It doesn't matter if your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, get a six-pack, improve strength or to simply scope out a gym for the first, everyone has to start somewhere and that can be a daunting task. But with the right diet, a good training programme and commitment to the cause, it's possible to alter the human body in some seriously staggering way. Need proof? Check out internationally recognised Men’s Physique competitor and seriously swole dude Ryan Terry.
The guy knows how to work out (and how to eat) and as a result, has picked up over 1 million Instagram fans that regularly tune in to get updates on his progress, workout tips and generally gawp in amazement at his many muscular achievements.
We chatted to the man himself about some of the most common gym mistakes, the best approach to diet and supplements, as well as some general tips on how to get started on sculpting a new physique.
Set your goals
"It is a good idea to have a think about what your goals are in the first place, because that will have a big impact on how you train and, more importantly, how you eat," Ryan explains.
"Around 20 per cent of your overall goal will be achieved through exercise but the remaining 80 per cent will be thanks to getting exactly the right nutrition inside your body at the right times," he adds.
Of course, those looking to lose some serious body fat will have to curb the calories somewhat but there's a little bit more to it than to simply stop eating.
"The body needs a delicate balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals," says Ryan. "It's best to try and get these through healthy, natural foods and aim to keep the body stocked up with nutrients throughout the day. For me, that means eating six to seven meals a day that include a source of protein, carbs and fats, which helps me to build muscle but also to keep body fat down," he adds.
We've got a bunch of guides that can help folk to shed some pounds, while we've also put our own bodies on the line to test out some of these new meal supplement powders that seem to be all the rage right now.
Don't be afraid of resistance training
"There's a common misconception that the only way to lose weight is by hitting one of the cardio machines and pounding that for hours on end," Ryan explains.
"While this might work to a point, there is plenty to benefit from picking up some weights and doing some resistance training, as it has been proven to burn more calories and build muscle. It is particularly true with women, who often claim they don't want to become too muscular but this shouldn't really be an issue. I know how hard it is to build physical, obvious muscle and just lifting a few weights isn't going to result in a body builder's physique!" he adds.
So, you've set your goals and now it's time to put this all into action. We would recommend checking out some of our brilliant workout guides that can help everyone, from seasoned gym-goers to absolute beginners, get the most out of their sessions?
Don't fancy jumping into a gym membership? Fret not, because plenty of our workouts don't require any specialist equipment. Plus, we've got some great guides on home workout equipment you can buy now to beat the hordes of sweaty fitness fanatics.
Master these moves...
"Anyone who wants to improve strength, lose fat and increase muscle mass should master the difficult compound lifts. This will form a very important basis for anyone hitting resistance training for the first time," Ryan explains.
"Learn how to perform the deadlift properly and safely, the squat is an excellent power builder, the overhead barbell military press and finally, the bench press will all form a great foundation to start from. In fact, these four exercises will work all of the major muscle groups and will really help to build strength and power," he adds.
We've got an excellent workout plan, which talks you through some of these moves and how to perform them to perfection.
"For those who really want to build strength and muscle, it will be about loading up the weights for low reps and enjoying long rest periods in-between sets. But fat-burners can look to use these same moves over much higher reps with much shorter rest periods," he adds.
What about supplements?
"I would always recommend a good, healthy, balanced diet before anyone starts sampling a load of supplements, but they are essential to assist in certain elements of training," Ryan explains.
"A chicken breast is an excellent source of protein but it can take up to three hours to digest. There's a window of recovery following a hard workout where the body will look for assistance, so getting a quality whey protein shake in straight after can really help," he adds.
Still confused by all of this supplement chat? Why not take a look at our handy guide, which talks through everything supplement-related, from protein to BCAAs and beyond.
Ryan Terry is an ambassador for leading sports nutrition brand USN, which has just launched its new USN Trust lifestyle range. To find out more visit www.usn.co.uk