In years past as the New Year arrives many flock to the nearest gym to start shedding those extra pounds they put on over the Holidays and to work toward goals. As the weeksprogress the crowd disappears from the cardio machines and workout benches.
We can change this pattern by taking it slow and steady, learning a routine, forming a habit, as well as setting smaller manageable goals to keep the momentum going longer than just a few weeks into the New Year.
A good way to prepare is by knowing what gear you need to make your first visit to the gym a success. The following is a list of items that will help you feel comfortable in this new environment.
I have examples of these at my Amazon fitness shop.
1. Water bottle 2. Towel – sport, small or medium size, does not have to be white 3. Gloves – open fingers or baseball type gloves – optional 4. Sneakers – sandals, flip flops, work boots are not appropriate 5. Yoga mat - if you plan on doing stretches or taking a class 6. Headphones – for music or radio 7. A tee shirt or tank top with sweat pants is perfect to begin 8. A notebook
As you continue on your workout journey meeting goals the next step is to reward yourself with some exercise outfits. You will see your new shape in the form fitting clothing with an added dose of confidence. A new pair of colorful sneakers is also a good way to stay motivated after you have reached a few goals.
I have been tracking my workouts with notebooks for five years now. I often go back to older notebooks to see what weight I was lifting and go back to some exercises I have not done in awhile.
The day you plan on hitting the gym make sure you have breakfast to fuel your body. This means more than just a cup of coffee. Egg whites or oatmeal with toast is a good start. If you already have protein powder a shake is a good alternative. Consider taking a photo (not a gym selfie) of yourself prior to your first day to utilize as a “before” photo. Two weeks later would be a good time to take another one to see your progress as an “after”. This can be continued for weeks or months to see how your face and body have changed over time.
Here is an example of a five-year progress I personally achieved a few years ago.
Next you can merge two pictures to show as your former self and current status. Here is mine with body fat percentages. With the four photo box covering the span of five years I can see the difference in my face and arms. The two photos next to each other gives me stats and full body to see how I changed my shape. If you are interested in losing a lot of weight you will want to use the cardio equipment as well. If you want to build muscle you will head to the weight room. Most gyms have these areas in separate rooms or floors plus locker rooms, stretching area, group room for classes, as well as pool, basketball and/or racquetball courts, Jacuzzi, sauna and showers. This all depends on the type of gym you are joining and the level of your membership. There could be discounts with medicare or your employer, depending on your age. Look into specials that would also give you a free training session. This will come in handy to learn the machines.
Most machines are in sections so you will find all back, ab, tricep, bicep, benches, squat racks and shoulder machines in their own sections. You will need to look for seat levers and handles to make the machine suitable for your height. These machines also have diagrams showing how to use them.
It is best to work on one body part each day. That would mean chest on Monday, Back on Tuesday, Triceps on Wednesday, etc. There is also a term called Split where you would do Back and Triceps on the same day. Further lingo to learn would be reps and sets. When you pick up a dumbbell and curl it ten times that is known as ten reps. If you stop and take a rest and do it again that would be two sets of 10 reps each. Should you decide to do bench presses and move into bicep curls that would be called a super set.
Become familiar with the machines and when you are comfortable you can start with free weights – known as dumbbells. They come in sizes ranging from 2.5, 10, 12, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30 - all the way up to 100 pounds. Barbells start at either 10 or 20 pounds and go higher. I have done dead lifts with 100 pound barbell.
A great visual resource that has male and female athletes demonstrating the exercises using weights and some machines is available FREE here.
I spent a few years only on machines before I made the move into the weight room. I printed out pages from the exercise guide at Body Building dot com and carried them in a folder making notations on each page of the date, weight and reps I achieved that day. I also bought a few decks of cards that I carried with me to have a variety of exercises to try new each week. These are in the Amazon shop link above with different levels shown on each card.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below or visit my Facebook Fitness page.
I hope these tips will help you feel confident in making your grand entrance into the gym in 2017.
Posted on 01/01/2017 at 10:05:00 AM