Gym Fitness for Nerds and Geeks: Beginner Workout Plan

Aside from getting in the habit of doing daily workouts and having the willpower not to shovel cakes into your face’s cakehole, going to the gym can be mentally exhausting. Especially if you’re a beginner. The sheer amount of equipment to learn can crit your determination for a million hit points, not to mention if you don’t have a workout plan. You can find yourself roaming the floor of the gym, standing in the squat rack, baffled why people are looking at you weird.

It is no wonder why most people new to exercising only last a week, on average. Not only do you have all the unfamiliar machines to figure out, you have other people staring at you. If you’re a guy, can feel their beady little eyes judging you as you fumble around weights or treadmills trying to figure out what to do, and if you are a woman, you have to worry about “them” wanting to undress you while you pump away on an elliptical trainer.

It is extremely difficult to want to go to the gym when you’ve never been before. The hardest part is to silence the voices in your head that keep chipping away at your self-esteem.

If you’re new to it all, you can’t go in without a plan. And not even just a workout routine for which machines, but a workout plan for conquering the gym itself. As a gamer, I go into the gym like it’s a dungeon in my favorite MMO.

Power upping with video game energy drinks (Photo credit: Mr. & Mrs. S.V.)

Your Beginner’s Gym Workout Plan:

  1. I figure out what I want to do before I get there. (See? a workout plan)
  2. I research equipment I want to use. (The internet is awesome!)
  3. I set aside a reasonable amount of time to be in gym. (30 mins is enough for me)
  4. I familiarize myself with the gym prior to working out. (Most gyms have a free orientation briefing)
  5. I focus on what I need to do. (Like a horse with blinders on looking at a carrot hanging from a stick 2 inches from my nose)
  6. I bring my appropriate gear. (workout clothes and music)
  7. I’m polite to others working out. (This is super important.)
  8. I do not look at other people working out. (It’s rude to stare even if you’re learning. Just use a quick glance if you need a pointer.)
  9. I clean equipment and put away anything I’ve used before I leave. (Sweat is disgusting and leaving weights around the gym can be a hazard to yourself and others.)
  10. I expect to be tired and in pain for a couple days afterwards. (Don’t try to do everything in one day.)

As you can see, these are pretty much the same strategies that new raiders go through when they’re trying to take down a new world boss.

Your MMO Newbie Raid Plan:

  1. I read up on strategies.
  2. I research the best weapons and builds I can use for the dungeon.
  3. I set up raid times with my family so I can commit to it.
  4. I test out my build and double check all the possible drops I can get so I don’t fumble around wondering if a drop is an upgrade or not.
  5. I go to the bathroom and wait outside the dungeon ready to go.
  6. I get my headset on, make sure my gear is at 100%, and get the appropriate extras I need to win.
  7. I only talk or type when I need to and I say please a lot.
  8. I don’t roll on gear just to get something and I don’t mess around.
  9. I say thank you when I leave the group and clean up around my computer.
  10. Work is going to suck the next day. I stayed up too late raiding.

They’re pretty much the same as long as you can prepare yourself mentally beforehand. All that is fine and dandy in theory, but what about the real mental blocks?

  • I’m too fat to be in the gym.
  • People are going to judge me.
  • Men just want to stare at my boobies shake.
  • I hate those loud muscle-heads.
  • They’re all going to laugh at me.

Those are the things we say to ourselves that keeps us from staying healthy. Most people have a lot more self-doubt than they have strong-ego. For the sake of our health, we have to muffle those voices and workout. You can have the best workout plan in the world, prepped by the best trainer or coach you know, and if you aren’t mentally prepared, you’ll wipe.

Entering the Dungeon: Trash Mobs

Personal trainer showing a client how to exercise the right way and educating them along the way. The semi-spherical device is a BOSU. Category:Fitness Category:Fitness_training Category:Personal_training Category:Stretching Category:Challenges to physical balance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You roll up the scroll (or close the iPhone, maybe?) that reads “Beginner’s Workout Plan,” and you enter the gym sporting full chain mail and your +100 to spirit mace. Before you even get to the first piece of equipment you have hack your way through waves of trash mobs (Dirty little dudebro trolls). They have knockbacks and stun spells and the special power of the “whassup nod,” but you came prepared. You quickly block them with your mighty iPod shield and +3 earbuds, and you charge through them knocking them into the fiery abyss somewhere out of your vision of “give a crap.”

Man, that was way easier than your coach’s workout plan made you think it would be…but now you have to deal with the first boss of the gym/dungeon:

Lord Muscle Brains

Standing before you is the largest, most ripped, loud mouthed, grotesque, jerk of a dungeon boss you’ve ever laid eyes on.

Very abstract vectorisations with 3-4 colors, but it looks like s/w-photography. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s like if Grom Hellscream himself were standing in front of you. You check your backpack for some kind of potion to save you, andyou realize you might not survive this fight. You pop energy drinks, load up on magic pills, and hope for the best. Unfortunately, none of that will save you.

The only way to beat him is to outwit him. So you open up your phone, check the workout plan, and figure out what to do next.

From all the strat videos you watched you remember a key factor in beating this boss, the silence spell. You quickly extend your iPod shield and crank up the beats. Grabbing your mace tight, you double tap the controls forward to dodge an incoming attack. Lord Muscle Brains trips and falls in that magic abyss along with the trash mobs.

Final Boss: Yourself

Against all odds, you’ve made it this far, but the fight is not over yet.

In front of you stands your worst enemy, one that your beginner’s workout plan couldn’t prepare you for. No amount of coaching or internet research could prep you for this cold-hearted final boss.

You can’t get away. There are no guides online. There is no gear that will protect you.

Staring back at you in the 100 mirrors lining the gym walls is…you. You can leave and let yourself down again, or you can stay and fight. You can give into your self doubt and be miserable for not following through with the whole raid or you can save yourself. (You are the princess at the end of this castle.)

The Loot!

MMO Loot Chest

I am a personal trainer and I have doubts every time I walk in the gym. It never goes away, but we all have to fight it in order to stay healthy.

Every time you go to the gym you level up. Just like in a video game, leveling up makes the dungeon easier and easier to do. The monsters in the gym never go away; you just get stronger physically and mentally.

The only way to get the epic loot is to play the game.

Today’s guest post was brought you by Scarybooster, a personal training, MMO playing supergeek. If not for his advice this past year, my own weight training and weight loss would definitely be in a much worse place.


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  1. rowan

    Awesome! I seriously don’t know why no one has hired you as a writer. You’re funny and inspirational, and have repeatedly proven you don’t need a sailor’s vocabulary to be so.

    I must say though, while my gym time time has been sporadic, I’ve never encounter the scary creatures you describe. I’m sure they exist, maybe it’s just the gyms and community I’m in.

    • B.J. Keeton

      I agree on both counts. Part of it for me is that I don’t talk to people in the gym or interact with others. I read about people who make gym friends, but I think I’m too closed off to do that. I need to get more open about it. 😉

      • Scarybooster

        Bringing a friend or making friends in the gym can be very motivational. They can help you break through plateaus, keep you on track, and be there for safety. Being a loudmouthed gym-rat on the other hand, hinders others trying to focus.

        Most people (myself included) have minimal time to workout. Spending the extra time waiting for people to chat over a piece if equipment you’ve planned out for your routine, can be frustrating. Going solo or bringing an existing friend helps budget time more wisely. Personally, I don’t have time to talk to others unless its to be polite in passing. I go into the gym super focused.


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