Starting Out at The Gym - Advice for Beginners

Starting Out at the Gym - Advice to Maximize Results

The gym can be quite a daunting prospect if you’ve never been before. But there’s no need for it to be. Once you get in there you realize everyone is focused on themselves. They’re too busy flexing their triceps in the mirror to be looking at you.

In this article we’ll help you build your confidence when it comes to the gym and tell you how to get into the swing of things. We’ll also teach you how to make the most of those “newbie gains”.

Watch Youtube Videos

A great starting point is Youtube. You can learn the best exercises to perform for each body part and you’ll start to create a plan of how you’re going to train. Watch videos and study the correct technique when performing different exercises. Once you have a basic understanding of the correct form start to visualize yourself performing these movements in your head. This will make it easier when you go for your first gym session. Even practice some of the movements at home. 

Learn exercises on Youtube

Change Your Perception

You need to realize that all eyes are not on you in the gym. The majority of the time everyone in there is focused on themselves. They are concentrating on their own session. In between sets they are thinking things like “how many sets have I got left?”, “what weight did I do last week?” or “how much protein powder have I got left in the cupboard?”. Their focus is not on you. Once you realize this you begin to feel more comfortable in the gym. The more times you go, the more confidence you’ll build. Listen to some music through your earphones that boosts your confidence.

Talk to a PT

PTs are usually extroverts and like a chat. If you aren’t quite certain on your form or how to perform an exercise, politely ask them to show you the correct way. They’ll have no problem in showing you different techniques.

Get a couple of PT Sessions

Sometimes it’s wise to book two or three PT sessions to get into the swing of things. This way you build a foundation of knowledge on how to perform different exercises. The fact that you know you’re performing exercises correctly and safely instantly boosts your confidence in the gym.

Get a couple of PT sessions

Sack Off the PT

Heartless? Maybe, but necessary. After your introductory gym sessions you should go it alone. The problem with having a personal trainer is that you become reliant on them. You may rely on them to motivate you or make sure you turn up to the gym. You need to provide your own motivation and discipline if you are to make going to the gym sustainable. It’s important that it becomes a part of your lifestyle rather than just a fad. The physical and mental benefits provided by resistance training are incredible and exercise should be performed throughout the majority of your life.

Just be upfront with the Personal Trainer when you are enquiring about sessions and tell them that you just want a few sessions to learn how to do different exercises. 

Newbie Gains

Newbie gains are real. If you don’t believe me, look at this study. It shows that people who had never trained before gained over five times more strength than experienced lifters over a 21-week period. You can make serious gains when it comes to building muscle and losing body fat when you are new to the gym. So, make the most of your first 6 months.

Newbie Gains

How do we make the biggest gains as a new gym-goer?

Train with Intensity

The most important thing is training with intensity. We have a full article on it here. In summary, we must train with as much intensity of effort as possible. Once we are comfortable with the exercises and the form it’s time to take it up a gear. Increase the weights and do each set to failure. This means selecting a weight where you can perform 6-10 reps without being able to do a single rep more.

Progressive Overload

Progressive overload links into intensity. We make progress by increasing the amount of reps we perform then by increasing the weight. So, select a weight where you can do 6 repetitions without being able to do anymore. Say you are doing the hack squat machine for legs and glutes. Next time you do this exercise aim for 7 reps. Then 8 reps the next session. Once you reach 10 reps increase the weight slightly. Then repeat the cycle again until you can do even more weight. This is progressive overload and how you will increase strength and build muscle and improve the aesthetics of your physique.


What you eat is equally as important as the training. Eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, good fats, and fibre. Put emphasis on the protein as this helps to maintain and build muscle. Aim for 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.

If you are wanting to build muscle – eat in a slight calorie surplus. If you want to build muscle and lose body fat eat in a slight calorie deficit.

A calorie surplus is eating more calories than you expend in a day. If you’re body needs 2,000 calories to maintain its current weight you’d eat up to 500 more calories than that per day to build muscle.

A deficit is eating under your maintenance calories. Eating 100-200 calories under your maintenance amount of 2,000 for example would be safe and sustainable for a long period of time. This would help you recomposition your body and build muscle (as long as protein intake is high) while lowering your body fat percentage.


Recovery is also very important. The exercise initiates muscle growth, while it’s the food and rest that help the muscles to grow back bigger. Sleep and rest are paramount in this. If you’re focused on building muscle 3-4 sessions per week is the sweet spot. Make sure you are getting adequate rest days. Training 5-7 days can cause overtraining which actually has negative impacts on the body and muscle growth. Rest and recovery are key.

We cover exercise, diet, cardio, mental health, self-growth, spirituality, finding your soul purpose and much more in our Transform Your Life Guide (coming soon)

If you want a taster - our Improve Your Mindset Guide is a great start.

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