What to do for your first session in the gym?


I love this question, the tough part of anything is getting started but once you do, you’ll feel so much better for it, and you’ll be able to find your own way easier than you think. I’m going to break this down into 5 steps first and then talk about what exercises to do.

5 Starting Steps

Step 1 clear your head of any preconceived thoughts you have about the gym and don’t treat the first session as a “proper workout” it’s just to dip your toe in the water. This will make it much less scary.

Step 2 and this might not be for everyone so if you tend to be more introvert feel free to skip this step, it’s saying hello to the gym staff and doesn’t need to be much more than that. You’ll probably find they’re usually quite a friendly bunch of people and they like talking about gym stuff so more often than not they’ll be happy to help. Once you’ve said hello you’ll feel much better about asking for assistance later on.

Step 3 explore, go around the gym, read the guides on the machines, set them to a low intensity and have a go. You might find out you enjoy something more than you thought, you might learn more about the body and discover that gym equipment can be a lot of fun!

Step 4 if you’re comfortable with certain bits of equipment test yourself on them. Push it just a little bit to get an idea of your strength and fitness levels. Only do a few then pop a note in your phone or a little notebook of the weights/speed/intensity you used, and this can be your very first record. You’ll beat it easily next time you try as you’re just testing the water today and beating this record will make you feel great next time, you’re in with more confidence.

Step 5 think about your goals and how you can use the gym to work towards them. Don’t worry if you haven’t broken a sweat or if you’ve only been in the gym 20 minutes, that’s plenty for a first session. Again, this part is optional but if any gym staff are available on your way out maybe ask them what they’d recommend to help you towards your goals. When you get home, you’ll have plenty to think about will likely be excited to try some things out on your next gym session.

First Exercises

The exercises themselves aren’t important just yet but moving your body in different ways is. I’ve picked a selection of exercises to make sure you’ve got variety and balance in your first session. Try and tick these off in your first session to get an idea of your strengths and weaknesses:

  • Lower body cardio exercise like the Crosstrainer or treadmill
  • Upper body exercise like the arm bike or rowing machine
  • Lower body weights exercise leg press or leg extension
  • Upper body weights exercise dumbbell row or shoulder press machine
  • A bodyweight exercise like push ups or sit ups because let’s face it not many people actually do these at home

Enjoy your first gym workout and I hope this helps!