A Beginners Guide to the Gym
So, the beginning of January often brings an influx of 'newbies' into the gym with strong intentions to improve their health and fitness, does this sound like you? We were all new to the gym once, even that guy grunting in the corner lifting more than you can even count! I've compiled some of my top tips into a handy beginner guide to help you get more out of your up-coming gym sessions.
1. Believe in yourself Confidence goes a long way and even if you're faking it no one has to know! Everyone was new in the gym once and so don't worry about making a mistake and people judging you - we've all done it. Train hard and consistently and the results will happen. The gym is a place for learning and positive development, which is a unique process for everyone so no one else's development will be the same as yours, which leads me on to... 2. Stop comparing yourself to others Comparing yourself to someone else in the gym will not get you anywhere - sounds harsh but it's true! No one else's journey to where they are now will be the same as your journey, so it is much easier to just focus on yourself. However, this is a mistake that many people make, particularly when focusing on aesthetics. Try and focus on full body health rather than aesthetic goals to help build a better you. 3. Learn basic gym language Reps - 'repetition' how many times you repeat an exercise in succession with no rest e.g. 10 reps Sets - How many times you repeat a sequence of reps e.g. 3 sets of 10 reps DOMS - 'delayed onset muscle soreness' the muscle ache some people get after a workout - however if you don't get it that doesn't mean you haven't worked hard enough! Drop set - Reducing the weight significantly and doing another set of the same exercise with that lower weight immediately Superset - Doing sets of two different exercises back-to-back with no rest Giant set - Doing sets of three different exercises back-to-back with no rest Working in - Allowing someone else to use the same piece of equipment as you whilst you are resting/between sets 1RM - The highest weight you can lift for a particular exercise for 1 rep only Spot - Having someone to watch you whilst using heavy weights in case you get stuck. If you don't have someone to spot you in the gym be sensible with what weights you are using. 4. Don’t be afraid to ask how to use a piece of equipment It is better to be safe having asked for confirmation on how to use something that get injured and not be able to go to the gym because you were afraid to ask. No one will judge you, that’s one of things the PT's are in the gym for! 5. Don’t be afraid to try new things Not every exercise you are shown during your induction or you see online are going to work for you so don't be afraid to mix up your workout and try new things. You need to enjoy the exercises you are doing, as well as them being effective. However, do be sensible when finding new things to try - a new treadmill exercise your favourite fitspo has conjured up may not actually be that effective so use your head a little bit! 6. Don’t be embarrassed to sweat Sweat means you're working hard! Everyone else in the gym is normally way too focused on what they’re doing to notice you dripping in the corner. However, make sure you remember to be courteous and wipe down all equipment after you use it. 7. When first learning compound movements use just your bodyweight initially The most important thing to learn first is correct form to prevent injury and it is much more difficult to do this with weight. Once you've mastered how to do each exercise correctly, particularly the bigger compound movements, you can then start adding weight. Even after this I would still recommend doing a bodyweight set as a warm-up. 8. Once you’re hitting about 10 reps for 3 sets comfortably increase your weight You need to constantly be increasing your weights, known as progressive overload, each week to see maximum progress. You should aim to be increasing your weights by around 2kg each session if possible, to see the best progress. 9. Ask as many questions as you can during your induction The personal trainers at the gym are there to help you out. They are a fountain of knowledge surrounding fitness and particularly the equipment at their gym. Therefore, remember to take advantage of their knowledge, particularly during your induction and ask all the questions you could think of - they're there to help you won't be annoying them! 10. Remember your nutrition!