Workout articles, healthy lifestyle tips, and fitness advice.

How to Start Working Out (If You’ve Never Exercised Before)

If you’ve never exercised before, but feel ready to start working out for the first time, it can be overwhelming. Maybe you’ve done your reading and research on the benefits of fitness. You may know that exercising and moving your body regularly can lead to increased energy and a better mood, besides improved physical health. You’re motivated and ready to make some changes. But where do you begin?

This “how to” guide will share our top five tips for starting a new workout routine from scratch. We’ll show you how to ease into regular movementstarting by getting yourself off the couch and into your local gym confidently. 

Top 5 Tips for Starting to Work Out

Let’s dip our toe in nice and easy. Our top five tips on how to start working out include the following:

  1. Start where you’re most comfortable. 

The best person to listen to when starting to work out is yourself. Listen to what feels best for you. Start slowly, where you’re comfortable, and begin at home without any fancy equipment or financial investment. 

  1. Don’t overcommit. 

A common mistake among people starting a workout routine for the first time is to overdo it. This can mean working out seven days a week until you burn out or starting with exercises that are too difficult and straining muscles with weights that are too heavy. It’s more effective to start with a couple of weekly workouts that you can commit to than to overdo it early on. 

  1. Strive for regular daily movement. 

Integrating something new into your whole life can help your efforts succeed. When approaching fitness for the first time, look for ways to move within your life rather than changing your existing routines and habits to fit your new goals. 

  1. Start and finish strong. 

Habit-forming is a lot about routine, and successful working out includes warm-up and cool-down periods at the beginning and end of each session. Be sure to spend a few moments focusing on your breathing and a few basic stretches to maximize your workout time.

  1. Think about working with a trainer. 

Fitness habits are more obtainable with a professional accountability partner. And don’t worry about the price tag—we’ve got a hack coming up that will help you get started with a certified fitness trainer for next to nothing.

How to Ease into Working Out at Home

Since it’s best to start where you’re most comfortable, let’s begin by working out at home. It only takes a few habit tweaks to get started. Here are a few tips for home workouts we love that couldn’t be easier. 

Maximize Screen Time

TV time is valuable movement time, whether actively engaged or sitting on the ground stretching. These four stretches can get you started, especially if you’re one of us who have to sit for long periods throughout the day. 

Habitualize Movement

Make a habit of getting up and moving around. Actively rebel against the sedentary lifestyle that 2020 practically forced us into. Any and all movement is encouraged. Get up to water the plants, walk the long way to the kitchen, volunteer to take out the trash, and park in the farther spot. There are dozens of tiny ways to move at and around your home. While it may seem too insignificant to make a difference, small movements add up!

Learn Your Neighborhood

Almost two-thirds – 64% – of U.S. adults drive daily. Many get in the car to leave the house to go almost everywhere. This means many Americans aren’t familiar with the geography of their immediate neighborhood. Why not start now? If the weather’s decent, get outside and explore your local area. On colder days, you can find a convenient and affordable gym to continue your walks on the treadmill (if and when you are ready).

How to Start Working Out at the Gym 

After a few weeks of building your movement habits, maximizing your screen time, and getting to know your neighborhood, you may decide it’s time to get out of the house and to the neighborhood gym. If you’re unfamiliar with what the typical gym offers, it can be intimidating to walk through the doors and not know what to ask or where to go. Don’t worry. Here are three simple tricks to getting started at the gym.

Try the Treadmill

While walking outside is excellent for mental health, walking on the treadmill at the gym is a good alternative. It’s also a great way to start working out at the gym. One of the many enjoyable things about walking on a treadmill is that you can stay active while accomplishing other tasks. Taking a short walk at a manageable pace allows you to relax and bolster your mental health. After you’re comfortable on the treadmill, you may try another fun cardio option, such as the elliptical machine or stationary bike. Just remember to start where you’re comfortable without overextending yourself.

Try a Trainer

Getting assistance from a fitness trainer is almost always time well spent. There’s nothing quite like the expertise they provide. Especially when getting started, a trainer is an excellent resource to ask questions to and gain confidence from. In fact, at Planet Fitness, we’re so convinced by the value they bring we include free fitness training sessions as part of all memberships. 

Mind the Strength Machines

Speaking of the strength machines—it’s common to find them overwhelming. But like everything else, there’s a way to start slow and easy. Once you’ve toured your gym and asked any questions, you’re probably ready to try out a few machines yourself. Begin with the lowest weight possible on each device, and stick with low reps in your first few workouts to see how you feel afterward. 

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so what are you waiting for? Challenge yourself to get off that couch for just a few minutes and get moving. You can start at home for free on the PF App or stop by your local PF Gym.

The Couch to Gym Workout Collection

Starting to work out for the first time can feel intimidating, but rest assured: it is entirely obtainable. Planet Fitness has developed a Couch-to-Gym workout program to help you start exercising confidently where you feel most comfortable. The program begins with ten at-home workouts that you can do right in your living room. As you accomplish each one, you will learn the basics of fitness and build confidence in your fitness knowledge. The last four workouts will take you to the gym, where you will learn how to use essential fitness equipment to start a workout routine. 

Did we mention these workouts are free? You can download them right now in the PF App. National lead trainer Teddy Savage will teach you how to start working out. Remember, no matter where you are or what you know about fitness: You've got this!