Getting Started in the Gym

Walking through the door

So you have made the decision, whether it’s January 1 or it’s just “THAT” time.  You have made up your mind, you got a membership, and you’re ready.  You get dressed you grab your bag and you repeat to yourself “I am getting started in the gym today, and I am sticking with it!”  So you head off, one foot in front of the other.

You get there, you see the front doors of the gym and then it hits you, where do I start? What do I do?  People are all around you, they’re doing exercises you have never seen they’re using machines that look like torture devices and so you ask the question again where do I start?


Well here is the good news. I’ve made a guideline to help get you started.  Of course, the best thing someone can do is to go into it with a personal trainer who can target specific needs you may want or have and build a program specifically for you. But, that’s not always an option or maybe you just can’t afford a trainer, so this guide will help you get started.  This will help get you through those doors and moving in the right direction.


The Basics

The very first thing you want to do is to make a personal goal for yourself. Find the reason you are in there. Whether it be to lose weight, gain muscle, get healthy, medical reasons, or physical therapy find your goal and the reason your there then write it down. Do a little research before you start. Look up the exercises in this article and watch videos on them so you’re doing them with proper form and GO SLOW! You’re just beginning and you’re here to go through the motions and get a feel for it so you don’t injure yourself. Don’t feel embarrassed, trust me, we all had to start somewhere.  Now lets get started


Warm Up:

You always need to warm up. Your body needs to start off slow and get the blood flowing.  I always suggest 4 minutes minimum of stretching and then move on to a 5 to 6 minute session of jogging or walking to get warmed up. Then its time to get started.

Strength Training:

This is the bread and butter. This is why you’re here, this is where the magic happens. There are so many forms of this and over time we will explore them all but for today its just about keeping it simple and learning.

Ladies don’t worry, this is just as important for you as it is for the men. I promise you will not get big and bulky! Muscle burns fat, muscle is your friend.  And unless you are taking hormones to increase your muscle mass there’s no way for you to “get big like a man”.

Your goal is to do one lift per major muscle group. Later as you progress and move up in your training this can become much more fine tuned but for now we are just getting into the routine and getting going.  You want to get your body used to this.


We want to do legs, arms, back, chest and an exercise for your core (your midsection) as these are the major muscle groups.

We hit these with one exercise per muscle group. Examples would be.

  • Arms: dumbbell curls
  • Back: Lat pull downs
  • Leg: Leg press
  • Chest: Bench press
  • Core: Planks





The Cool Down:

I suggest some stretching again and a light bike ride or walk at the end to cool down. 5-7 minutes should be your goal.


You just completed your first workout, congratulations you just took a step forward.  Now you write down what you did and how long you did it.  Make a good record of what you do so you can keep track and watch your progress. This is really important because the inevitable will happen you’ll lose motivation or you’ll seem to stop seeing results. It happens to every person  at some point no matter what. Those are the moments when you have to make another choice. You have to choose to push through and continue forward for yourself.  For whatever reason you are in here and you have decided to start this journey.  It’s in these moments this record will give you something to look back at to see how far you have come.  To see your progress and remember your goals.  Keep updating this, keep a log book so you can see the progress, because it may be small at times but you will make progress if you stick with it!


Now you need a day of rest.  You’re going to be sore tomorrow, so take it slow.  Do some stretching and go on a walk to get the blood flowing.  Your rest days are the days your muscles repair and build. These days are just as important as the workout days themselves.  So keep in mind that even when your resting your body is moving forward towards your goals.  Don’t get into the mindset of these days mean nothing because they are so important!


One thing I want to say is, I am here for you.  I want to help you take it to the next level.  I was where you are right now, the beginner not knowing what to do. Once you get started on this journey, if you decide you want to take it to the next level and want to get detailed workout plans specifically tailored to your needs and your body, email me.   I would be happy to talk to you about our one on one tailored programs and personal coaching plans.


So glad to see you getting started and cant wait to share this journey with you!


God bless





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  1. Thank for this post Nate. I have an on-off relationship with the gym where I don’t go for ages then try to catch up for all that missed time. Your advice is very supportive. I will definitely try out your strength training suggestions with the goal of one exercise per muscle group.

    1. Hi Abigail this is something we all go through, even the most dedicated of us have gone through times where something has gotten in the way of being able to get in the gym and stay in there and before you know it a whole season passes right on by. If you ever need help with motivation or questions regarding what to do, sometimes it only takes the right program to lite that fire and keep it lit to be the difference in getting in there and staying in there causing you to fall in love with it and not letting anything get in the way of staying in the gym.

  2. Hi Nate,

    Thanks for the information on getting started in the gym
    Getting the blood moving, before starting, is good advice and will help in preventing injuries. I see lots of beginners starting out and not warming up. This can lead to an injury that could have been avoided, if they had warmed up properly.

    Can you also warmup for weight lifting using lite weights?

    1. Thanks for your comment Bob yes making sure to get the blood flowing and warming up is so important in preventing injuries and taking care of your body. To answer your question you bet you can use light weights as a warmup I would still suggest doing a very simple light stretching routine before any weightlifting though.

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