New to the gym? Simple starting points

11 Dec 2012

I’ve joined a gym.
I’m ready to workout.
Got my tracksuit on.
I’ve just walked onto the gym floor.
I have no idea what to do!

Usually, a new member is offered a free introductory session to the gym. Now, if the Personal Trainer hasn’t nearly hospitalised you from giving a routine you shouldn’t be doing on the first session, or sat there talking to you for an hour about biceps or glutes, the chances are we’re back to square one: WHERE DO WE START? Here are a few simple steps to follow which could save you time and get you on the road to results, whilst keeping in your comfort zone.

1) Health Safety. A filled in PARQ (Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire) should be offered by every club when you sign up that asks basic health questions; after completing this you are then safe to start as long as there are no under lying medical issues which a doctor can inform you of if unsure. A towel and bottle of water is useful too.

Too much paperwork from the gym

2) Start slow. Running as fast as you can on the treadmill or lifting the most weight you can in a single repetition can lead to that ‘near death’ experience which none of us want as well as potential injuries which can take a long time to recover from.

Start slow, don't assume you can run 10 miles in 30 minutes.

Don’t overexert yourself the first time you get on a machine; take it slow and learn how your body reacts.

3) Aim to become familiar with the cardio equipment such as the Treadmill, Cross Trainer, Bikes and Rower. As well as some resistance machines for chest and back. You may find that you prefer certain bits of equipment to others. That’s how we roll as humans! Freedom of choice. At least see if you like them.

Get to know what these machines are by asking when you sign up or watching how others use them.

Get to know what these machines are by asking when you sign up or watching how others use them.

4) Look around to see what others do. Before you attempt a triple back-flip, ask a member of staff if they can explain the exercise and ask if there is an easier version or a more challenging version. Some make exercises look good, some need a bit of assistance. Never be too afraid to ask someone. For every negative person in a gym, there are 20 really friendly and informative members and staff.

5) Record the data! If you record the times/distances/reps/weights/speeds, you will have something to aim for next time. Use a phone or just a pen and paper. By tracking this, you allow can then push yourself further each time you train and it’s a great way to track results.

Record your data on paper or a phone

Recording your weights/reps/what machines you use will provide a way to monitor your progress.

The main points for going to a gym are never be afraid to ask for help and don’t try and dead-lift the same weight as the Arnold look-a-like is doing. Safety always comes first! Challenge yourself as well. If something feels a bit easy, you can probably push yourself a tad harder and this can be something as simple as running half a kilometer more, increasing the intensity a tad, or adding more weights. It’s key to learn your body and what works FOR YOU, not the person next to you.

I will add further blogs with regards to exercise ideas including basic circuits and and how to be safe in each exercise you do.

– WRITTEN BY MARK ARMSTRONG, LA FITNESS PERSONAL TRAINER AND PRO MMA FIGHTER

7 Responses

  1. Jasmin Suter says:

    To loss weight, do you recommend to do a HIIT about 30 min rather than to run about an hour on the crosstrainer with my heart rate on the fat burning level?
    Thank you for answering my question!
    Ps: love you guys, you both do a really awesome job!!

    • Thanks hun! Yes! HIIT cardio for 30 minutes will spike your heart rate which makes you burn more calories and it actually helps keep your metabolism working harder for up to 48 hours, whereas long sustained periods of cardio does not do this. Try a 5 minute warm up around a 6/10 (how hard you are working), then for 10 minutes do 20 seconds as hard as you can, 10 seconds slow speed. 20/10 x 10 minutes. then a 5 min cooldown x

  2. Jasmin Suter says:

    Thank you! Did I understand that right that the workout overall least 20 min? 5 min warm up, 10 min HIIT and 5 min cooldown?
    xxx

  3. Yup!!!! I find that after this workout you work harder than if you do 30 minutes. By all means though try for 30, so do 20 min. HIIT or the last 10 work again around a moderate 7/10 pace x

  4. Jasmin Suter says:

    Sry to bother you again, but I have another question. 🙂
    My mum allowed me to choose a crosstrainer for us at home, so I am now doing some research on good crosstrainers. Do you have maybe a recommendation? THANKS in advance!

  5. Since you`re new, you`re best option may be a trainer. A good thing to do is actually go from machine to machine, and see how each feels. When you can feel where it`s working out, then you can get a little bit of everything to get in shape.

 

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