The gym can be intimidating. I’ve been going steadily for two years now and I still have to tell myself to be comfortable and be confident. It’s all the people around you that seem to know what they’re doing (with the keyword being seem!), the people with the big muscles, the loud music – it makes sense that you’d feel a little less sure – especially if you knew to work out.
All that being said – you can’t let it spook you. You’ll never be comfortable working out at the gym if you never work out at the gym! Here’s the general advice:

1. Get a couple of sessions with a PT couple of fitness models doing the pushups

Most gyms when you sign up offer you a session or two for free, pay for two more and get a feel for correct form and posture.

2. Head for the machines and start with low reps and low weights Portrait of athlete young African woman gripping wide bar of plate loaded lat pulldown machine. Woman doing wide grip lat pulldown exercise (back exercise) at GYM.

You don’t need to use all the machines every time; you’ll want to choose a certain part of your body to target each time and use the machines that will work that.

Now for the specifics. These are 3 machines you can use, with little to no risk of poor form or bodily injury, that will give you a pretty good full-body workout.

1. Seated leg press

You sit down. Make sure to adjust the seat to set how close your knees are to your chest in the relaxed position. Select a low weight to start, and if it feels like almost no work at all, take it up to the next weight increment. While it should feel doable, after a few sets and a few rounds you’ll want to feel the muscle fatigue to know you got a solid workout.

2. Hanging Leg Raise

Kind of like a chair with no seat. ‘Stand’ in the seat so that your back is against the back support and your arms are ‘resting’ on the arm rests. Keeping your legs together, slowly raise them so that they are just north of perpendicular to your upper body, and then slowly lower them. Your core and hips benefit the most in this exercise.

3. Lat pull-down machine

Sit on the bench, adjusting the height of the knee pads so they sit snug above your knees. Make sure to adjust the weight; again start light but find something with a good level of resistance. Stand up, grab a hold of the bar with two hands and bring yourself back down into seated position. Lean back ever so slightly so that you’re at a bit of an angle, and pull the bar down so that it’s at chest height, relax your muscles enough to stretch out and then pull it down again.

Lastly, don’t be put off by anyone or anything else. Come with what you’ve got planned in mind, focus on what you came to do and your progress, and commit to that. You can do it.

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams