Getting started is hard. Whether you’re doing something for the first time or starting up again after a break, taking the first step is difficult. You’ve all been there at some stage, correct?

First step

My first foray into the gym was prompted by personal humiliation. I was skinny and unhealthy adult, and a friend held a mirror up to me and I didn’t like it.  Pain caused me to take my first step.

And my virgin experience in the gym was confusing one. What’s the rack with the barbell on it? What are all those machines? Why is that guy making faces only a mother could love?

The only exercise I knew how to do was biceps curls. Doesn’t everybody work on the gun show?

Ahhh, if I only knew then what I know now.

But let me make your first step easier. After reading this you’ll be armed with the knowledge to take on the world gym and you’ll be crushing it in no time.

1. Pick an exercise and get started

You’ll be dazzled by all the machines and fancy equipment there. It’s hard not to. And with so many to choose from this has the potential to create a lot of confusion.  All that indecision may lead you to walking on the treadmill and watching Oprah re runs.

Boring, please don’t do that.

Instead it’s best to start with the fundamentals, which are

Click on the links above and choose one which suits you best and then work on mastering it.

2. Go slow

Do I need to rehash the story of the tortoise and the hare? The same applies to the exercise. There’s no need to hurry because when you do you’re more likely to make mistakes and get hurt and you don’t want that.

The hare

There’s always plenty of time for biceps curls.

3. Put some skin in the game

When you invest in yourself you’re less likely to back out and revert to your old habits. This could involve

  • A good pair of training shoes
  • Workout clothes. When you look good you feel good
  • Hiring a trainer for a few sessions
  • Basic equipment when you cannot make it to the gym
  • Training with a friend to make each other accountable

This helps you stay on the straight and narrow when you’re first starting out and then you’ll be less likely to throw in the towel.  The only towel you want to throw away is the sweaty one from your training.

4. Try a group exercise class

Not only is their strength in numbers (misery loves company) but the group exercise environment is place where you can learn movements, exercises and techniques that can hold you in good stead when you venture out to the gym floor.

And coming in before or staying after class, you can ask questions of the group ex instructor that can help further your knowledge, so you can feel more confident in the weight room.

If all else fails, you can hide up the back and burn a few calories.

5. Don’t worry about others think of you, worry about you.

What you’ll notice at the gym is people looking at their phones, watching TV or staring at themselves while doing biceps curls. They’re totally focused on themselves and not you.

Nobody cares whether you’re carrying a few extra pounds, or you’re dressed for an 80’s video clip. You’re way harder on yourself than any of those other people who don’t know you, so understand this and get to work.


If this little pep talk didn’t help, bringing a friend to help support you will help in easing your anxiety. And when they do look up from their phones, they will see how awesome you are.

6. Find your why (do this before anything else)

Around 10 years ago I took a good hard look at myself and this is what I came up with:

  • I like to work out
  • I like to tell people what to do (dangerous territory when you’re married)
  • I like to write exercise programs
  • I love coffee
  • I want to keep getting better
  • I want to keep up with my kids

Once I combined these ingredients I could see this was a recipe for a career in the fitness industry.  My passion is lifting weights, getting better and helping people to become better.

Wearing tracksuits pants is the icing on the cake.

However, your why is different from mine . You may want to fit in your favorite dress. You may want to be a better role model for your loved ones.

You decide that you don’t like the person you see in the mirror. Whatever it is, dig down and find it because this helps you when times get tough.

7. Schedule your exercise

Schedule your exercise in your calendar app, like you would any important appointment. Then you’re less likely to skip and this keeps exercise as a priority. And remember this is your time and not anyone else’s.

8. Bring your own music

 Bringing your own music doesn’t mean you can start your own dance party in front of the dumbbell rack and the gym meatheads.

Playing your tunes to get comfortable in the gym, to tune everyone else out and to motivate you. When you’re into it, you might not realize your discomfort or hear your bones cracking.

Usually the gym tunes are not to your liking unless you like 90’s rock as much as I do.

 9. Workout at home too

Buying inexpensive dumbbells and resistance bands and keeping them visible always will help keep exercise in the forefront of your mind and you’ll be able to get after it when you don’t have time for the gym.

You’ll be able to work on the exercises mentioned in point 1 and you can get your groove on and dance like nobody is watching also.


Finishing up

These tips will help your acclimatize to the gym environment sooner, so you don’t go running out of there screaming and never come back. Because once you get over your initial discomfort, you can work on being awesome.

Now you can dance like everybody is watching.

Need help starting an exercise routine? Contact me here and I can help.


  1. swosei12blog

    This was a great post. Now that marathon season is over, I have to “start from scratch” and come up with some new fitness goals.

  2. Jaydon

    1 DDPYoga It is the mission of DDP YOGA to empower others to think beyond traditional limits, to find inspiration from adversity, and to become the most trusted fitness company on the planet!. I’ve been doing DDPYOGA for 3 years and am in the best shape of my life. I’m 59 years young and love the fact that I get a great workout without beating up my joints.

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