An open letter to the newbies at the gym this January

Here's a little guide to navigating your head-first plunge into your new fitness journey.

It's the dawn of a new year, and you've decided to put "getting fit" near the top of your New Year's Resolutions. Well, we're very pumped for you, because in case you didn't know, Men's Health is all about health and fitness. But we're here today to talk about the other stuff—specifically, a little guide to navigating your head-first plunge into your new fitness journey.

First of all, let's talk about why you're here. Perhaps you've noticed that your pants haven't been fitting right the past few months. Maybe you ate (drank?) an entire keg of ranch in one sitting. It's also possible that the hardest workout you had all year was the day took your air conditioner out of your window. Maybe you or a family member had a health scare, and you're taking a proactive approach to your wellness. Whatever it is, make sure you have a reason and you write it down, because you're going to need it, man.

Second step: Getting yourself geared up to go. There are two looks that scream "I don't know what the hell I'm doing here!" in a gym environment more than anything else: the guy who shows up for his first workout in cargo shorts and hiking boots; and the guy who is decked out, head-to-toe, in the most expensive workout apparel known to mankind. Do not be either of these guys. Go out and buy yourself a comfortable pair of sneakers. Then get a couple of sweat-wicking shirts and pairs of shorts. And some socks. Don't forget socks. And don't dress like a hobo, because ladies hate that.


Alright, you got your reason and your clothes. You're ready for action. You've signed up for a gym membership, committed to an entire year of fitness. You signed a contract that also felt like you were swearing, on your life, to come to the gym for at least 360 of the next 365 days. That's a normal feeling, and something that probably seems doable right now. You have so much energy, time for some damn fitness, man! Gainz!

This is where the #realtalk starts. It's going to sound harsh, but it's only because we care. You might not go to the gym 360 days of the year. Many, many guys just like you will not even go for more than 15 days. Our challenge to you is, don't be that guy going balls-to-the-walls every damn day, January 2nd to January 7th, only to never be seen again from January 8th onward...

...until the following January.

Don't be him. Instead, be the dude who starts small and builds. Don't start by going to the gym every damn day. Try going two times a week. Then three. Build up to five visits a week, because science says that's prime. Don't eat this shit after your workouts. Do workouts you enjoy. Lift some weights. Throw a little bit of cardio into the mix. Check out Men's Health for workout ideas, because we have a shit-ton of them. Really, we have so many. Check out our Metashred Extreme workout if you need some extra inspiration.

Good luck with your sweat journey, you damn champion.


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