Where to start in the Gym

This time of year Gyms are full of people trying to burn off the excess Christmas chocolate and get a head start on their 2016 goals.

Getting back into the Gym after a long break or starting from scratch and being a beginner at something is ever easy, but we all have to start somewhere.

I’ve come up with some handy tips to try and make it a bit easier:

  1. Get an induction

All Gyms should have an induction available when you join – book one! It gives an introduction to what kit they have, how it works and how to use it properly. The instructor should also help you with a basic programme to get started.

  1. Start off steady

If you’re a complete beginner, start with cardio and a few light weights so your body isn’t overwhelmed too early on. Yes you need to work, but feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck after your first session isn’t going to do much for your motivation. A good beginner’s weights programme would be:

  • Leg Press
  • Chest Press
  • Shoulder Press
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Bicep Curls (optional extra)
  • Tricep Extension (optional extra)
  • Crunches

3 sets of 10 repetitions on each, gives a whole body workout. Make sure you recover in between each set of exercises (about 30-60 seconds).

  1. Don’t feel like you need to buy all the kit

When you start a new hobby, there’s the temptation to buy all the flashy kit that you think you need. You don’t need to. As long as you have a pair of supportive trainers, a pair of comfortable trousers and t-shirt, you don’t need anything more at this early stage. If you stick to your exercise routine for a month, you can always reward yourself (but never with a neon yellow leotard!)

  1. Ask questions

As an instructor, I like it when people ask questions and really test my knowledge – we’re here to help! No question is a stupid question and we’ve most probably been asked it before, so if you’re unsure of anything or want someone to check technique or suggest new exercises, just ask.

  1. Don’t feel intimidated

Easier said than done I know, but everyone has to start somewhere. You have as much right to be in the Gym as everyone else, even the free weights area! If you’ve been given a programme, stick to that. You may get people asking to “swap in”, which is where you both use the machine, but they do their set during your recovery and vice versa (just make sure you change the weight back afterwards, so it’s not too light/ heavy).

  1. Be wary of the “experts”

You do get people in the Gym who’ve been going for years and think they know it all, and are keen to pass on their knowledge. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t know your exercise (or injury/ illness) history to give you correct advice. Be polite, but don’t always take what they say as gospel – reading a few fitness articles doesn’t give you licence to preach.

  1. Book a session with Personal Trainer

Book in a session every 4-6 weeks so you can check your progress, and get a new programme to work with. Most PT’s will offer single sessions with body composition measurements, showing improvements or highlighting areas to work on. You also have a point of contact if you have any issues with the programme.

One of my favourite sayings is “you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”, and never was anything more true.

Email: sallymillspersonaltraining@hotmail.com
Phone: 07791 115866
Facebook and Twitter: SallyMillsPT

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