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Top 5 tips for new gym goers

Lots of gym weights


Looking back at when I started going to the gym many years ago, I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. If you’re just starting out with gym training then this post will be useful for you – I’m going to run through my top 5 tips for you as a new gym user.

1) Don’t worry about anyone else

Gyms can be an intimidating place at the best of times but especially when you’re new to that kind of environment. I used to feel like everyone in the gym was watching me and thinking “look at this skinny lad – he hasn’t got a clue what he is doing, what is he even doing here?”

After training in various gyms in the UK and abroad for over ten years I can tell you that 99% of people in the gym do not care what anybody else is doing. If there is someone in your gym who is in the 1% and is definitely looking at you then he (it’ll probably be a bloke) is an idiot who isn’t worth worrying about.

Everyone is in the gym to better themselves, going to the gym is something we do solely for ourselves and thinking that people care about anything else going on is daft when you think about it. Most people couldn’t care less what you’re up to!

When I’m in the gym I’m focussed on my own training, what I need to do next, how I’m tracking vs my last session, how many sets on this next exercise. When you start going to the gym, it might feel like people are watching you but they’re most likely too wrapped up in their own session – so don’t worry about it.

2) Have a plan

When I first started training, I basically used to rock up to the gym and just stroll about using random machines. I didn’t have a plan for what I was going to train in a given session or anything like that. I really wish someone experienced had given me a bit of direction but that didn’t happen for a while.

Having a plan which you follow throughout your session not only will make your training better structured and give you much more chance of getting results but it will also help with your confidence in the gym too. Have everything you need to do written down for you (or in a handy app format…) means you can get your session done with purpose and without walking about like a lemon like I used to.

3) Keep it simple

When you’re new to the gym the great news is that if you turn up consistently, have some structure and train harder over time – then you are going to make great progress and see results. It’s really not going to be necessary to overcomplicate everything by introducing things like supersets, drop sets, cheat reps or any other form of advanced intensity technique.

What you need to focus on as a new gym goer is working through straight sets which work the entirety of the body, using a challenging load and one which pushes you relatively close to failure.

4) Always train with perfect form

A really common issue for a lot of new (or experienced) gym users is chasing weight increases at the expense of proper technique. Lifting weights with poor form is such a bad approach for a number of reasons – to name a few: increased risk of injury, worse results, ingrained poor habits which take a lot of time to unlearn, difficulty tracking progress and poor recovery.

It can be really tempting to try and up your weights too soon to chase what your mates/others in the gym are lifting. Don’t be like I used to be – that’s a daft way to train and it’ll hinder your progress.

Always lift weights with proper form and focus on lifting with a standardised full range of motion – all of your reps should look the same.

5) You can’t out train a bad diet

This is another classic trap which I fell into. When I first started going to the gym I was at uni and really skinny:

Two top poses there from me, classic combo of pointing at a non-existent watch and a pout.

Anyway, then I started going to the gym in an attempt to bulk up, I definitely succeeded at bulking up but not quite in the way I wanted to:

As you can see, I put on some serious timber. This basically meant that the muscle I’d gained with all of my hard gym training wasn’t visible because it was hiding behind a layer of fat.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that training is the be all and end all, you need to take your nutrition seriously do. It’s not a great idea to do what I did – just eat everything in sight and say “I’m bulking!”


Firstly, have a plan and execute it with perfect form. Don’t try to overcomplicate things early on – as a new gym goer, you can make progress keeping things really simple.

Don’t worry about anyone else or feel like people are judging you. There are some brilliant gyms out there with nice people as their members.

Remember to keep a focus on your nutrition as well as your training – don’t be like chubby JC.

Focus on improving yourself, stick at it and good things will happen!



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