Here’s Your No Bullsh*t Gym Guide For 2024

If you want to go, that is...


We’ve all been there. The new membership. The fresh workout gear. The promise that you’re going to become a ‘person who goes to the gym’ this year. It’s going to happen, finally!

Then as the weeks go on, you go less and less. Your fob starts gathering dust at the bottom of your tote. You can’t remember the last time you saw the Stairmaster. The rowing machine is but a distant memory. 

Going to the gym has long been considered a ‘January thing’, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re determined to incorporate the gym into your weekly routine this year, look no further than our no bullsh*t guide.

Whether you’re joining to get fit, to get stronger, or to work on your mental health, going to the gym can be accessible for everyone – you just need to know where to start, and how to stick with it. 

Go with a friend 

The more the merrier! If you’re struggling to find the motivation – or the confidence – to start going to the gym, why not go with a pal? Grab your leggings, put on your sports bras, and make it a fun event. If this is your first time going, ask your friend to show you around the gym. Find out what machines they like using, what the best times to go are, and when their favourite classes are on. If you don’t feel comfortable working out alone at first, you don’t have to! 

Find a routine you like – and tweak it just a bit

You see that guy bench pressing 120kg? Ignore him. That girl who’s been on the cross-trainer for the past 90 minutes? Nothing to do with you. Starting your gym journey is all about finding what works for you, and you should never compare yourself to others. Find a routine that you’re able for (and one that you like!) and stick with it. Slightly altering that routine and introducing new things as the weeks pass will ensure that you don’t get bored. 

Hire a PT 

If you can afford to, hiring a personal trainer is probably the most helpful thing you could do when beginning your gym journey. PTs can put together a workout and diet plan (if that’s something you want), but they can also show you how to use all of the gym equipment, and how to do specific exercises properly. One of the most daunting aspects of joining the gym can be feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing. Work with a PT for a few weeks until you get your bearings, or opt for a more long-term vibe. If you’re not gelling with your trainer, no worries – you can always seek out another.

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Be realistic 

Got the time, energy, and ability to workout six times a week? Good for you! You are unequivocally not the same as most people! Goal setting is all well and good, until you’re chatising yourself for missing a spin class on a Wednesday morning when you simply couldn’t get out of bed. Don’t beat yourself up. The gym is supposed to be rewarding, not punishing. Go when you feel like you can – and more importantly, when you want to. Engaging in an intense workout almost every day of the week just isn’t realistic. Don’t pretend that it is. 

Make it make sense 

Make going to the gym as easy as possible, and pick a location that’s either on your way from work, near your house, or a membership that allows roaming. Sign up to a gym that’s an hour drive away and sorry, you’re not going to go. Choose a spot that makes sense for you, and slip a session into your daily routine easily. 

Sign up for some classes

These days, most gyms host classes as part of your membership. Spin, HIIT, yoga, pilates, dancefit… you name it, chances are there’s a class in it. Working out as part of a group not only allows you to be social, but can also encourage good emotional health too. You’re not going to enjoy every class you take. Some of them may seem downright impossible (ass and abs I’m looking at you). But branching out from your usual routine may help reignite your passion if you feel a gym lull coming on. Plus, you could meet some new pals there too! 

Get some great gear 

You want to feel good in the gym, and if feeling good for you means sporting a serious #look, then get yourself some fire gym ‘fits that you’ll look forward to wearing. A good quality pair of squat-proof leggings will see you through the year, while a decent sports bra is crucial for providing support. Most importantly, make sure that you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing. If going legs-out isn’t for you, you don’t need to wear shorts. You want to workout, but you also want to feel like you. 

Remember – no one is looking at you 

Chances are, most people in the gym in January are just like you – finding their feet, trying stuff out, and seeing what sticks. If you use a machine wrong, don’t worry, nobody cares. If you need to start on the lightest weights, that’s great, no one minds. If you’re sweating so much that the treadmill before you is sleek with liquid, wipe it down and move on! No one is judging you, and no one is looking at you.

This article first appeared in the January/February issue of STELLAR magazine.