This Beginner Workout Will Help You Get the Most Out of Your Gym

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Anytime Fitness Kettlebells

Did you recently decide that it’s time to start (or re-start) your fitness journey? Congratulations! Sometimes that can be the hardest part. But progress doesn’t happen overnight, regardless of how hard we wish. The first step—after acceptance and eagerness to change—is understanding what tools you have at your disposal. With so many different fad diets, workout plans, apps, and fitness articles circulating out there, it can be hard to know where to start. So that’s where we come in!

Each Anytime Fitness club is decked out with all of the gym equipment and machines you’ll need and many offer coaching and tools that will benefit your workout program and help you see (and feel) the results. But as a beginner or gym-newbie (for both men and women), it can be intimidating to walk into a gym for the first time and have no idea where anything is. So lucky for you, we’ve put together this beginner workout that will “tour” the gym and help you learn where a lot of common equipment and machines are located.

Remember: tools alone do not dictate your success. So while you’ll have access to all the equipment you might need, learning how to use them effectively is key.

When you join Anytime Fitness, you’re joining more than a gym. You’re joining a community of people (owners, coaches, staff, and members) who want to help you have your own success story! So if you need help, just ask. If you don’t know what your goals should be yet—we can help with that, too! Whether your goals are to lose a few pounds of fat and get in shape, or increase PRs on lifts like the squat and bench press, our coaches will give you suggestions for workout routines, nutrition and diet tips, and ways to track your progress each week. For more information or to know what to expect at your complimentary fitness consultation, talk to a coach, club manager, or check out this article to get answers to all of your questions.

Let’s get to it!

First-Time Workout

Fitness level: Beginner

Major muscle groups: Upper body, lower body, & core

Time: less than an hour

If it’s your first time in a gym, chances are that you’re likely going to resort to a workout routine that you’re comfortable with, like a cardio session and not a quick HIIT workout. Why? One of the reasons is likely that you know exactly where the treadmills are and how to use them. Sound about right?

While that’s OK and even understandable in the beginning, you’ll eventually need to venture outside of your comfort zone in order to reach your goal. Plus, could you imagine spending multiple straight days—or even weeks or months—on only the treadmill? We can’t.

This full-body workout will help you navigate the different training areas of your gym, all while giving you a great workout! We’ve combined different cardio machines, as well as strength training movements, to familiarize yourself with all kinds of equipment. You’ll complete a quick warm-up, three different supersets to work each muscle group of your entire body, and a finisher. If you’re not sure how to complete a movement, be sure to read our step-by-step how-to! It’s important to complete all movements with proper form for maximum results. Lastly, remember to go at your own pace! Keep your fitness ability in mind. If you’re just starting out, use light weights and take ample rest time (60 seconds to 90 seconds) to avoid fatigue-related injuries. The goal of this workout isn’t to see how fast you can finish, but to perform each movement and repetition with confidence and strength.

Our tour of the gym will start with the cardio space to get your heart rate up, move to the strength machines, get some free weights in, and even try some of that “functional” stuff that the cool kids have been talking about. Are you ready? Grab your water bottle, turn up the volume of your fav playlist, and let’s get to this full-body workout!


Elliptical for 5 minutes

This is a great way to get your heart pumping and to warm up all of your muscle groups before diving in. The elliptical uses almost all body parts and is a perfect low-impact option for those who struggle with pain or injury in their joints. It’s also a great option for rest days!

Pro-tip:  you’ve never used the elliptical before, start with no resistance until you find your balance and rhythm, then you can bump it up a bit.

  1. Stand upright and push your feet forward, avoid leaning forward with your weight on the handlebars or console.
  2. If your machine has movable handles, use them to give you more of a total body workout.

Scapular Pulldown

10 Reps, 3 Sets

Muscles worked: Shoulders, biceps, forearms, lats, core

1 – Grasp the pulldown bar using a shoulder-width grip with your arms extended straight overhead.

2 – Pull your shoulder blades down as far as you can, keeping your arms straight.

Stay as straight as a board and do not sway back and forth. Push your feet into the ground for extra stability.

Equipment Sub: Resistance bands

Seated Uni Close Row (10 each arm)

10 Reps, 3 sets 

Muscles worked: lats, rhomboids (shoulder blades), trapezius (neck, shoulders, upper back), biceps, triceps

1 – Sit holding the handle in one hand with your arm straight out in front, your palm facing in and your back flat. Your feet should be flat on the ground.

2 – Pull the handle straight into your chest.

Keep a straight spine throughout and do not sway back and forth or twist at your wrist.

Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.


Alternating Dumbbell Press

10 Reps, 3 Sets

Muscles worked: chest, triceps, deltoids, abs

1 – Stand upright holding the dumbbells at shoulder height with your elbows bent and your palms facing forward. Press one dumbbell overhead, extending your arm fully.

2 – Lower this dumbbell and then press the other overhead, keeping your back flat throughout.

Perform one rep on one side, then switch to the other side. Alternate sides with each rep.

Sub: Plates

Still Leg Deadlift

10 Reps, 3 sets 

Muscles worked: quads, hamstrings, glutes, back

1 – Stand upright holding the dumbbells at your thighs with your arms straight and your feet hip-width apart.

2 – Lower the dumbbells to just below your knees shifting your hips back and keeping your legs straight. Keep your head peering forward—this will allow your back to be flat and your spine fully extended.

3 – Return to the upright start position.

Note: it is normal to feel stretches in your hamstring and calf muscle. If intense pain persists, skip the weights and focus on hamstring stretches instead. If this is too easy, try standing on a low plyo box to increase the range of motion.

Equipment Sub: Barbell, Plates

Kettlebell Front Squat

10 Reps, 3 Sets

Muscles worked: quads, glutes, upper back, core

1 – Stand upright holding a kettlebell in both hands at your upper chest with your feet shoulder-width apart on the ground.

2 – Squat down, sending your hips back, bending your knees to a 90 degree angle, keeping the kettlebell at chest height.

3 – Push your heels (not your toes) into the floor to return to the upright position, keeping your back flat throughout.

TRX Crossover Lunge 

10 Reps, 3 sets (10 each leg)

Muscles worked: quads, glutes, calves, abs

1 – Stand upright holding the handles with your arms extended in front.

2 – Step forward and across in front of your other leg, lowering your body down to make a 90-degree angle with your front leg and leaning your torso slightly forward. Your front foot should be flat on the ground, and your back toe should point towards the floor.

3 – Push off the front foot to return to the start position.

Row Machine for 4 minutes

Muscles worked: upper body, lower body, core

Almost every facility will have a rowing machine, you just may need to look for it! The rowing machine is a great tool to help you get in shape, as it uses almost every muscle and body part!

1 – Sit upright as you row and do not hunch forward at the beginning of the stroke or lean back too far at the end.

2 – Push through your legs as you pull the handle into your chest in one fluid motion not two separate actions.

Return to starting position.


Nice job. You’re done!

It’s important to note that it may take a few sessions, in fact it could take a few weeks before you start to feel comfortable and learn where everything is located on the floor. That is normal! Building routines in life takes time, just like losing fat and getting in shape. With a little courage and commitment, you will be a seasoned gym-goer in no time. Remember, each step—no matter how small—is a step in your fitness journey!

Other tips for getting started in the gym:

  1. Work out with a friend for accountability. The solution to never missing another workout: training with a fitness partner! This could be a friend, a coach, or someone from a group training class. A supportive community is a crucial component of any success story—for both men and women! In case you’re not sure how to approach a potential training pal, check out our guide here.
  2. Download our Anytime Fitness app. Yes, we have an app! When you download the Anytime Fitness app you can track gym visits, find new locations, get access to hundreds of workout plans, log daily exercise and activity, and so much more right from your phone. It also allows people to chat with their coach no matter where they are! Pretty cool, right? Download the app on any iPhone or Android device today!
  3. Coach. Care. Connect. If you have a question in mind, we have an answer! Coach. Care. Connect. is the place to go for workout program advice, nutrition tips, member success stories, and so much more.
  4. Take advantage of your free Get Started plan. Yes, we know we already mentioned this—but we really mean it! Not sure how many calories to eat in a day, or how much protein, carbs, and fat your diet should include? Or maybe you don’t know how many pounds to gain or lose? A coach can help you with that! It’s important to first set a goal, then come up with a program to help you reach it. Check with a coach or club manager to learn what other services your club provides.

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