With spring and summer around the corner, now is the time to start cutting down your weight at a healthy and moderate rate. An extended time period for training will allow for muscle growth and weight loss at a balanced rate in order to achieve the best results you want. Obviously for the avid gym goer, winter is a time for bulking up before shredding the weight closer to the warmer months. However, for the average guy it’s important to take baby steps before jumping into high intensity workouts.
Use the induction –
Completely underutilised and ignored step for first timers is the induction. This is an introduction to the gym and facilities with demonstrations and detailed explanations on how to use a piece of equipment. It will take 15-20 minutes to get around the entire gym giving you basic knowledge of equipment that will help you achieve your goals, along with being totally free. If you’re stupid enough to avoid the introduction, chances are you’ll look stupid on the equipment with poor form and technique.
Warm up –
A few simple stretches along with some simple, low intensity cardio just to get the blood flowing. Crucial to the body in order to prevent injuries and muscle shock, which could sit you out of the gym for quite a whilst recovering, stinting progress.
Start with machines and resistance weights –
From cardio to weight lifting, take it slow on the resistance machines. Nobody expects you to jump straight into an 80kg bench press, so those resistance machines are perfect for developing that initial muscle growth. Fixed equipment will allow your muscles to function in the correct way for lifting weights as well as targeting specific parts of each muscle for faster growth. Perfect for easing you into the gym routine without causing stress on the muscle.
Plan a routine based on what you want to achieve –
You’ve been at the gym for a good month now doing full body workouts, increasing cardio and trying to function properly in society even though your muscles are aching. It’s time to set your goals and plan how you’re going to get there. From a ripped body to simply a target weight everybody has their individual aspirations. It is crucial to plan how you are going to achieve this in order to avoid unnecessary exercise and wasting time. Start to structure a routine based around your goals. i.e for muscle growth and weight loss. Monday – chest and biceps, Tuesday – shoulders and triceps, Wednesday – legs and abs, Thursday – back and biceps, Friday – rest day, Saturday and Sunday; cardio and fill in a day you may have missed. You should attempt to be exercising whenever possible for at least an hour a day. Even attend the classes provided by the gym for specific benefits such as fitness, fat reduction or intense muscle growth.
Watch Youtube videos –
This may sound stupid but YouTube videos are great for finding exercises and proper form. Form is everything when it comes to the gym. You may be able to squat 60kg on the second leg day but if you’re not squatting as far down as possible, the full muscle is not being worked resulting in stinted muscle growth. Moreover, proper form helps you not look like a tit in the middle of the gym. There is nothing worse than seeing someone bicep curl using their full body in order to swing the weight u rather than isolate the muscle. This is what draws attention from other gym goers. YouTube videos are a great help in finding exercises for certain days in order to fill up that hour you spend at the gym. The best videos will demonstrate proper form, explain what muscle area they target and why they work, giving you further information in order to plan out your routine. Your best off recording the exercises somewhere accessible for you to add to your routine.
Start on the smaller weights and build up –
Even though training first on resistance machines, weights will feel a lot heavier and you will be far shakier than beforehand. This is due to your stabiliser muscles not fully being developed and explains the arm shake when using free weights for the first time. Smaller weights ensure that your body becomes comfortable with lifting, reducing the risk of injury whilst developing muscle memory. Slowly build your way up increasing weights every 3 weeks at a rate of 2kg for beginners to keep growing muscle but maintaining an experience that isn’t too strenuous. For cardio purposes, try to exercise for a set time rather than a distance. i.e. running for 30 mins but increasing by 5 minutes every week or 2 (it’s perfectly acceptable to be a sweaty wreck at the end of a workout)
Setting a baseline –
Ultimately, there will be a point that increasing weights becomes unfeasible at a fast rate, but that’s perfectly fine, this symbolises a weight for you to stick at allowing you set your next goal. This will most likely happen at the start of summer and force you to up the time/intensity during a workout or increase the number of days you attend the gym.
Recording reps and weight on your phone will help you stick to a routine and maintain consistency whilst enhancing muscle growth. Not doing enough reps will hinder progression but over-repping could cause injury and muscle atrophy stinting improvement. An acceptable reference point is 4 sets of 10 or 5 sets of 8 for upper body, for legs and abs try 5 sets or pyramid weights (1 set of 30kg, next set 25kg, next set 20kg, you get the idea). Records show progression showing you how far you’ve developed, can help prevent re occurring injuries, as if they occur you can always go back and check for too much volume or intensity and a written motivator to get you off the sofa and into the gym to avoid missing a day.
Recovery period –
After the gym, it’s important to rest up. Allow your body to recover by eating the right foods, regain electrolytes and fill up on water. Proteins and carbohydrates aid in muscle growth and energy recovery, whilst water flushes out lactic acid and rehydrating the body which can cause illness. Do some research on protein rich foods and meal plans for the best results. Set aside 1-2 rest days in the week to stop wearing out the body.
Don’t train if you’re injured –
Training when injured is the worst mistake you can commit at the gym. The only way to recover from a pain is to rest up. There’s no point working out an injured muscle, as it prevents recovery along with risking other muscles to become injured. If it hurts just stop and see a doctor if the pain is uncomfortable.
Don’t feel judged –
Everybody is at the gym to work out. Everybody was once in your position. Everyone is too concerned with themselves to worry about Bob who ran 20 mins on the treadmill. The gym is there to turn people sweaty. The only reason someone will look at you is for poor form. There will be 16yr olds there who can lift more than half the gym, not just you. Get stuck in and get the results you want.
If you have any tips for beginners starting the gym then feel free to hit us up on social media and we could include your tip in here.