How To Start At The Gym For Beginners
Share Post :

How to start at the gym for beginners: Tips & Etiquettes

If you’re new to getting in shape and want to start at the gym, this article is for you.

First of all, this post is not about exercise, but about where and how to start at the gym for beginners.
The thought of starting a gym as a beginner might stir crazy emotions; being excited and intimidated by joining the gym as a beginner is normal. But the truth is, everyone starts somewhere and many fitness experts have gone through the same experience as you!
Going to the gym for the first time has its own challenges. You may feel lost, and insecure—totally startled by the unfamiliar equipment and strange faces. But don’t worry!
In this guide, we cover all the basics of the gym and the things you need to know as a first-time gym member. Our expert tips will definitely make your first day at the gym a positive and empowering experience.
Let’s begin!

Ask For A Free Orientation Before Subscribing:

Before getting into the basics of gym for beginners, why not maximize your experience as a beginner by joining FREE orientation classes?

Many established gyms offer FREE consultations with the staff and personal trainers. These orientation classes help you understand how to use cardio machines and other equipment properly.

You can also learn about different workout programs, including group classes, weight loss training, cardio training, etc.

At All Time Fitness, you can request FREE workout sessions with a certified trainer based on your fitness goals. Our licensed trainers will guide you on a transformative fitness and well-being journey.

Curious about the membership cost? Want to test out our tailored services before subscribing?

Claim your FREE workout sessions today!

first time at the gym

Take A Health Assessment Before Joining

After an initial consultation, your personal trainer recommends getting a physical assessment. This is necessary to gauge your fitness level and mobility for a tailored plan.

The basic health assessment during the signup process includes:

  1. Blood pressure measurements to make sure your heart can handle all the exertion during workouts.
  2. BMI calculation to provide a general idea of your overall body composition.
  3. Heart and lung checkups to ensure optimal respiratory and cardiovascular conditions

If you have underlying health conditions, your trainer or doctor would suggest other health assessments.

Before Visiting

Imagine this:

You walk into the gym for the first time without knowing what to do, what to wear, who to ask for help, and how to use the equipment. How intimidating!

In this section, we’ll uncover everything you need—from your clothing to your shoes and other gym essentials, for a smooth and successful gym experience.

What To Wear

Your attire should be comfortable and breathable. For example, wearing polyester and moisture-wicking gym wear, including T-shirts and socks. As for pants or trousers, you can go for athletic shorts or trousers, which allow for a full range of motion.

When it comes to fit, choose gym wear that is neither too tight nor too loose for easy movement.

Furthermore, go easy on the essentials. A light tank top or t-shirt, comfortable jeggings or leggings, and a breathable sports bra is all you need to get started for the gym as a beginner.

Expert trainers recommend getting shoes with a flat heavy sole to keep a strong base while squatting and deadlifting.

Trainer’s Tip: Avoid wearing cotton because it absorbs sweat and feels heavy.

how to get into the gym

What To Take With You To The Gym

You don’t just wear your gym wear and go to the gym. There are a few important things you need to take with you to the gym.

  1. While many gyms offer lockers to secure your belongings, it’s a good idea to bring your own lock and key.
  2. Take a water bottle with you. While working out, the most important thing is to stay hydrated.
  3. Buy excellent gym shoes designed for comfort and your chosen workout style.
  4. Get quick-dry gym towels to wipe away sweat and prevent slipping on equipment.
  5. Always carry travel-sized toiletries, including a shampoo and conditioner for post-workout showers.
  6. Put a protein bar or any healthy snack in your gym back to give yourself a quick boost of energy.
what to do first time at the gym

The Best Time To Visit

The perfect time to visit your gym depends on many factors, including the nature of your job, lifestyle, and personal preferences.

Typically, gyms are less crowded in the early morning. If you’re a morning person, you can take advantage of morning hours and avoid waiting for equipment or free weights.

However, if you have traditional office hours, you can easily de-stress yourself with an after-work workout session. But be aware that gyms are mostly crowded during this time and you might have to wait for equipment and machines.

Why Should You Avoid Peak Hours?

Nobody likes to work out under pressure. Crowded gyms mean waiting for equipment, feeling rushed, and working out in a busy environment.

Moreover, the ideal time for the gym depends on your work schedule and unique lifestyle. We recommend experimenting with different times as a beginner to see what suits your needs.

Trainer’s Tip: Always ask the staff about their typical crowd flow.

At The Time Of Visiting

Now you’ve geared up for the first day of your gym session, it’s time to uncover what to do at the time of visiting the gym on the first day.

It’s Best To Get Help From A Trainer

Many fitness experts recommend hiring a certified trainer as a beginner. Personal trainers are licensed professionals who build your personalized workout plans as per your fitness goals.

They also identify the roadblocks in your fitness journey and keep you motivated throughout. Furthermore, they create a friendly, harmonious environment in the gym that feels less intimidating and boosts your confidence. Whether you’re concerned about the age limit for starting gym workouts or looking for guidance, they ensure everyone feels welcome and supported.

Note: If your budget doesn’t allow hiring a personal trainer, we offer FREE workout sessions with expert trainers. You can learn proper form from the introductory classes and get a personalized plan you can follow independently.

Ask About The Gym Machines

As a beginner, entering the gym loaded with unfamiliar equipment can be daunting. This is where your gym staff and personal trainers come in handy.

Some common types of machines you’ll encounter at the gym are:

  1. Resistance machines that isolate and strengthen various muscle groups. Your personal trainer will show you the proper adjustment, fit, and weight for your resistance machine based on your needs.
  2. Cardio machines improve your heart rate and health, burn calories, and provide a perfect warm-up for your workout. Some cardio training machines include treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes. Your trainer will educate you about the right equipment based on your fitness goals and needs.
  3. Bodyweight and suspension exercises offer a variety of versatile body movements. Your trainer will introduce you to exercises, such as squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks. They will also show you how to use suspension trainers for a wide range of dynamic exercises.
where to start at the gym

Ask About What Free Weights To Use As A Beginner

As a beginner, you should always ask your trainer about the type of free weights suitable for you and your fitness goals.

Unlike machines and other equipment, free weights offer a wide range of motion to target different muscle groups.

Some of the free weights your trainer may recommend are:

  1. Dumbbells are a great starting point for beginners. They target any muscle group.
  2. Kettlebells are also recommended as a beginner-friendly free weight by trainers to build strength and improve muscle coordination.
  3. Bodyweight exercises under your trainer’s supervision are the best beginner-friendly free weights to build strength before moving forward with heavier weights.

Which Free Weights You Should Never Use As A Beginner?

There are certain free weights you need to avoid as a beginner even under your trainer’s guidance. That’s because these weights need a strong foundation and proper form that can only be achieved with beginner-friendly weights.

  1. Olympic barbells are excellent tools for complex lifts, such as squats and deadlifts. However, you should master lightweight exercises and build proper form under your trainer’s guidance before trying out Olympic barbells.
  2. Plate-loaded machines provide more freedom of movement that can be challenging for beginners

Perform A Warm-Up Session

Just like you warm up your car engine before starting, your body is no different!
Your body at rest has cold and stiff muscles. If you jump straight into your intense workout sessions, you will be at risk of injury and muscle soreness.
Therefore, it is crucial to perform a warm-up session before starting your workout because it prepares your body for exercise.
Based on your fitness goals and preferences, your trainer will personalize the warm-up for you. Typically, here’s what a normal warm-up session looks like:

  1. Dedicate 2 to 3 minutes to light cardio to increase your heart rate and raise your body temperature. A simple brisk walk or jog on the treadmill is ideal for light cardio.
  2. Perform dynamic stretches for 7 minutes that involve controlled body movements. For example, leg swings, lunges with torso twists, high knees, etc.
  3. Target your upper body, lower body, and core with dynamic stretches for more control.

If you feel the warm-up is too basic for you and your body can handle more, feel free to ask your trainer for modifications!

Note: Every warm-up session differs from individual to individual based on their chosen workout and fitness level.

Have A Beginner Workout Plan Ready With You

Before hitting the gym, it’s important to prepare a beginner workout plan to understand what to expect for the first time at the gym.

It is crucial because planning workouts ahead of time provides direction and focus and boosts confidence.

Furthermore, proper workout planning also allows you to dedicate more time to easy workouts and less time wandering aimlessly on the gym floor and wasting time.

Benefits Of Having A Workout Plan

Beginners going to the gym for the first time may feel lost and waste time learning new techniques in the gym.

A beginner-friendly workout plan gives you the complete direction and helps you structure your workouts effectively. It also prevents the risk of injury and provides better fitness results over time.

What Should Be In The Beginners Workout Plan

A beginners’ workout plan is easy, targeted, and doable, even for complete noobs.

Here’s what a beginner workout plan should look like:

  1. Warm-up sessions to prepare your body for strength training. This includes cardio, cycling, and dynamic stretching.
  2. Strength training to target different muscle groups through squats, lunges, push-ups, and plank. We recommend 3 sets of 12 reps per session for beginners.
  3. Static stretches cool down your body, improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.

Avoid Doing Heavy Workouts On Your First Day

A personal trainer would never allow you to try heavy workouts on your first day. And therefore, you shouldn’t as well.

We always recommend starting with light weights and focusing on proper form. Once your form is achieved, you can try increasing the weights gradually.

Also, stick with a regular workout routine in your first month of joining the gym. Low-intensity workouts when done consistently reap great results.

Note: Your personal trainer may increase the intensity of your workout based on your performance and stamina.

After Your Visit

After your first visit to the gym, your body may feel sore, fatigued, and exhausted. Don’t let these things stop you from transforming your physical well-being.

Here are a few things you should do after your first visit to the gym.

Take A Good Rest

After a workout, your energy levels may feel down. That’s because your body needs time to adapt to the new demands.

Therefore, taking proper rest after your gym is the best thing to do. Rest allows your body to repair muscle tears and minimizes muscle soreness. In general, proper rest lets your body perform better in your future workouts with improved performance.

How Much Rest Do You Need?

Everybody reacts differently to different workout plans. However, according to Healthline, the recommended time for muscle recovery is 48 hours of rest between workouts. Especially for those who target the same muscle groups.

Eat A Good Meal

Eating a balanced diet after your workout sessions is essential for optimal performance and better muscle recovery.

Here’s what a balanced diet looks like:

  1. Take around 30 grams of protein after 30 minutes of your workout session. For example, lean meat, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, and lentils.
  2. Complex carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are essential to provide quick energy to your muscles.
  3. Drink plenty of water to make up for the lost fluids through sweat in the gym.

Best Things to do After a Workout a video guide

Expert Tips For Beginners At The Gym

Start With A Plan

Experts, including Dan John, recommend starting with a workout plan because they teach you how to lift, start you off with the most suitable exercises, and give you results you can track.

Workout plans also give you strength and a base of muscular growth.

Warm-Up Properly And Start Slow

As mentioned earlier, warm up before any workout session—be it beginner, intermediate, and advanced is crucial. It prepares your body for exercise and helps prevent the risk of injury.

For beginners, experts suggest starting slow with low-intensity workouts to avoid burnout or injury.

Don’t Do More Than You Can

Listen to your body and don’t push yourself to the point of pain. Allow rests between the workouts and take your days off when necessary.

Weight loss and weight management is a proper journey. Not a marathon. It’s crucial to follow a sustainable weight loss workout routine that fits your fitness level and goals.

Avoid Copying Others To Impress Them

Avoid copying others and comparing yourself to others. One of the best tips to stay motivated is to compare yourself to your past self.

Stay Hydrated And Eat Well

A balanced diet and nutrition are the key to staying fit long-term. Take a balanced diet rich in proteins, carbs, and good fats for enhanced performance and long-term results.

Get Enough Rest And Sleep Well

Get enough rest between the workouts and don’t stress your body out. Sleep at least 8 hours every night consistently to reap better results.

Be Consistent and Motivated

Consistency is the key to achieving any goal. However, it’s the most challenging to be consistent in everything you do. Have a better diet and sleep consistently to constantly see great results from your workouts.

Etiquette to Remember for Gym Beginners

Wipe Out After Using The Machines

Always clean up after yourself and wipe sweat off things. For example, weights, free weights, machines, etc.

first time at gym

Put The Free Weights In Their Own Place After Using

After using the free weights, put them back in their place so people have no difficulty in using the weights.

Keep Your Phone On Silent

The gym is a place to focus on your workout. Silence your phone to avoid distractions for yourself and others. Check out the phone during the breaks if needed.

Accept Help When Offered

If you need help, ask for it. The gym staff is always happy to help customers in need. You can also ask members for help if they’re not in the middle of their workout. Moreover, accept help when offered without taking it personally.

Don’t Stare Or Hit On People At The Gym

No one in the gym cares about what you look like, how much you weigh, and what exercises you are performing.

People come to the gym to achieve their end goals and you should do the same.

Avoid staring or hitting on people at the gym and be considerate.

Don’t Be There If You Aren’t Going To Exercise

Observe the room and see how people wait for machines to be ready. If you don’t aim to exercise, avoid occupying the space and leave the gym instantly.

Be Nice To The Gym Staff

Gym staff are assigned for your help. Be respectful and treat them with kindness. If they call you out on something, it’s their job. Therefore, don’t get personal and rude to them.

How To Build The Routine Of Going To The Gym

Setting up a routine of going to the gym might feel exhausting and overwhelming. But trust us—it’s the best thing you can do in your weight loss and weight management journey.

We cannot recommend any specific routine for going to the gym. However, here are some actionable tips you can follow to set up your own routine that fits your needs.

  1. Efforts and consistency in weight training and eating as per your goals will take you a long way.
  2. Willingly try things and different routines to see what works the best for you.
  3. Set a routine as per your requirements and goals. This may be in session time, number of days per week, and schedule layout; Monday through Friday.

Our expert trainers suggest sticking to a routine built around fewer days each week gets much better results than regularly missing days or cutting your workouts short.

Get Fit With All Time Fitness In Calgary

If you’re a beginner trying to navigate through your fitness journey in Calgary, sign up with All Time Fitness. We have a group of seasoned and accomplished coaches who lead through example and provide exclusive sessions to all clients.

All Time Fitness offers cardio training, weight lifting, and weight loss transformation along with customized diet plans designed by registered dieticians to fuel your workouts.

Whether you choose our beginner, intermediate, or advanced plan, our personal trainers dedicate their time and effort to your journey equally and help you achieve peak fitness.

Schedule a FREE consultation with our expert trainers today!

Now You Know How To Start At The Gym As A Beginner

Starting gym as a beginner might feel intimidating today, but it’s one step towards a better and more robust tomorrow.

To achieve the best results, it’s important to plan your approach effectively and stick to the plan for at least 6 months to notice visible changes. Warm up daily to prepare your body for the upcoming physical challenges. Also, take a balanced diet and hydrate your body, so it moves seamlessly.

Don’t forget to start slow and steady!

Always begin with lighter weights and low-intensity workouts to avoid burnout and potential injuries. You can gradually increase difficulty as you get more robust.

Above all, avoid copying others and focus on yourself. To get the most out of your workout sessions and diet plans, hire a personal trainer to ensure proper form and boost confidence.

All Time Fitness aims to revolutionize your fitness journey with seasoned and licensed personal trainers who offer one-on-one training for cardio, bodybuilding, and cycling tailored to your fitness goals and needs.


Should I Eat Before Or After A Workout?

Ideally, you should eat small, easily digestible meals at least 40 minutes before your workout.

How Many Hours Should A Beginner Go To The Gym?

It is recommended for beginners to attend two to three sessions a week lasting for 45 minutes.

How Long Does It Take To Get In Shape?

It can take up to 3 to 4 months to notice visible physical changes. Patience and consistency along with focusing on a healthy lifestyle are essential for long-term results.

Is The First Day At The Gym Awkward?

Yes, it can get a little overwhelming at the start. However, everyone starts somewhere. Don’t be intimidated on your first gym visit and ask staff for help when needed. The more you go to the gym, the more comfortable you’ll feel.