Workout articles, healthy lifestyle tips, and fitness advice.

What to Do at the Gym If You're a Beginner

woman checking in at Planet Fitness front desk, with staff member behind desk
Wondering what to do at the gym? We've got you.

by Catherine Santino

Let's face it: The gym can be scary for a beginner. Whether you're a fitness newbie or getting back in the game, not knowing what to do at the gym can be a very real fear.

But it truly doesn't have to be; especially at a place like Planet Fitness, where everyone is welcome and you can go at your own pace! Your first workout doesn't have to be intense — in fact, it probably shouldn't be. Easing yourself into it is the best way to create a consistent routine that you actually enjoy (which is the most important part).

Here are some ways to get started in the gym and take the first steps toward a better you.

Chat With the Staff

The Planet Fitness staff is super friendly and here to help you! A simple "hello" to a staff member when you walk in the door can really boost your mood and therefore, your confidence in the gym.

It'll be much easier to go back to the gym regularly if you know that there are friendly people there rooting for you.

Ask for a Tour

Don't know what to do at the gym? Don't be afraid to ask for help — that's what the staff members are there for! A quick tour of the facility or even a demo of some of the machines can be extremely beneficial. Signing up for Planet Fitness' free PE@PF program is a great way to familiarize yourself with machinery (especially the ones that look complicated!). A trainer will provide you with a complete demonstration to get you feeling comfortable in no time!

Once you know how to use the equipment (or even know where the bathrooms are), your gym experience will be much less stressful.

Get Started on a Simple Machine

If you're unsure where to start, sticking with the basics is a great way to go. Hop on the treadmill (or another machine that you may be familiar with and find somewhat simple to maneuver) and start at a gentle pace. Work your way up to a run — or don't! The leg press or lat pulldown machines are also some great, straightforward options for weight training.

Even if you don't have an intense sweat session, you'll have still moved your body and gotten accustomed to the gym equipment. And that's a solid start.

Try a 30-Minute Circuit

Circuit training is a super effective way to train, whether you're a beginner or a more experienced gym-goer, and is the perfect solution when you don't know what to do at the gym. It allows you to work multiple muscle groups in one workout, is easy to do both in and out of the gym, and the best part: It's a pre-planned workout, so all you have to do is follow along.

Planet Fitness' PE@PF program offers even more guidance when it comes to circuit training. Along with instruction on the cardio and strength machines, trainers are also available to design an exercise program to help you meet your goals and get the most out of your workouts.

As you continue to challenge yourself in the gym, it's also helpful to share your success with others who will motivate you to keep going. Stepping into the gym at all is something to celebrate, so be proud! Share your gym selfies or accomplishments to Planet of Triumphs, or tag Planet Fitness in your social media posts and celebrate every moment in your journey (big or small!).

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.