How to Get Started at the Gym

What You Need to Know to Get off to a Strong Start

I’m not the biggest or strongest guy, nor do I really want to be. I just want to be the guy that is happy with waking up and not feeling like a complete slob.

Going to the gym does this for me.

Are there days where I really don’t want to get up, change, walk to the gym and workout? Shit, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get that feeling about four days a week. The one thing I know after each workout though, as shitty and tired as I feel, is that I have a sense of accomplishment about myself.

I know that I have done something that will make me feel better both tomorrow and in the future. Trust me, during any workout I’m pissed and ask myself why I’m doing this when I could be getting an extra hour of sleep. It all feels worth it though when the workout is completed.

Plus I know that I will more than likely look that much better when I’m naked.

I’ve had a few stints where I would go to the gym religiously everyday and workout. The latest one started a little over a month ago with my sister-in-law and brother. Safe to say we all were a little on the lazy side when it came to having a regular workout routine. We all want to be fit and we know the best way to do this is to push each other as a family.

If one of us has to suffer through the pain and struggle of a workout, all of us are going to do the same. We stick together and will honestly do anything for each other.

So when we set goals for ourselves, it’s not just an individual effort, it is the effort of the entire family that helps us reach our goal. Our expectations are high, always have been, and we know what each other is capable of. So if one of us doesn’t perform up to a certain standard we all know they are capable of, we get on them and force them to reach the level they should be at.

Editor’s (Scrivs) note: Now I’m beginning to understand why my wife and brother give me shit every day when I try to sneak in another Nutty Bar.

Putting Thought Into Action

“I gots to get better man, its got to move on”

Getting Started At the Gym

Making the decision to start is the second most difficult thing, in my opinion, when it comes to working out and since you’re reading this, I assume that you have already made the decision to start. Or you’re at least intrigued by the idea of going to the gym.

Now it’s time to start putting that thought into action.

Set Your Goals

Wanna be a baller, shot caller

Before you even start to go to the gym, you should set some goals.

Set both short-term goals and long-term goals. Make sure, and I cannot stress this enough, that these goals are realistic. I’m an optimist and all for reaching for the stars but unless you plan on becoming a power lifter, make these goals attainable.

For example, you do not want to set a goal saying that you will bench 300lbs after the first two weeks. That is nearly impossible.

Set a goal that says you will perform your workout routine for 14 straight days without a rest day. That is a good short-term goal.

Long-term should be something that says you will curl at least twice as much weight as you started with after 3 months of continuously working out. Goals are meant to be set to help you reach for something. Keep your goals inside the atmosphere, don’t put them in space quite yet.

Keeping Track of Goals

How do you keep track of these goals? For some it may be beneficial to keep a daily log to see if you are progressing towards your goals. Another helpful tool that is a favorite of mine is to set mini goals that will lead to your bigger goals. Set mini goals that will lead to all of your short-term goals which in turn will lead to your long-term goals.

The Future You

“Chop, chop, chop, headed straight to the top”

Getting Started At the Gym

Picture how you want to look and plan out how you are going to get there. Envision yourself a month from now, three months from now, a year from now.

While you are doing this, try to remember one thing, this decision you are making should be for you. Nobody else. It’s okay to have other people in mind, but ultimately do it for yourself.

Knowing that you are doing this for yourself will only motivate you that much more because let’s be honest, sometimes other people just get in the way of who we want to be.

Okay, you see the future you? Good, now tell them to take a seat and that you’ll see them in no time.


“But there’s got to be a better way”

The next beneficial thing you need to do is to think of every possible excuse you will use in the future and throw it out the window. Nothing is going to be accomplished with excuses.

This should be a general rule for anybody in life, not just when it comes to your personal health and fitness. Excuses hold everyone back when they make them. Hold yourself accountable for all of your actions.

It is easier to move from failure to success than it is from excuses to success –John C. Maxwell

If there is no accountability, you’re just giving yourself an easy out. Don’t be that person that thinks it’s okay to ease through things and not fully accomplish your goals. You set those goals with high expectations so you might as well stick to those expectations and do what you need to do.

One of my favorite quotes from a great movie, Wolf of Wall Street:

The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.

Excuses get you nowhere so get rid of them now.

It Won’t Be Easy

“Lord knows – ain’t no time to play”

Getting started on a regular workout routine is always the hardest part in my opinion. Trust me, I understand the struggle. When you go from being lazy and sleeping in almost every day to waking up for the gym and starting a workout at 8am, the shock to your body can be pretty extreme.

Me being the person that I am, I still thought that I could lift the same weights I could when I was in college. I was able to lift the same amount of weight, but to say I was struggling would be a major understatement. The next day, I don’t think I was able to move, but since we all had literally just started going to the gym again, I did not want to disappoint anybody so I cried myself through the rest of the first week of workouts.

Don’t Lift Everything!

“Show stopping dead end”

Getting Started At the Gym

When you’re just starting to workout in the gym, you do not want to go crazy and try to lift as much weight as you think you can. It’s definitely the smart move to ease your way into the routine.

I’m not saying lift the lightest weights possible but I am saying that you should not try to go world’s strongest man and try to lift more than everyone else. What good would that do you anyway? You’ll be too sore the next couple days and skip going to the gym screwing up your brand new routine.

How many times can you start all over?

Lift too much, get too sore, rest the next few days by not going to the gym, fall back into your lazy ways, start working out again, and the cycle repeats itself. I know people that fall into this cycle and it’s honestly pretty comical.

Take the first few days, maybe even the first week, to ease your body into the flow of the workouts. Mentally you might be ready but more than likely, your body is not. DO NOT GO CRAZY! You will get sore, but that gets much easier to deal with and is less frequent the more you stick to the gym.

Think of it like this, if you’re in pain don’t quit, you’re already in pain so you might as well get a reward for it. Reward yourself with hard work and the prizes are much better than a stuffed animal you get from the fair.


“Everything’s my way, I parle, everyday all day”

Something that is vital to anybody that is just beginning at the gym is to establish some sort of routine.

Plan out your workouts and make sure you get to the gym every day at around the same time. This just makes everything easier. You do not want to be going to the gym before lunch one day, then going after dinner the next day.

Understandably, some of you may be on a hectic schedule that doesn’t allow you to go to the gym at the same time everyday. Just do your best to do so.

It is nice to keep your body guessing, but it is easier to make it to the gym at the same time every single day. This keeps you motivated and accountable. It takes a while to form a habit and you do not want to be the person that keeps breaking a healthy habit because they can’t stick to a simple schedule.

Are the habits you have today on par with the dreams you have for tomorrow.

Try Different Things

“Switched from Motorola to a PrimeCo phone”

If you’ve never really been the type to workout and plan on beginning a new chapter in your life, it is hard to determine what type of workouts you should do or what you even enjoy doing.

My advice, the first couple weeks, just try different types of workouts. The only way to find out exactly what you enjoy doing is to actually try it.

Try as many workouts as you possibly can until you feel comfortable. You may even want to switch up your workouts every so often just to keep your body guessing and to keep yourself motivated.

Working out is way more fun when you actually enjoy what you’re doing. There have been plenty of times where a workout just seems to drag on and on because I didn’t like what we were doing.

Some workouts may feel awkward to you but others for the same body part may feel perfect. It is important that you try as many new workouts as you can. Keeping your body guessing in this way is great and you will see a change in yourself much faster, in my unprofessional professional opinion.

If you find some exercises that you love to do and do not want to change from that specific exercise then don’t. Doing anything is beneficial. Just make sure you find a way to enjoy the workouts that you are doing and everything else will come easier.

It’s All in the Technique

“A better way, better way, yeah”

Proper technique may be the most important aspect of working out when you are just beginning. Learning proper technique for exercises not only ensures that you get the most out of your workout, but it also ensures that you are keeping yourself as safe as possible.

The gym can be a dangerous place and injuries happen ALL the time. We all know what an injury does to us, it sets us back and we have to put many of our goals on hold. When we finally get back from the injury, it feels as though we are starting over and playing a game of catch up with the person we wanted to be.

Nobody wants a setback like this.

Also, what’s the point in working out if you aren’t going to maximize your time and effort? You are wanting to go to the gym for a reason, right? You want to start a new chapter in your life? Learn the proper technique for all the exercises you want to do.

It may take a little bit to perfect these techniques but they are there for a reason. If you aren’t sure of the proper technique right away, go ahead and ask somebody or check out YouTube. We all know YouTube and Google have the answers to life so you might as well utilize them.

Gym Attire

“I’m hot, find me looking good”

Getting Started At the Gym

One thing that is equally as important as everything else mentioned earlier but probably overlooked is gym attire.

Yes, proper gym attire is a thing. Showing up to the gym without proper gym attire not only looks awkward but can be very dangerous, not only for you but for everyone around you as well.

What is proper gym attire?

It’s a simple answer, t-shirt, shorts/pants, and tennis shoes.

You do not want anything that is too loose or baggy because these could get caught on weights. Tennis shoes are something that is mainly for your own comfort. Any kind of shoe could work for you, but do not wear sandals. I have never seen anything good come from somebody working out in sandals. It’s like the gym gods know and something always happens to the shoeless wonder.

My personal preference of shoe is anything Nike. The shirts and shorts don’t really matter. I’ve always been a fan of Nike running shoes and that’s what has always worked best for me in the gym. They provide the most comfort while giving me some stability when I get a little out there with the weights. They are also great running shoes in my opinion as well.

Push Through the Grind

“I’m pushing big body can’t stop me”

Know that this is not going to be a cake walk. If it was easy, everybody would do it. This is going to be tough.

There are going to be times where you just want to take a break from it all. There will be days where you have a lack of motivation to do anything. It happens to everyone.

Remember that it is crucial to keep your goals in mind and continue to push yourself under any circumstance. The more you push, the better results you will get, the better you will feel about yourself, and the future you that you saw earlier will be on your doorstep in no time.

P.S. – Many of the quotes in this article are lyrics from “Wanna be a baller” by Lil Troy.

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