Estimated read time: 4 minutes.
Starting anything that’s brand new can seem very daunting. There’s so much information out there how do you know what’s correct? Where do you start? Shouldn’t you work out your goals first? Should you do a bit of exercise in the house first before going to the gym?
If you can relate to any of these concerns then this is the post for you. Let’s get into it.
Aside from if you have an ongoing health condition, you don’t need any prior clearance to exercise. You can just get stuck in straight away at the gym. You should go through a PAR-Q questionnaire on your first visit to the gym and if you aren’t sure about any of the questions, you should consult your doctor.
You don’t need to have your ducks in a row regarding your goals prior to going to the gym. If you’re considering going, it’s likely from a desire to improve your health or physique. That’s enough of a goal to start with, you can sort out the details later, maybe even check out one of our posts about goals.
You don’t even need to set foot in a gym. This sounds a bit counterintuitive coming from someone who runs a gym, but the easiest first step to take on your health and fitness journey is the first one out of your door. Walking outdoors and in green spaces is a great start to improving your physical and mental health.
Try out a new activity or class with a friend. It’s even better if both of you are new, you can go and learn together as well as get some exercise. There’s a massive selection of sports, activities, and classes out there, I strongly encourage you to try out as many as possible.
Ever thought of trying archery? Cricket? Salsa dance classes?
Reach out to a coach or PT on social or by email. I very much live by the rule of ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. It’s very likely that people who work in the gym are really keen on helping you get to where you want to be (that’s why I’m here anyway). If you have specific questions or want to see if they’d be a good fit for you personality-wise see if they do a consultation or low barrier offer. If you’ve got this far through the article and are currently undecided as to starting your health and fitness journey, I'd like to offer an incentive offer to get you started.
It might seem like your goals are so far away that they may as well be unachievable, and you may as well not start. I’d like to dissuade you from that line of thinking. Something is always better than nothing, and the most important thing you can do is to take insufficient action. This is particularly important if you’re feeling anxious about your lack of exercise, or concerned about potential negative health outcomes of a lack of physical activity or less than stellar nutrition. Anxiety is designed to prompt action, so take insufficient action.
Don’t worry about if you’re doing something ‘right’. There’s a lot of fear surrounding doing things ‘wrong’ however a lot of emerging literature regarding injuries is shining a light on the issue, and you aren’t as fragile as you might believe. You aren’t going to hurt yourself at the smallest miss-step and the benefits of regular exercise far outweigh the likelihood and magnitude of injury that might arise from exercise participation.
Gyms are more than just buildings with weights in them. Well maybe not Pure Gym, but there are a lot of smaller-scale gyms across the country, where you’ll likely find a very welcoming and supportive community, it’ll be like Cheers, except with a different kind of bar.
Nowhere was built in a day. I dislike giving all the credit to Rome, especially as even the Romans would be impressed at how long the Edinburgh council takes to patch up pot holes. Try your best not to think of this as a results-based endeavour, exercising should hopefully become a lifelong habitual activity, like reading books, or brushing your teeth. You don’t complete the gym, there are no end credits, but you do get to reap rewards throughout.
Saving the best till last. One of the most efficient things you can do to start your health and fitness journey is to get in touch with me or John here at ATS. If you want someone to guide you through starting and progressing your health and fitness journey, sort out all the jargon and polarizing information on the internet, and enjoy nerd movie/tv/videogame references then you should reach out and have a chat with us. @ATSapproved on all social media, or just hit us up in the comments of this blog.