Gym Newbie

I classify myself as an Enthusiastic Gym Newbie. I first entered a gym at the start of 2013. I was more of an outdoors girl and team sports participant for fitness, however when I started a job with benefits including free gym membership I decided what do I have to lose? 

My Experience

I remember my first day I entered a gym; I had no idea what the heck I was doing. I walked past the weights room looking at all these buff men in front of the mirror lifting weights, overwhelmed by it all and not having a clue what to do myself I headed into the cardio room. I jumped on the treadmill so I could watch what others were doing, to me it seemed everyone was expert. After a few visits of running on the treadmill I decided to begin gym classes, bootcamp style. I really enjoyed the class as it was all set out for me and all I had to do was turn up and work out. In late 2013, I got bitten by the triathlon bug so I started focusing on my swimming, cycling and running, leaving my strength behind. After several months I realised I was lacking strength so I decided to include a few gym sessions into my training. I looked up a few exercises online and decided to give them a crack as my strength program. Although the sessions were fun and exhausting, my technique was all wrong, I was overdoing it and it wasn’t aiding to my triathlon training, just making me sore. At the beginning of 2015 I approached James de Lacey (DIME Performance Head Strength and Conditioning Coach) for a personalised plan tailored to my triathlon goals. For the first time since starting at a gym I feel comfortable and confident performing weights, exercise movements and stronger. 

Top Tips for Gym First Timers

We all start somewhere

Don’t worry about being a newbie, everyone was once a beginner. It may seem like everyone else knows what they are doing but the majority have no clue just like yourself, whether it is incorrect technique or over doing it etc we all have something to learn. Be humble, be curious and be kind.

Have a plan, or at least an idea

If you are serious about getting fit and strong the best thing to do is get a tailored strength program for your fitness goal. If you want to go to the gym without paying money for a plan, watch videos, research workouts, ask coaches (either at the gym or online) but don’t go in blind. Remember it’s OK to ask for help. 

Don’t over do it

Start with only a few exercises. You may get excited after a few and want to continue but trust me your future self won’t thank you as you might injure yourself if you go all out first time.

Slowly progress to heavier weights or more reps as you improve, you don’t have to start lifting mammoth weights on a gazillion reps on your first day… Delayed Muscle Onset (DOMS) is a bitch.  

Be prepared
  • Water bottle
  • Towel
  • Appropriate clothing and shoes
  • Shower accessories (if you are planning on showering after the session)
  • A small snack 
Gym Etiquette
  • During sign up, most gyms will run you through the expectations of you, the gym-goer. Make sure you listen and follow through. Also keep a look out of signs up on the wall.
  • Hygiene is important! Put your towel down when you are working out or after you finish each exercise spray and wipe so that next person doesn’t have to sit in your sweat.
  • Re Rack Weights. If you can lift it, you can put it away.
  • Don’t push in, if one person is hogging one piece of equipment you can ask to work in between their sets.

Whatever your goal is it important to record progress, whether it is photos, measurements, body fat %, weights, reps or distance. After your first gym session you may pull your shirt up and look down at your belly and expect to see abs, but things take time. Make sure you look back at your initial progress report and celebrate at how far you have come.

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10 thoughts on “Gym Newbie

  1. Wow I really enjoyed these read. It is so funny to think we all over step some of these steps (like overdoing things in the gym) when we first step into the gym and now looking back at our silly mistakes and how far we have come. Are you still training triathlons? Cant wait to see what else you have in store.

    Lets keep in touch! Whats your IG, mine is dorisfitness and if you have time you can check out my site as well Happy Sunday 🙂


    1. Thanks so much Doris!! Yes still training. Currently training for Ironman 70.3 in Taupo in December 🙂 Glad you liked my post. I’ll be regularly updating so hope you enjoy my future posts!
      My IG is @kates.adventures 🙂


      1. Added 🙂 Wow you go girl!! Im excited for you and can’t wait to see your progress. Now I feel like a shrimp with my Obstacle Course Races hahaha Good Luck!


  2. This is a great post for any one hesitant to go to the gym! It’s always hard to go in when they’re are people chugging it on the treadmill or lifting weights as heavy as you. I’m a gym veteran, but these tips are still so useful!



      1. Ah..I have so much respect for you! Triathlon training seems so grueling! I’m a running lover so I run all the time. I do need to get some strength training but it’s either I’m scared that I’ll bulk up or that I just don’t have enough time. What are your thoughts about strength training and bulking? As a cross country runner, a lot of bulky muscle isn’t favorable but as I keep running more and more I feel in my gut that it’s not right to get away with simply just running. Any advice or tips?



      2. Strength training is so important for running and triathlon. It’s not just to build muscle but also help prevent injuries. I do a lot of prehab work in my Glutes and hamstrings. I have noticed a huge improvement in doing so. Everyone is so different so I definitely recommend an individual custom program for your needs. I contacted the guys at DIME Performance for an individualised strength training program. I actually spend less time in the gym now but have better results. You won’t get bulky, unless you are doing super heavy weights and eating a massive surplus of calories. Even then, with the running you won’t get bulky. You may gain weight as you’ll lose fat but gain muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. But you’ll look trim, lean and strong. Highly recommend it. And if you want to contact the guys at DIME Performance they have a free initial consult so you can just have a chat to them about what you’re after 🙂
        Hope that helps x

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Wow! Thanks for the really in depth explanation. Yeah…I think I really need to start strength training as I clock in 30+ miles for running every week. I can’t go to the gym often because of my schedule so I can only workout at my house. Do you have any suggestions/recommendations for at-home exercises, preferably body weight ones? I have no equipment at my house except me and my mat. 😂



  3. Thanks for this post! It makes the gym seem a lil less intimidating. What’s stopped me from going to the gym is that I feel judged (because inwardly I think everyone is assessing others’ work out). And I have no idea how to use weights…

    Liked by 1 person

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