So you’re new to the fitness and work out life or maybe you are interested in getting into it but want to know what you should do as you take on this new step in life. Either way, today we will discuss the importance of what you do in the gym and the necessity of maintaining a schedule so that your body can adapt to it and get used to the training with no complications doing so.
Whether you are looking to lose weight, gain muscle or even just look to maintain the body you have right now we will take all of these possibilities into consideration when devising a routine for you. In this article I will help you start off confidently by giving you an insight to what you should aim to do in the gym in order to achieve your fitness goals.
This article will be broken down into four layers: first we will start off with a warm up and why it is important, then we will look at what you should and shouldn’t do when working out in the gym to ensure you have the safest and most enjoyable experience. Additionally, we will discuss the best/most efficient exercises to begin with and finally a warm down and stretches section where we will talk about the right way to finish off a training session.
Importance of a Warm Up
If you have watched sports’ or participated in sports’ before yourself you may already know what a warm up is but for those who don’t know, a warm up is a session which is performed before a sports’ event/training session to reduce the chances of being injured and to relax the muscles. This will increase your heart rate and should take 15-20 minutes.
A warm up can consist of 5 minutes of jogging,10 minutes of dynamic stretches. This is what I would recommend for a warm up as jogging would get your heart rate up and the blood pumping round your body and the stretches would prepare your muscles for the training session ahead.
Dynamic stretches I would suggest are ‘knee to chest’, ‘high kicks’ and ‘lunge with a lean’. The first 2 are pretty much exactly what you think they are. High kicks is where you kick and put your foot as high in the air as possible whilst standing up.
Knee to chest is where you quite literally bring your knee as close to your chest as possible. Lunge with a lean is bending one leg over and leaning forwards on the other and then straightening out the back leg to the point where you feel a pull which will be your muscle stretching.Lunge with a lean should look like this.
What You Should And Shouldn’t Do
Starting the gym might be very tempting to do every machine in there and lift the highest amount of weight as possible. This would be something that you don’t want to do.
When you are a beginner in the gym lifting too much would make your muscles very sore the day after as you have over worked them and haven’t given them time to properly adjust to the new lifestyle decision of getting fit and becoming an active person in the gym. I would advise you to begin with lower than expected weight and gradually work your way up in the upcoming training sessions so that you are giving your body time to adjust and creating a new challenge for it regularly. Lifting too much will not only increase the risk of muscle injury but will also reduce the effectiveness of the targeted muscle group so you would actually be working against yourself in a way by making the work harder than it needs to be.
On the other hand, you need to be lifting enough weigh to challenge yourself though because if you can lift 10s upon 10s of reps on a machine then you definitely need to increase the lifting weight.
Furthermore, you don’t want to be doing the reps too quick. Think about doing them slowly so that your muscles are being tested for a good amount of time and that way you won’t do them too quickly because doing them too quick won’t make you progress as your muscles aren’t being tested. The slower you lift the weight the more progress your muscles will make.
Make sure that you rest in between sets but also don’t rest for too long. If you feel ready to continue then go for it but don’t rest for too long because your muscles will get stiff, even if you have to lower the weight a bit just make sure you keep your heart rate going.
Best Exercises To Start With
I would recommend starting with fairly straightforward exercises such as the treadmill, exercise bike, bicep curl and the chest press. Try to do at least 2/3 sets on the lifting machines and on the cardio machines (treadmill and exercise bike) do 1 set of at least 10 minutes. If you can go longer than that well done! Also, try to do at least 5-10 reps per set on the weight machines.Treadmill:Walk/jog at a distance you feel comfortable with and try to get through that 10 minute mark. I would recommend that you listen to music on the treadmill and the bike as they can get quite tedious otherwise. Exercise bike: The bikes pedals can be adjusted so that you have to push harder with your feet to move the pedals so be sure to adjust them accordingly and remember to not make them too difficult as your body will need to adjust first. You can also adjust the height of the bike seat so make sure you are positioned so you can reach the pedals easily but so you have to stretch your legs a little as well.Bicep curl: The seat on every machine can be adjusted so make sure that, just like in the picture your arms are stretched as far as possible and pull the bars right up so that your arms are bent in and are as close to your face as possible without touching it.Chest press: On this machine grab the handles (both vertical and horizontal handles can be used) and push them as far out as you possibly can. Both handles should almost connect with each other when pushed out entirely.
Warm Down And Stretches
Now the hard work is out of the way your body will be very tired but before you shut down your muscles will contain a lot of lactic acid so a few aerobic exercises and stretches and you will be done for the day. If you have a very light jog for a few minutes the lactic acid in your legs will burn down and your muscles will be much more ready to relax as the lactic acid causes muscle fatigue and post-exercise muscle soreness so it is important it is dealt with.
After the light jog do these following stretches for about 5-10 minutes and your body will be back to a relaxed state. The three stretches that are important are a Quad stretch, Calf Stretch and a Hip Flexor Stretch.Quad stretch: hold this position for about 30 seconds. Repeat 2 times.Calf stretch: Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 2 times.Hip flexor stretch: Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 2 times.
Schedule And Achieving Your Fitness Goals!
Today we have covered a lot of information and hopefully you are willing to give this training plan a go. Depending on how free your schedule is I would recommend you do this 2-3 times a week to begin with and if you want build that up further however that isn’t necessary because building up the weights and time/speed on the treadmill and exercise bike will cancel out any need to go to the gym more than 3 times a week.
Following this plan and pushing yourself to the limit will make your fitness goals come much sooner than you may think!
Kind regards, Kyle