If you don’t frequent the gym that often or you’re just finding your feet in the big bad world of exercise, the thought of stepping into a health club, gym, fitness centre can be extremely daunting – understandably!

But don’t fear, we’ve got five top tips for you to shake off those nerves and feel more comfortable if you’re a novice gym goer.


Set up for you

Don’t be afraid to adjust the height of a seat or incline of a bench to set up specifically for you. This can make a huge difference to your workout, ensuring you’re working the right muscles on the right machines and your safety comes first. If in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask – anyone working at the gym will be happy to help (that's what they're there for!), as would another gym goer. 


Don’t go too heavy

If something is too heavy, please decrease the weight. No-one is really paying attention to how much you can lift, they are too consumed with their own workout, so don’t be a hero, start low and then add weight as you’re able to. 


Have a plan and be confident

It will always help to have a plan – if you’re already feeling a little nervous about you’re gym visit, walking aimlessly around just giving a few machines or exercises a go is likely to put a stop to any future visits. Have a plan of the exercises you’re going to complete and which machines you’re going to use and you’ll feel a lot more confident about your session. You might even walk away thinking “what was all the fuss about?” 


Don’t sweat it

Well, do sweat it, but take a towel with you so no-one else has to sit in your sweat! It is gym etiquette (and basic hygiene really) to use a towel on machines, benches and mats or to wipe down your weights after use, so make sure you have one with you on each visit. Most gyms offer a towel hire if you forget yours and also provide paper towel or wipes on the gym floor too. 


Keep it tidy

Remember to put your free weights, fitball, foam roller or any other piece of equipment back after you’ve finished with it to avoid anyone tripping or having an accident. Also try to unrack a machine if you have racked some weight onto it – the next person to use it is highly unlikely to be lifting the exact same weight as you and shouldn’t have to take your weights off first before starting their exercises. 

5 approaches to exercises that aren’t working for you 12 easy ways to get more incidental exercise When you just can't: simple exercises for those who find it hard