Starting Out At The Gym
I've never had a great relationship with the gym, or exercise in general for that matter. I read somewhere recently that it takes 21 days to start a habit, and 90 days to create a lifestyle, and I feel like I'm well on my way to incorporating gym into that lifestyle. I joined the gym at the beginning of November, and have been solidly going to the gym at least 2-3 times a week so far.
It's a slow start, because I'm a complete beginner, but i'm already starting to see some progress, and the pain has now been reduced to occasional aches. I've even begun taking those narcissistic gym photos (that will never see the light of day) in order to track how I'm doing, and to revisit in a month or two's time.
The last time I went (yesterday) I weighed in at 76.3kg (12.015 stone). Since this is the first time I weighed myself, I do not have anything to compare it to. When I recently went to the doctors for a checkup they told me everything was ''all systems go'' so to speak, so I'm guessing that i'm at a normal weight for my body.
Going to the gym for the first time can be a scary thought, but there are plenty of things to do at the gym when you're just starting out. Just going and creating a routine is probably the hardest part. I also recently quit smoking, and I would say that the same applies here. Except that you're trying to create a habit, and not break one!
Gym Tips For Beginners
I am a complete gym noob, so if you happen to be reading this and are looking for genuine tips that can help you to progress, I would highly recommend researching on various websites online, and checking out Youtube for fitness videos, and workout ideas. There are plenty of fantastic, free resources available online for getting started at the gym. The following tips are simply based on my initial experiences of the gym. So if it's your first time at the gym, hopefully these tips, from one beginner to another, will help!
Tip 1: Always warm up and warm down: I learnt this when I was at school, but didn't start taking it seriously until I re-joined the gym recently. Warming up gets your blood pumping, and essentially gets your body prepared for working out. It's very important, so never skip it. I tend to warm up for about 10-15 minutes, till the point where my heart is beating reasonably fast.
Additionally, make sure to stretch all of your muscles first, and then perform some moving exercises (such as star jumps) to get your blood pumping. Right now I'm doing an exercise where I use a raised platform and i quickly step onto it and off of it again, moving left to right across the platform, and back again. I tend to do this for around 2-3 minutes (sometimes longer).
Furthermore, warming down after your workout is important because it will help to reduce the pain you feel after the workout (especially in the first few sessions). I didn't warm up or warm down properly in my first session, and couldn't walk without feeling pain for a whole week! I tend to repeat what I did in the warm up, minus the exercise, and I find that this works quite well.
Tip 2: Stick to recommended workouts - they're recommended for a reason! For instance, my workout includes a 15 minute cardio session (running or cycling), and some of the machines stop automatically at the 15 minute mark, whilst others keep going until you stop them manually.
Either way, I feel like this is a good place to stop and give your body a rest for about 5-10 minutes before you move onto the next exercise. Right now I'm mixing things up by lifting weights, or performing sits-up and push-ups after the rest period. It's pretty slow right now, but it improves each time when you set yourself personal goals.
Tip 3: Set personal goals for yourself - Whether its running for another 5 minutes, performing 10 more reps with the weights, or performing an extra 20 sit-ups, try to push yourself a little more each time you visit the gym. This helps me personally, but it pushes me to achieve more while i'm there, and tends to also help in terms of knowing what to do the next time I visit the gym.
For now, this is everything that I know, as i'm learning all the time. I'm sure I will post again when i've learnt some more and can provide an update on my progress. I cannot recommend going to the gym enough. If you are wondering whether you should, and are a little intimidated by it, remember that everyone starts where you are now, and works their way up. It's a gradual thing, like watering a flower. It takes time, care, and lots of attention.
So join the gym and start your journey now!
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