A Beginners Guide to Starting an Exercise Routine

Woman Working Out on Gym Equipment

Whether it’s your first time to the gym ever, or just the first time in a long time, walking through those doors can be intimidating to beginners. Let this simple guide take some of the fear out and give you a little confidence as you take your program to the next level.

The best things beginners can do is to stick with a machine-based routine. Dumbbells and free weights can be intimidating and lead to injury if not properly used. The beauty of machines is that the guesswork is taken out of it. Nearly all machines will have a diagram showing you how to position your body, what muscles are worked, and how to properly perform the movements. Also, all gym staff are trained to instruct proper machine usage if the instructions aren’t clear.

Regardless of the machine, the first thing you need to do is keep it simple. Being brand new to weight training gives you the benefit of your body responding quickly to even the most basic of exercises. At first, do not try to lift as much as possible. Start light so not to overdo it which can cause injury and soreness. The key is to get comfortable with the equipment and in the habit of coming back.

Focus on your form when using the equipment. For machines such as the leg press, chest press and shoulder press, be sure your back is pressed flat into the back pad or bench. This will prevent strain and injury on muscles not intended to be worked by these exercises. Be sure not to hyperextend or lock your knees or elbows either. As you find out where your comfort zone lies, don't push yourself too hard at first. Let your body get accustomed to the movements for a few weeks before attempting to tackle heavier weights.

Rest and recovery is as important to fitness as exercising. Staggering your routine will help build in periods of rest naturally. For example, if you work your chest and arms one day, work legs or do cardio on day two so you're not hitting the same muscle groups back-to-back. As long as you get in at least two workouts weekly you will start seeing the results you want. Start simple, take it easy, and pace yourself to the finish line.


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