girl holds up two purple dumbbells in front of her

Tips for beginners in the gym

Blog | Justin Shaw, Sports Development Coordinator

Getting started in the gym can be daunting. You’ve got big metal devices everywhere, plates that you can’t eat off, bells that a dumb, and kettles that can’t boil water… it’s pretty crazy. Fortunately, the machines aren’t as mean as they look, and the weights…… well they are as heavy as they look, sometimes heavier! But what I’m trying to say is that the gym isn’t a scary place.

The gym is the place for growth, it’s the place for turning stress into sweat and pain into gain.

So here are a few tips to get you started.

Keep it simple

If you are new to the gym, take it slow. Most people find the machines a good place to start. The motion is pre-set and there is less room for error in form. Work your way through mastering the machines, then you can move onto the free weights!

Leave your ego at the door

A common mistake is to walk into the gym and lift with your ego, not your body. This is how you get hurt. While it’s good to push your limits, it’s important to be honest with yourself about your ability. It’s a lot harder to get better at exercising when you’re on bed rest. Another common myth is that it’s a sign of weakness to ask for help. It is always better to ask! As the old saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know, and the best way to know is to ask! Any of our staff at SportUNE will be more than happy to assist you with any questions or exercises in the gym. If you still aren’t convinced, just know that even Arnold Schwarzenegger had a spotter…


Like anything in life, it pays to be prepared! Have a plan before heading to the gym. Look up some tutorials or ask our staff about any exercise you aren’t too sure about. It’s better to get it right the first time than learn the hard way!

Everyone is watching you – not!

Gym shyness is a real thing. Most people feel like someone will see if they screw something up, so you naturally over analyse everything you are doing. But if everyone else is watching themselves, who’s watching you? Be confident in yourself and be proud you are there. Remember, you’re one step ahead of everyone who didn’t show up today. Make the most of your time in the gym! Don’t be afraid to try new things! That’s the only way we get better.

Set Smart Goals

Goal setting is a huge component of fitness. It will keep you motivated and give you direction moving forward. SMART goals are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and have a Timeframe. Ask yourself if your goal meets the SMART criteria!

And as I mentioned above, come and see one of our friendly staff members if you have any questions about where to start in the gym – we’re here to help!

Looking for that extra bit of motivation?

We have a range of weekly group fitness classes on offer, check out our classes here. Or to learn more about fitness and wellbeing and connect with like-minded people, visit the Wellness Hub.