New to Exercise? Here's what to do... - Reboot Fitness Coaching

New to Exercise? Here’s what to do…

If  you are new to exercise, it can be hard to get your head around how you should train to get the effect you want, and what exactly it is you should be doing to get going and progress.

If you want to lose weight, keep it off and make changes to your body shape, then resistance training should be part of your program…

But what is it, and how should you use it…


My first proper experience of resistance training came when I was in university. Prior to that, I had mainly done a lot of cardio-based training because that was what I needed for the sports I’d played throughout school.

When I got to uni, two of my flat mates were heavily into going to the gym.

Like many others, I fancied putting on some muscle so I decided I’d get involved.

So of course I joined a gym for a year (funnily enough the gym where I’d end up starting off my fitness career).

During the course of that year, I must have set foot in that gym about 20 times.

It wasn’t because I couldn’t be bothered.

And it wasn’t because I didn’t like the gym.

The thing that actually stopped me going was that I didn’t have the slightest clue what I was doing.


Every time I went in I did a 5 minute warm up (I use that term loosely…) on the treadmill.

Then spent the next hour and a half milling about, drifting from one exercise I’d vaguely read about in a magazine, to the next, which I’d seen on tv (bicep curls all day baby!!).

I didn’t have any idea about what sort of order I should do them in.

Or how many sets/reps I should do.

So all I did was perform a few sets of each exercise in whatever combination or order I made up on the spot. I picked up a ridiculous weight so I’d look tough. And then I’d take every set of every exercise until I couldn’t lift anymore and then rested for an undetermined amount of time.

Needless to say, that isn’t the best way to go about it, and the thing was I knew it!!! That was what stopped me going back very often.

I felt embarrassed that I didn’t know what I was doing…

Part of me was under the impression that everyone in the gym must have been looking at me wondering what this kid’s problem was…

And I felt like, at any moment, the gym manager was going to come over and banish me from weightlifting land!

Plus, to make things worse, the workouts I was doing left me absolutely knackered.

Lifting until I couldn’t left anymore on every set left me crawling around for the next week. So training AGAIN anytime soon was furthest from my mind.

And once the physical soreness eventually subsided, I still had to wait for my ego’s wounds to heal.

I had to do all that before I ventured back in and did it all over again.

If you now find yourself in the same position, don’t panic. It’s not just you, I promise.

There are people in gyms and leisure centres all over the world, going through the exact same thing. Silently suffering…

Luckily, there are steps you can take to get control of your training, make it more effective and gain the confidence to go more than 20 times a year.



Of course, I’m going to say that 😉.

But seriously, nothing will ease the pressure early on in your exercise career than getting yourself a coach or trainer.

Something as simple as having someone walk me through what should go in my workouts, what my form should be like on my exercises and how many sets and reps I should be doing, would have done wonders for my confidence in the gym and my ability to go and do it on my own.


Brad Schoenfeld, a world renowned fitness expert and author says in one of his books: “Ask me what’s the most important factor in achieving a terrific physique and, without a second thought, I’ll say proper planning.”.

Stepping through the gym door with an idea of what workout you are going to perform for that particular day is half the battle when you are first getting started.

Aimlessly wandering from random exercise to random exercise is a giant waste of time.

Once you’ve got a plan in mind, record everything to do with it. How many reps did you do? What weight did you use? Write it down so you know for next time.


Because you want to get started and get quick results, you might be tempted to smash it in every session and really hammer your body, just like I did. But hold back!

Start nice and light and work well within your limits. Begin with a few multi-joint exercises like squats, presses and rows and focus on getting nice smooth movements and controlling the weight.

Trust me, keeping it light initially and slowly building up will have you lifting more weight in the long term than piling on the heavy stuff straight away.


Nothing will put you off more at the start than the thought of repeating a 2hr workout every time you step through the gym door. Limit things to an hour or so at most.

You’ll be able to put your best effort into the exercises you do and won’t become jaded.

Starting a resistance program can be pretty daunting. But be safe in the knowledge that this is a feeling shared by masses of people.

Start with a plan, start simple and start with a weight that you can handle. Do these things in the early stages and you’ll set yourself up to become a lifetime lifter.


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About the Author Alvin Nurse

Alvin runs Reboot Fitness Coaching and has been a Fitness Coach since 2010. When not helping awesome people in their 30s rejuvenate their bodies, you'll find him listening to music, chasing a ball, or avoiding runny yolks...

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