Top 4 worries for gym beginners sorted

You’ve taken control of your health and wellbeing and joined the gym, so why the worry? Senior Wellbeing Personal Trainer, Graham Morland, tackles first-time gym-goer anxieties head on.

For many people, stepping onto a gym floor is as scary as the first day of school. But however out of place you feel when starting out in the gym, be assured that you're not alone.

Let’s help you put some of those worries to one side so you can focus on your workout.

"I don’t know how anything works"

It might seem like everyone else knows what they're doing, but they all had to start somewhere.

From your first visit to pick up your membership card, you can organise a gym induction. This is run by a qualified member of the fitness team, who'll take you through everything you need to know about the gym, including how to use the equipment and machines.

Ask us anything – there’s no such thing as a stupid question – and remember that we're happy to answer your questions at any time.

"I look silly"

There really is no such thing as ‘looking the part’ at the gym. If you’re not sure what kit you'll need to bring, check out our pointers on what to wear to work out.

Bear in mind that people from all backgrounds, and of all shapes and sizes use the gym. Everyone will have different goals and abilities, so comparing how you look, or what you’re doing, to others won’t get you anywhere.

Remember: everyone sweats and everyone’s body jiggles about to a certain extent – it means you’re working hard.

"I’m not fit or good enough to be here"

Everyone is welcome in the gym. It doesn’t make a difference whether you’re training for a marathon, recovering from injury, or you’ve never done a sit-up in your life.

If you’ve joined the gym to make changes or learn something new, then walking through the front door is the most important step. And you have every right to be on the gym floor, in an exercise class, or using the pool, no matter what you look like or what you're capable of.

To get started, we suggest you try a little of everything, even if you don't think it's 'for you'. You never know, you might find you have a flair for Zumba, a passion for indoor cycling, or that you feel stronger by using the weight machines.

"I don’t know what I’m doing"

This is one of the most common concerns people have. It’s easy to have good intentions, but translating those into results can be tricky if you don’t know the ropes. Understanding how best to work out for your goals and your body is key to confidence.

Why not choose and follow a guided workout? Lots of people print off or write down their workout routine, so it's perfectly normal to carry a prompt sheet with you while you workout, or look at it on your phone.

If you need a bit of support, attending a class with a friend is a great idea as it can keep you motivated. If you and your friend use the gym floor, don't just copy what they do, make sure you do exercises that suit you.

You could even book some sessions with one of our personal trainers. Whether it’s managing pain, training for an event, or simply feeling more confident in the gym, they can help. If you have a better understanding of what to do, how and why, you have the power to make changes for life.

Wondering what to expect when you visit our gyms? Take our virtual club tour.

Last updated Tuesday 2 January 2024

First published on Thursday 11 May 2017