Once again a new year is upon us. For anyone in the fitness community, you know that the beginning of the year symbolizes that your gym is going to be over packed with new gym goers and want-to-be new fitness enthusiast. You also however know that in two or three months things will return to normal. As a gym participant and a gym owner I can see both sides of the coin.
There is the side that says “Oh boy here comes a bunch of people that are going to take up space and equipment for the next few months.”
Then there is the side that says “Okay here comes a new group of people that want to make the change to a healthier lifestyle”
I love when new people get excited about health and wellness. The problem with a lot of “newbies” is either they do not have a sound plan, do not understand that their goals will take time, or simply are not sure what to do. If I was to take the latter side of that coin, then I must try and help some of you. Okay gym “newbies” pull up a chair. So you’re new to the gym and not sure what to do….here are a few tidbits that may help.
Keep It Simple:
I think one of the biggest problems with new gym goers is not keeping things simple. If you have little or no gym experience it is not a good idea to try to perform advanced workouts or gym plans that people who have have been going to the gym for years use. I recommend starting small with a few basic exercises and hitting the gym only a few days a week. Smaller steps and simple programming at first will work much better in the long run towards your fitness goals.
Focus On Barbells and Dumbbells:
One of the most appealing things about a new gym is all the fancy equipment and shiny machines. If you are new to the gym atmosphere, walk right past all of that and go to the dumbbell and barbell area. Barbells and dumbbells are the most basic and fastest way for a body to develop. Barbells and dumbbells build strength faster, teach movement patterns, tend to develop more overall muscle, and improve balance and stability. While there are benefits to some machines they do not always offer all the benefits of free weights. Unless you have some limitations that require you avoid certain free weight movement, then barbells and dumbbells should be your main fitness focus.
Use Less Cardio Equipment:
Like I just stated, weight training should be the main focus of your new fitness regiment. With that being said, cardio should be a minimal part of your plan. The second largest mistake I see “newbies” at the gym make is the overuse of cardio equipment. In the attempt to get more fit, I often see “newbies” slaving away for hours on the treadmill or some other daunting piece of cardio equipment. I could go on and on about why too much time spent with a piece of cardio equipment will do your body more harm than good, but I think I will save that for another article. To really get the fitness benefits most people are looking for focus mainly on nutrition and training. New gym goers should limit their cardio equipment use to 15 to 30 minutes per session.
If as a new gym goer and you really must focus on cardio learn to use alternate ways of doing cardio.
High rep weight training, sled pushing, or any type of exercise that elevates your heart rate is actually cardio. The big misconception is doing cardio is spending hours on a treadmill or similar piece of equipment. Cardio does not have to be limited to a treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical machine.
Eat Better To Look Better:
While this next piece of advice does not really take place in the gym, it has the most impact on your results in the gym. This tidbit is not only for the new gym goers but all gym goers. There is no point in working your butt off in the gym if you are not trying to control your nutrition outside of the gym. Without focusing on your nutrition, all the time spent in the gym will show little or very very slow progress. For new gym goers don’t try and change everything at once. Try making small nutritional changes over the course of a few weeks. Focus on making one small nutritional change per week. As they say “Small bites are easier to swallow than one large bite.”
Put It In The Hands Of The Pros:
If you are really serious about improving your health and fitness, but are not sure what you are doing leave it in the hands of the pros. Just about every gym offers the aid of trainers or someone capable of helping you with your health goals.
When getting help with your goals make sure you are getting what you pay for. A good quality trainer is not going to be cheap but in the same token don’t pay a lot of money if you feel you wont get the value you are looking for. Make sure whoever helps you has experience in working with people that has had your goals or similar aspirations. The right person for the right job is so important. You don’t want to hire a foot doctor to do brain surgery. Make sure they are qualified to help in the area you are looking for. Most importantly make sure you feel comfortable with them and can openly communicate with them.