How to start working out for the first time in the gym

One of the biggest obstacles for most first timers to the fitness lifestyle is entering a gym, especially if they are not comfortable in crowds or have a lower self esteem. We understand, everyone has been in that position. Our first time gym workout plan is created specifically for those that want to take that step but are unsure of what to do once they are there. We make it very simple without our introductory workout. We will lead you through each major muscle group and ask you to perform one or two exercises with as many sets. The exercises are commonly machine based so that the movement is very basic and will allow you to experience an exercise for each muscle. We send you in with a plan and you will leave with the basic knowledge of the most common exercises and confidence to return and move forward. This plan is also ideal for those returning from an extended layoff to get their muscles accustomed to resistance training at an introductory rate.

 

“How to start working out for the first time in the gym”

 1: Start Slow

Don’t just jump right in and start exercising five days a week — that’s a recipe for disaster, says John Higgins, MD, Director of Exercise Physiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. It’s better that you gradually work up to exercising several days per week while you see how your body responds.

“Start low and go slow,” Dr. Higgins said. “The current recommendation is 2-3 days per week, for at least 30 minutes per day. But for someone who is just starting out, we recommend that they start at 1-2 days per week and ramp it up from there.”

2:Get a little warm up in

If this truly is your first time in the gym and working out, you can’t just start banging out bench presses and squats. Find a spot away from people and do a set or two of push ups, pull ups, body weight squats, planks, shoulder circles and walking lunges just to get the blood pumping. While you’re at it, observe the gym floor, get a good feel what machines and free weights are where. Use this time to get comfortable and acclimated with the space — as you progress, your workouts will develop a flow.

3: Do a little bit of everything

Similarly to the above, when starting out for the first time, your body will go through a shock when you hit it with any kind of training. Muscle soreness actually can feel pretty good, but walking around like you got hit by a truck means you probably went a bit overboard. We recommend starting out with three workout days per week (on-off-on-off, etc.) and performing 2-3 sets of an exercise for each muscle group of the body at about 60% of your maximum ability. For example: Legs, squat. Chest, dumbbell bench press. Shoulders, dumbbell lateral raises. Biceps, dumbbell curl. Triceps, cable pushdowns. Abs, planks. We also suggest starting with dumbbells vs. barbells when first starting out as it will help with developing muscular balance. With barbells, the body tends to favor the dominant side.

4: Always clean up your crap

Whether your gym is immaculately clean, or a bit rough around the edges. Always put away your weights and wipe off your equipment. No one wants to smell and feel your sweaty stinky ass — it’s disgusting. And no one wants to re-rack dumbbells and plates either. It really is a basic, understanding among gymers to clean up.

5: Refuel the right way

Once your workout is over there’s still one more thing you need to nail down — a solid meal. Make this a serious habit because it’s legitimate. You’ve worked up a sweat, pounded your muscles and they need to recover and rebuild. But you can’t refuel with just anything. Cortisol, a stress-hormone in the body begins to build up during workouts and can strip away gains if not suppressed. Give your body a shot of protein and carbohydrates. Whey protein, and a banana (or two) should cover you. However, try to avoid fats such as peanut butter and oils as these slow down the digestion process. Your goal at this point is the ship nutrients in the muscles via the blood stream as quickly as possible.

 6: Know Your Weight and the Right Way to Use it

Most people are confused the first time they walk into a gym, Higgins said, but are afraid of asking for advice. But if that’s you — get over it.

“If you don’t know ask,” he said. “By law, gyms have to have people who can help show you how to work out on the machine, and it can save you from badly injuring yourself.”

In addition, many gym newbies go for the heaviest weight they can — a rookie mistake.

“Go on a weight machine and, starting at the lowest weight, pull it down and keep adding on from there. Just keep increasing the weight until you reach a point where you can only do one or you can’t do any. That’s too much”

Once you find your maximum weight, two-thirds of that number is where you should start.

“You should be able to do about 12 reps,” Higgins said. “It should be easy, but it shouldn’t be difficult to the point where you’re straining.”

Finally, once you have a weight you’re comfortable with, don’t get too eager to increase it.

“You should not increase it more than 10 percent in a week,” Higgins said. “If you do, your risk of injury increases exponentially.”

7: Know When to Take a Break

When people start out, they are often overzealous and try to get to the gym every day, Higgins said. However, by not letting your body rest, you can be doing much more harm than good.

“If you don’t give your body time to heal and repair itself, your performance will go down and you’ll get into a vicious cycle where you never fully recover,” he said.

And if you’re sore after a workout, that’s good — unless it hurts too much.

“It is normal to have pain and soreness after exercise,” Higgins said. “Don’t run to take a painkiller, because that can mask pain and cause you to do real damage to your body. Let yourself recover naturally.”

8:Do It for Yourself.

“If you made a promise to anyone else in your life—your husband, child, boss, or friend—you would do stick to it, but because it’s you and because you can somehow always negotiate with yourself, you might not stick to your commitment,” says Josefsberg. So if you hit snooze a few times one morning and skipped your early workout, find time to get those 30 minutes in later in the day. “What I see is that when someone slips up once, that becomes the excuse not to do the exercise at all,” says Josefsberg. “Figure out where you’re going to put it in the schedule… later in the week or that day.” This is one of the most common problems Josefsberg sees her clients make. Treat the fitness and health commitments you make for yourself like you would your job, family, and friendships. You wouldn’t let important people in your life who are counting on you down, so why do it to yourself

Good luck. Now stay consistent.

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