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Weight Loss NHS
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Gym newb - please help!

I finally bit the bullet, after much umming and ahhing, and joined my uni gym. I've arrived at uni, fully equipped with trainers, towels, bottled water and Lucozade... and now I find myself about 5 minutes away from going, because I have no idea what to do when I get there! It's bad enough being fat amongst hyper-fit sports students, let alone being clueless as well!! Does anyone have any tips? I have around an hour to kill, although I know I don't habe to use all that time.

9 Replies

I felt a bit like this when I first signed up to my new gym in July! The last gym I used before that was just one small room, so it was easy to plan a work out then. I did a circuit using each of the machines once. Stepping foot into the new gym there was about 50 different options so did not know where to start :)

When I first joined I had an induction from the gym staff and they pointed me towards a magazine rack they have with gym sessions for different targets (e.g. get fit, toned arms). When I didn't know how to do something I just asked for help. E.g. I had never used free weights before (chest press, squats etc.) so I got one of the trainers to watch my form and make sure I was doing it right. If your gym isn't staffed, I bet you could ask for help from some of those "hyper-fit" students. They had to start sometime as well and I hope they would like sharing their expertise! It is worth looking at youtube as well for guides to proper form for particular exercises or suggestions for routines.

My routine now is:

Cardio to warm up: 20 minutes, usually using cross-trainer (other options at my gym are rowing, bike, treadmill, stepper)

Strength training: 2 sets of 10-12 reps on each exercise. I vary the exercises for strength training quite a lot, but usually do 4-5 different exercises. (On Tuesday I was focusing on legs so I did squats with barbell, lunges with dumbbell, calf raise (on leg press machine), deadlifts with barbell.)

15 minutes exercise bike


15-20 minute swim

The gym part (without swimming) takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

I don't know how new you are to this, so sorry if I told you some things you already know! Hope you enjoyed your gym session.


Hey Jen, thank you so much! I know literally nothing, other than "warm up = good". I'd love to do the swimming, but we don't have a pool. I'm mostly trying to do it for weight loss, but obviously would also like to tone as I go - will I need to do strength training from the word go? I think I hear strength training and have this picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is so far from where I want to be!!! Is it just a case of everything in moderation?

We do have an induction session, which I didn't realise before I arrived. I thought it was just "pay, go in, play with the machines a bit, go home", but turns out they do actually SHOW you what to do with the equipment. that's booked for tomorrow, which is great. I'm sort of looking forward to it now!


Haha - I'm definitely not aiming for the Arnie look yikes! :)

Please don't be worried about ending up looking "bulky". I'm pretty sure it takes a lot of effort to get huge muscles, like hours in the gym multiple days per week lifting very heavy weights. Obviously people vary a bit, but I've been doing strength training for about 3 months and I have lost about 1 stone in that time and I feel stronger but I certainly don't look that muscled :)

If your aim is to be healthy and looked toned, then I recommend doing some strength training, as it helps minimise losing muscle as you lose weight. It doesn't have to be with weights though if you don't fancy trying that. You can also do body weight exercise (e.g. pushup) or use resistance machines. The official NHS guidelines for physical activity recommend that everyone should include some strength training as part of their weekly routine:


An added benefit of more muscles is that your metabolism is faster, which helps with weight loss:


Hope your induction goes well.


I was 3 stone overweight when I started back at the gym and doing exercise classes. My induction was a general all round body workout which I followed twice a week for about 4 weeks before changing the programme. Once I got into doing lots of cadio the weight fell off. I now do a lot of body conditioning classes and one of the best is body pump where you use weights and barbells - lots of repetition of movement to tone up rather than get bulky :-) Good luck and hope you enjoy it!


Ditch the lucozade for a start. High-glycaemic foods cause fluctuations in blood glucose that you don't want.


Lucozade has a lot of calories too. For some reason I find it's a great hangover cure, but apart from that I never drink it. :-)


I started at gym two months ago and felt the same as you. Now settled in. Like anything new takes a while to get used to. Give it a few weeks and you'll wonder why so worried at start. Have fun :-)


I did it today!!! I spent an hour and a half there - half an hour on induction, 20 minutes real cardio (stationery bike), 5 minutes warm down, 20 minutes on a crosstrainer, 5minutes warm down, shower, change, home!

I surprised myself with how well I did actually - didn't think I was anywhere near fit enough for that.

Thanks all - I'll definitely be going back!


Good; always leave yourself wanting more! :-)


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