November 23, 2017

A Beginner’s Guide to The Gym: Everything You Need to Know

Once you’ve taken that first good step of joining the gym, what comes next? While a lot of us know exactly what to do at the gym, there are several impediments, both physical and mental that can keep us from learning and getting a great workout. So what exactly does a beginner do at the gym? Here’s what.

Initially, you tell yourself, “I’m going to start going to the gym because I know ‘strength training’ and ‘lifting weights’ is good for me.” And then any beginner is hit by self-doubt:
“You need to get in shape first before you go to the gym so you don’t look foolish.”
“Stick to the cardio section. Maybe the machines. Don’t go near the free weights though, that’s for the serious gym rats.”
“As long as you don’t try anything new, you can’t mess up. Stick to what you know.”

Its very natural to feel that way – but unfortunately, a lot of us spend a good chunk of our time (and our gym membership) fretting about these issues, which impede your level of fitness and waste your time, honestly.


1. Get Your Head in the Game

Regardless of your physique, whether you weight 200 kgs or 50, walking into a gym as a beginner takes a lot of courage and can seem like a daunting task. When you do however summon the courage to walk in, you’ll be faced with the following scenarios:

People dutifully using machines that seem too complicated to use, with pained looks on their faces.
People on cardio machines, treadmills, and ellipticals
Really buff people picking up heavy weights and you begin instantly comparing yourself to them, and feeling bad about your body.
If you are conscious about your body, or not happy the way you look, you may get discouraged to see regular gym goers and their level of fitness and feel like they may judge your physique or your lack of knowledge – that you actually need to get into shape first before going to the gym. Right?

WRONG! Here are some important facts you need to know –
Everybody is as self-conscious as you are at the gym.
Everybody started somewhere, at some point in time.
Most of them will actually applaud you and be impressed with the fact that you’re trying.
Almost all will be too focussed on themselves to be thinking about you.

Here’s what you need to do to acclimatize yourself quickly:
Wear clothes that fit you nicely and that you are comfortable in!
Make a great playlist and listen to the songs that inspire you.
Zone out everybody else and just focus on what you need to do for yourself.


2. Get Acquainted with the Gym.

There’s no point in coming to the gym if you don’t know how productive you can be with all the features it has to offer you. It’s important to get a lay of the land, without aimlessly walking around. Here’s what you do:

Ask a gym instructor or staff at the reception to show you around. Feel no shame in admitting that you’re new to the gym – you’ve paid for a service and you can ask for help as many times as you’d like.
Stretch. Find a yoga mat, and go about general stretching till you start feeling comfortable in the surrounding environment.
Get on the treadmill. This may not be optimum in the long run, because you may not need to do cardio right in the start. But for now, this is a sedentary workout, that will focus you, get you sweating and energized for the next steps. You cant go wrong with walking on the treadmill.


3. Embrace the Body Weight Bandwagon!

While the debate on what’s better, bodyweight or weightlifting is a long one, knowing how to control your own body weight at various forms of physical stresses is vital. Identify a place at the gym (or ask a trainer) and get started on the following:

10 bodyweight squats
10 push-ups
10 bodyweight squats
10 push-ups
10 bodyweight squats
10 push-ups

And repeat. Make sure your form is correct – a quick YouTube guide on some trusted fitness channels should keep your form right.


4. Dumbells & Barbells

This may be your personal nightmare – considering the large beefy men and women that will be swarming this particular section of the gym. But it’s important to know – whether you’re an 18-year-old man weighing 45 kgs, or a 50-year-old woman weighing 150 kgs – you have as much right to this section of the gym as any of those bodybuilders!

Take charge, move towards the flat bench at the far end of the room and don’t hesitate in asking anyone around if the bench is free. Put a towel on it, and get to work with one arm on the bench:

10 bodyweight squats
10 push-ups
10 one arm dumbbell rows (10 per arm)

Congratulations! You’ve now used dumbells! Want to add to this? Let’s get some full body dumbells workouts into the mix:

10 goblet squats
10 push-ups
10 dumbbell rows/side

So to recap, the beginner’s guide recap involves the following, considering you are going to the gym at least 3 times a week:

Light stretch and walk on treadmill for 10 minutes
Work up to 3 complete circuits of this beginner circuit
Go home and eat good healthy food and hang out with your friends!

You can continue with this plan for months, and slowly keep upping your game. This particular circuit, with introductions of heavier dumbells, more reps per sets and smaller rest time will ensure that you’re on a better fitness plan than almost 90% of the other members at your gym. You’ll find that in a couple of weeks, you’ll start feeling more at home at the gym, perhaps you’ll start talking to a few members, getting inspired by their stories and most importantly – learning from them.

In conclusion, everybody has to begin somewhere. It’s interesting, but you’ll find that the fittest and most in shape people only have one competition – themselves. When you believe that fitness is just about getting better physically and mentally, you’ll understand that ‘perfection’ is not the ultimate goal (which is unachievable), but it’s all about making the ‘good’ better.

Talk to the excellent trainers at Golds Gym Gurgaon, Sector 14 or 43, or feel free to message me, and we’ll ensure that we smoothly transition you from your beginner state to that of being very comfortable and very fit at your gym!