The way people act when faced with that first day in the gym is sometimes a bit goofy. But every time we get through the first day and the next, it always gets better. Here’s how to make it a bit easier.

Get In and Get Out

Here’s the easy, slow way.

Just drive to the gym parking lot and drive out.

Then drive there, go in and get a tour and ask about pricing and then leave.

Then go there and do a very light workout.

Then sign up and start working it up on a gradient.

Ripping Off the Band Aid

Go to the gym and get rolling on whatever exercise and shake the hand of at least 10 people and ask for their names.

This is a more direct approach.

But you can’t just go in and work yourself super hard. Your body works on gradients.

It can only take so much of a beating at one time. It can only build so much muscle at one time. There are limits. You just take what you were doing and increase your activity a little bit.

While it is an abrupt social change just being in the gym, go easy on your body at first and it won’t be difficult.

You want to make this change so that it sticks. You’re building a habit. Changing your lifestyle. Drilling things in and stamping things out.

It Is a Natural Sort of Fear That People Have

I’m not in any way trying to downplay the hesitation people have going into a gym. It is natural to want to protect yourself.

It is somewhat unnatural to want to destroy yourself.

But with experience in the gym and doing bigger and bigger workouts, you realize that you aren’t actually destroying yourself. As it takes more and more of a dose of exercise to make an effect on you, it just turns into fun.

Good chemicals get released in your body and, as your health increases, you want more. I’m not even going to go into the crazy mental health benefits of regularly exercising, but they are numerous and worthy of a full article.

The point I am trying to make here is that, yes, it is normal to be afraid of hurting yourself. Don’t consider yourself a total nutcase. And if you were to take a super easy runway of slightly increased gradients up to working out in the gym, then you wouldn’t feel so shy.

But getting established in a gym is the best way to improve your health. The whole social atmosphere carries you through those rough days. I definitely work harder when people are around and watching me. And especially when we are doing the same workouts.

Tips and Tricks to Overcoming the Inertia

Get friends involved. The more reasons you have to be in the gym, the more likely you are to get your butt in there.

I’m telling you to screw yourself over.

Get five friends super excited about going to the gym and get their agreement to meet there at a certain time. This way no matter how you feel, you don’t want to screw over your friends. You just added five reasons to go to the gym.

You want the best for them and they want the best for you. I have always gotten my clients to bring a friend. Sometimes I’ll be training someone and just ask them out of the blue who they know who might want to start training.

Once I get them thinking about it and they name a person, I offer a free week of training during the same hour as their friend. At the least, the gym gets someone else checking out their product. At the most I get a client too – and someone gets really fit and healthy.

Talk a trainer into something like that and you’ll be a saint to those who need a leg up into the gym.

My Devious Methods of Getting People in the Gym

As a fitness trainer, I’ve got all sorts of deceptive methods to get people through this first day.

#1: Bring in a family member for free.

I have them bring in a family member for free every once in a while. I don’t regulate it, but I make it available.

If a dad wants to bring in his son every once in a while, I make sure that he knows I’m cool with it.

#2: “Bring your friend day”

I tell people that they have a day where they can bring in any friend.

#3: I have an open house

This is a day where anyone can come into the gym and work out. Everyone has to sign a waiver, of course, but I just say, “This is your day to come in and check it out for free. Talk to us. Play with the machines. Use the bathroom. Take a spin class.”

This goes back to my very first point at the beginning of this: Just go there and walk away. Walk in and walk out. Run in and lift a dumbbell and run out. People may think you’re crazy – and you might be – but keep doing it and you’ll be a “regular.”

Once I get enough people to go inside and realize that they didn’t die, a few are going to say “Hey, I could come here on a regular basis and increase my health and fitness and lead a fuller life without having to be put on machines at some later point.”

And I sign them up and do my job to make sure that they are crazy fit.

#4 I talk to people at bars and random places

To overcome the initial hump of getting in the gym, I offer my services wherever I am. I have signed up some very steady and great clients while I was at bars, restaurants and concerts. The key here is “I’ll be there and I’ll introduce you to the area.”

Then we just get them started on a program that is right for them. Trainers are supposed to help people, you know.

Devious Advice for Getting Started

Get in touch with a fitness trainer. The first session is usually free.

If you have a friend who goes to a trainer, ask if you can pop in for a session.

If you are starting out, become devious yourself and try to find ways in to the gym. Go with a friend, a coworker, someone you know. Find a way to check it out by stopping by and selling your product. Check them out on Google Maps, find them on Facebook. See how happy their clients look.


I could write for years on ways to trick, deceive, coerce, encourage, pull, push, slide or otherwise hook people into getting into a gym.

My intention isn’t to take money from people that don’t want to better themselves. My intention is to provide a path from point A to point B. The big hump that many are scared to jump over – that leap into the gym.

That is where you have to get creative. Drive your friend to the gym and have a duffle bag of their gym clothes inside. I’ll be standing at the front door and welcome them in. The reactions I’ve seen people go through are beyond entertaining.

And once you do that, you’ll have a person who’s a part of your gym community, making themselves better and spreading that energy to everyone they know.

Fitness trainers can be a bit crazy at times and I’m no exception.

I actually do love my job and amid the stream of middle fingers and curse words, I know that my clients do truly love me deep down inside.

No matter how devious I am.

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