A Beginner’s Guide to the Gym

Joe and Simon Passey

Become best friends with the pull-up bar!|Ideally your gym will have a wide range of free weights

Become best friends with the pull-up bar!|Ideally your gym will have a wide range of free weights

January is the time of year when the gym is busier than Piccadilly Circus! But it is also the time when we get the highest percentage of gym beginners and individuals who have very little training experience. I remember our first few months at the gym and we didn't have a clue! The gym can be an intimating place at the best of times but that is turned up a notch at the start of the year. This blog will aim to give you some practical tips into becoming a gym veteran for building strength and size in no time. [caption id="attachment_3402" align="aligncenter" width="593"]Ideally your gym will have a wide range of free weights Ideally your gym will have a wide range of free weights[/caption] The problem with gyms today:
  • They are packed full of useless machines
  • Most people are doing the first exercise that they read on the internet.
  • The music is not motivating or inspiring.
  • Too many people are walking around on their phones.
If you don’t have a plan you’ll probably end up doing an hour workout on the treadmill or cross trainer, a few exercises on some resistance machines and some sit-ups. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to get you many results.

Beginners, always start with why!

Ask yourself why you are going to the gym:
  • Is it to lose weight?
  • Is it to gain muscle?
  • Improve confidence?
  • Improve your performance for a specific sport?
  • Improve your overall health and wellbeing?
If you have a purpose in the gym, whatever it may be, you’ll be way ahead of the crowd who are wasting their time on Facebook talking about going. You’ll be more motivated and focused to reach your why.

Gym Equipment

[caption id="attachment_3399" align="aligncenter" width="420"]Beginners: Become best friends with the pull-up bar! Beginners: Become best friends with the pull-up bar![/caption] The reality is most gym equipment is there to pull you in and sell you the membership. Once you learn how to navigate the gym floor, you can separate yourself from the gimmicks. Here are a few things to look out for:
  • Free Weights – Every good gym should have a range of dumbbells that at least go up to 30kg. If all you can see is the body pump dumbbells that go up to 10kg, then keep looking.
  • Squat Rack – This is vital and every gym should have one. If all they have is a smith machine keep looking. A squat rack will also allow for overhead presses, deadlifts and power cleans. Oh and don’t be that guy/girl who curls in the squat rack!
  • Pull up bars – Simple but effective. Find a bar and get used to it - it will really help your arms and upper back.
If you walk into a gym and it’s packed with all the latest cardio gimmicks, there are three power plates in there more blue mats than basic effective equipment, look elsewhere! Get the basics right first then move on step by step. Simplicity is sometimes the best.

The Plan

  • Know your surroundings – Get to know your gym inside out. The layout, the equipment, when it’s busy, get to know the people who work there. The more comfortable you feel, the less intimated you’ll feel.
  • Wear suitable clothing- Don’t turn up to the gym in jeans and a jumper. Invest in some decent gym gear and you’ll feel more comfortable in the gym.
  • Have a plan to follow – Depending on your goal have a workout plan to follow. Get one of the instructors to help you, ask for advice; it’s their job to help the people who use the gym. Or do your own research - always be looking to learn more and take it upon yourself to keep researching on your specific goal.
  • Record Progress – This can be in many forms. Body Fat tests, taking progression pictures or recording your workouts. It’s a great individual tool. If on week 1 you squatted 30kg and by week 6 you're squatting 50kg, then note it down. A good workout journal will help you track your progress.
  • Mind-set – Go into the gym with a clear goal and why you are doing this. Attack every workout with 100% intensity and focus. Get yourself in the zone; the best way of doing this is creating a couple of motivating playlists. Put your headphones on, block everything else out and go to work!
The fact that you have decided to join a gym and take control of your health is great step. The idea of this blog is to give you some practical tips on staying on course and going from one of the beginners to a competent regular. Once you have been in the gym consistently for 6-8 weeks and you see the positive changes both mentally and physically, you’ll be strutting round the gym like you own it. But this should be just the start of an exciting journey to whatever your end goal is. Be realistic, work hard, consume the right supplements, don’t give up and you will get results! Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work gains success, greatness will come”- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Tagged: Training

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