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Tips for gym newbies: Go slowly and keep going

Start slowly, and be consistent - make gym part of your lifestyle. Picture: Supplied

Start slowly, and be consistent - make gym part of your lifestyle. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 3, 2020


This is the time of the year when gyms often see their numbers soar because so many of us are trying to get in shape.

It might be a New Year’s resolution or just a new lease on life that makes us jump up and get to the nearest gym.

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Your first time can be an overwhelming experience, from having to learn how to use machines to getting used to other gym-goers.

Botle Kayamba, a fitness trainer and owner of Botle Fitness - which teaches people about healthy lifestyles - says people should stay committed to going to the gym. 

Here are her tips:

Don’t be afraid to ask

People injure themselves because they are afraid to ask. People can avoid injury by asking instructors and other people at the gym.

Focus on your goal

Don’t compare yourself with people who have been gyming for years. Focus on yourself and your goals and be patient when it comes to progress. Enjoy the process.

Remember why you started

It’s still early so stay motivated and be realistic.

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Fitness influencer Juanita Khumalo, who is passionate about health and wellness, shares her tips:

Master the correct technique

To help you stay injury-free, try to improve your form, which is most important, and look to progress gradually. When it comes to increasing weights, do it incrementally.


Stretching correctly after each workout and even before is a must. Afterwards is easier as your muscles are still warm and flowing with rich, oxygenated blood.

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Eat smartly

It’s no secret that obtaining your body goals involves 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. It is impossible to train well while eating a poor diet.

“Get your diet right, and ensure that your body is in calorie deficit if weight loss is a goal.”

Virgin Active South Africa says you should set yourself some attainable goals and take small steps to become your best self. Their tips:

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Breathe deeply

Very few of us breathe correctly. Do this simple exercise twice a day to improve your blood flow, digestion, posture and more: Take air in through your nose for two seconds and fill your stomach, then breathe out slowly through your lips.

Mix it up

Join an exercise class (or two) with a friend to keep motivated and really drive results. Whether you prefer stretching out in a yoga or pilates class or hopping on a bike in a Ride class, Virgin Active’s group exercise classes are designed for all fitness levels.

Be kind

It’s important to know that people have different reasons for why they go to the gym. Don’t mock or sneak photos of people who may be going there to lose weight.

Don’t be a de-motivator at the gym: it takes courage and consistent motivation to go to the gym, and keep going.

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