A Guide For Gym Novices
FIND A PARTNER
First of all, you don’t have to do it alone. Drag someone along with you. It could be your family member, a friend or a colleague. You will feel more comfortable as you have someone familiar with you. Not to mention the added bonus of being able to keep each other motivated. You will make it to the gym when you know that your partner is waiting for you there.
CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL
Make an appointment with the Fitness Advisor in the gym. It could be the Manager, Head Trainer or Fitness Manager. They will guide you and make a program for you keeping in mind your fitness level and your goals.
You will also need to do a fitness assessment before you start — the trainer will take your body measurements and a few simple tests to analyse your physical abilities. Don’t worry if you can’t do too much at this stage. Everyone starts this way. Ask for a few sessions with a trainer so you can follow his guidance to understand the routines properly.
Ask the personal trainer everything you want to know — how to use the equipment, how to train properly, the correct form to lift the weight, and even about nutrition. All this is not so you make a fool of yourself, but so that you avoid serious injury in the long run.
Dress so you are comfortable and able to move easily. Avoid an overabundance of material since you’ll be sweating. Wear tracks, t-shirts with good supporters, good quality shoes that fit well and absorbent socks. Carry a hand towel and a sipper bottle with water. Do not forget to pack your soap/shampoo if you plan to take a shower there after the exercise, although some gyms provide basic toiletries free of charge. Remember to keep sipping water before and during your workouts.
DO A GOOD WARM UP
Always do a good warm up before starting your workouts. Your body is not accustomed to workouts, so you will experience soreness because of the lactic acid build up.
If you push yourself too hard at first, you may be forced to abandon your program because of pain or injury. It’s better to start slowly and progress gradually. Do not step on the scale too often as it is not going to show you immediate results.
Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
It may help to keep an exercise diary. Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterwards. Recording your efforts can help you work toward your goals and remind you that you’re making progress.
After each exercise session, take a few minutes to sit down and relax. Reflect on what you’ve just accomplished. Savour the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. External rewards can help too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of walking shoes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.
The pre-workout meal should be focused on protein and carbohydrates. Remember to eat at least 60-90 minutes before exercise to allow the body time to digest and make the nutrients available to the body during exercise. Try a fruit or fruit juice. The post-workout meal — A sports drink is a good first step in post-workout nutrition. It will act to quickly replace energy reserves and lost nutrients. The post-workout meal should be heavy on protein and carbohydrates. Whey protein powder is ideal because it can be processed and utilised by the body quicker.