burst.
Five Tips for Gym Beginners
If you’ve read this far, and you’ve decided to join your local gym, then here are some great tips on how to make the most of it.
Don’t Overdo It
For beginners, there may be an urge to go hard very quickly, so as not to look unfit to the other gymgoers.
This can be a big mistake as you will end up injuring yourself if you move forward too quickly. Go at your own pace and remember no-one is watching you. It’s not a competition. If you focus on your own goals, the results will come.
And when asking yourself how long should I workout at the gym, the answer is how long you feel is right. If you feel strong, maybe add a workout or two, if you feel tired, don’t be ashamed to skip a day to give your muscles the rest they need.
Have a Goal in Mind
We’ve mentioned setting yourself goals already, but it is so important that I feel it needs mentioning again.
When setting yourself a goal, it’s important to be realistic. If your aim is to lose a stone, then don’t set yourself the target of doing this in a week. It probably won’t happen and won’t be healthy even if it does.
Goals are all about having something to aim for, and as long as you are progressing towards it, no matter what pace you’re going at, you’re doing well.
If you’re unsure of realistic goals, speak to a personal trainer who can talk you through a realistic target and formulate a plan to get you there.
Speak to People
Small talk is an important thing at the gym.
When doing your induction, you may be with other gym beginners, so try and strike up a conversation. A friendly face when you enter the gym can be a big boost in cutting down your gym anxiety.
Also, don’t be shy in speaking to trainers. Knowing your way around the machines and how best to perform exercises with good form can make a huge difference to your workouts, so speak to someone who can help.
A gym is a great place to make friends, so don’t be backwards in coming forwards.
Join a Group Class
We spoke through some of the group classes that you can attend above and joining one of them is a great choice for a new gymgoer.
There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, they’re a great way to meet new people who share similar interests to you.
Secondly, a gym class offers a varied workout that is instructed to you. As a gym beginner, you may be unsure of what you really enjoy doing yet, so signing up for classes provides some real variation to your routine and who knows, you could stumble into your next new passion.
Find the Perfect Gym for You
If you are worried about going to the gym, doing a bit of research before signing up is a great idea.
Look at the gyms in your local area. Check out their social media profiles, the classes they offer, as well as their prices and equipment on offer.
All of this will help you find the gym that is perfect for you.
This will help ease your tension slightly as you will already be slightly familiar with the gym before you step in.
And if you live in Ruislip, Pinner, Uxbridge, Harrow, Northwood and other surround areas, maybe Trojan Fitness will be the one for you.
At Trojan Fitness, we welcome people of all fitness levels and can create tailor-made plans that suit you and your ability.
If you want to know more, why not check out our story or even better, pop down to our Northwood gym to see for yourself?
With plenty of fitness group classes, plus a state-of-the-art gym on offer, we have everything needed to ease your gym anxiety and find your new favourite spot to exercise.
Want to know more? Then get in touch today.
We look forward to hearing from you.