A Fat Person’s (or any nervous person’s) guide to the gym

Now that gyms are re-opening are you wanting to take the plunge and join a gym? Feeling nervous about exercising in public? Read on!

Claire McGregor
6 min readSep 22, 2020


Image courtesy of author C McGregor.

I want to start this by saying that I do not consider myself an expert or a gym bunny. I have been going to the gym for years though and recently started posting photos of myself doing it on Instagram. To my surprise, I received a lot of questions on those posts. How I summoned up the courage to go, how I knew what to do when I was there and so on. For that reason I decided to put together this guide.

Advance warning — this is NOT a workout plan. This is simply about getting through the doors and getting acclimatised. That is often the hardest part though!

Finding a gym

This part is extremely important. Every town or city has a multitude of gyms these days and picking one can be overwhelming. Private, local authority, cheap or is more expensive better, big, small etc. None of these things matter that much though. It comes down to three things:

  1. The feel. When you walk in does it seem like a place you’d want to spend time? Most gyms offer tours so you can go and see how you feel about it before signing up. I like to make sure it’s well air-conditioned (a must), has a good range of cardio and weights machines and that the staff are visible and seem friendly and happy to help.
  2. The cost. There’s no point improving your fitness if your mental health suffers because you’re struggling to pay a membership you can’t afford. Memberships start from £10.99 a month for some gyms so make sure before you sign up that you can afford the fees.
  3. The location. It doesn’t matter if it’s the most amazing gym in the world and so reasonably priced if it takes you 2 buses and a walk to get there. Or an hour or more to drive there. Realistically once you get past the initial enthusiasm how often are you going to go if it’s that much effort? Particularly after a long day at work. Or when the nights are getting dark and cold. Pick one local to your home or work (or ideally both) and you’ll be much more likely to walk through the doors.



Claire McGregor

I’m a writer taking my time to learn what good writing’s about and get my blog off the ground. I want to connect and learn. My Blog https://www.cmoomuses.com