A Beginner’s Guide To The Gym

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Visiting the gym for the very first time can be a rather discouraging experience. You’re surrounded by jacked up guys doing reps with weights you could never imagine holding, let alone lifting. There are all sorts of crazy-looking machines used to train muscle groups you didn’t even know existed and the majority of exercises looks difficult and exhausting, to say the least. But even the strongest weightlifters, who’s biceps look wider than your waste, had to start somewhere and the very fact that you actually showed up to the gym is a step in the right direction.

beginners guide to the gym

The Beginners Guide To The Gym For “Dummies”

Weightlifting is more than a simple act of pumping weights. It is a complex discipline that requires an exact way in which a specific exercise needs to be performed in order to be effective and accomplish your goals without getting injured. Whether your aim is to improve strength and gain lean muscle mass, lose weight and get fit or simply reinforce your efforts of leading a healthier lifestyle, here are some things you need to know about your first time at the gym. Let's get started with this “Beginners Guide To The Gym“.

Gym Etiquette That EVERYONE Should Follow

Don't Be The Unhygienic Towel Person

One of the first things people will tell you is to bring a towel to the gym to wipe the benches, equipment, and machines you use. However, can you imagine wiping your face with that towel? Of course not, which is the reason why you should always bring two towels: one for wiping off sweat and one for the equipment. After you’ve finished an exercise, make sure to return every barbell, dumbbell, weight or any other piece of equipment you have used to its proper place.

Machines Are Not For Lounging

Avoid using machines as resting spots, especially when there’s someone waiting to use them. It’s not uncommon for people to use the same machine and rotate in between sets. If a machine you need is already being used, all you have to do is ask politely. It’s very uncommon for people to refuse sharing a machine, especially when working out in a smaller gym or during rush hour. The same applies when you’re unsure how to do a specific exercise or use a particular machine: simply ask the employees or a fellow gym member and they will be more than happy to provide an explanation.

Leave The Digital Distractions At The Door

Although cellphones are allowed in almost every gym, you should never use one during exercise. Many people rely on smartphones to help them keep track of their workouts, time-specific exercises or listen to music to help them get through. This is perfectly normal and understandable, but talking on your phone in the middle of the gym, breaking everyone’s concentration and distracting them from their workout is certainly not. It's better to invest in a fitbit or other smart band to assist during your workout and remove any distractions.

The Right Performance Gear Can Make Or Break Your Workout

Having the right workout clothes is also very important for a number of reasons. Whether we’re talking tights, tanks sports bras or reliable bodybuilding shoes, workout apparel is designed to allow you to move freely during the workout and perform your exercises comfortably and correctly. Additionally, the very act of getting into your gym clothes acts as a psychological boost and helps you get into the “zone”.

Training Tips For Newbies

Proper form is essential. The single, most common mistake people make in the gym is using too much weight right off the bat. This results in improper form, which greatly reduces the effectiveness of your exercise and could lead to injury. Make sure you start off slow, using weights that you’re comfortable with and working your way up as you progress. Bad posture, weight swinging and relying on momentum to finish an exercise are tell-tale signs you’re using too much weight. On the other hand, not using enough weight means your muscles are not working hard enough and you’ll not be making any progress at all.

Pay attention to the timing of reps and rest periods. Lastly, weights should always be lifted in a slow, controlled manner. This ensures that your muscles are under adequate tension and are producing enough force and prevents tissue, muscle and joint trauma. Avoid rushing through the repetitions, but at the same time avoid resting for too long. The recommended period for resting in-between sets is around three minutes. If you spend less time resting then your muscles will get fatigued more quickly, but taking too long to rest and your muscles cooling off increases your chance of injury.

Bottom Line: Each Gym Has Their Own Set Of Rules, But These Should Help You Get Started Anywhere

What you want to accomplish will determine the type of exercise you should do. You can always ask the employees and gym member for some pointers, but if you’re still unsure of what it is you’re supposed to do, you might want to invest in a personal trainer. Have in mind that no matter how hard you’re working out, you will hardly experience any real results without making changes to your everyday diet. Reduce the number of carbs and fats you take in and consider drinking a protein shake after your workout for optimal results. 

After reading this beginners guide to the gym, if you don't think the gym is the right place for you, you may want to check out this list of top workout programs (which can be done from home) here: https://defendyourhealthcare.us/top-workouts-and-diets

Samantha has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Ripped.me, or in a tea shop.

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