How to enjoy the gym and getting fit

woman with barbell

How to start enjoying the gym and fitness

If you’d like to get fit and toned, the gym can be a great place to start. Most gyms now have equipment for aerobic exercise (e.g. cross-trainers and cycles) as well as weight training equipment. Many gyms also have great classes where you can get even more motivated to get fit and stay well.

It can feel daunting if you’ve never been to a gym before, but give it a go.  Trainers are usually very understanding and will adapt a routine to your time and fitness level. One of the great things about starting out is that you see lots of improvements that can help increase your motivation further. Don’t skimp on what you do – the only person you are cheating is yourself.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe and use this time effectively:

Prepare beforehand

Jenny Meggs, Lecturer in Sports Psychology, Lancaster University (UK) says:

“Look up the gym and equipment to familiarise yourself with the layout and the kind of equipment you might encounter. Finding sources or videos online that show you how the equipment works may also help quell any nerves you might have and better prepare you for what you might encounter before your first workout. Booking a one-to-one with a staff member or a personal trainer on your first day may also help.”

Beginners at the gym

Set yourself long-term fitness goals and short-term fitness goals to keep yourself motivated. If you’re starting out at weight training, choose weights that you can comfortably lift 10 to 15 times. Do 2 sets to start with, and increase to three sets over time. In weight training etc., breathe in through the nose to warm the air and out through the mouth. Breathe out on the effort, during the most difficult (strenuous) part of the movement.

Short of time for the gym

If you’re short of time while weight training, do your flexibility exercises in the rest period between sets.

Breathing And Exercise

In weight training etc., breathe in through the nose to warm the air and out through the mouth. Breathe out on the effort, during the most difficult (strenuous) part of the movement.

Use A Stabilty Ball

Lie with your legs bent and your back on a stability ball to do crunches. It strengthens your legs and bum/butt as well as your abs. Sit on a stability ball rather than a bench when doing free weight exercises for your arms. That way you strengthen your core muscles at the same time.


When you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Warning signs are tiredness, headaches, profuse sweating, cramps, weakness and dizziness.

What is the correct length for a skipping rope?

Skipping is a great aerobic workout, but make sure the length of the rope is correct for you: the point where the handles meet the rope should be level with your armpits, when you stand on the middle of the rope.

Can I spot reduce my fat bits with exercise?

Exercise won’t help you lose fat in a particular area, but it can help tone the area so it looks better.

Stretching & Exercise

Stretching before you exercise increases your chances of injury. Warm up slowly and then do some stretching, or stretch after you finish your exercise. If you’re suffering from muscle pain, it may mean you should rest it, but it may be better to do gentle stretching. Take appropriate advice.

How to start exercising

Do you start exercise programs and then give up? Do you have a gym membership that you hardly ever use? Commit yourself to doing one stretch and one strength exercise every day at home. When that’s a habit, add more.