Creating a new habit takes roughly three weeks. Therefore, if you don’t stop your exercise for 21 days, you’re going to make the gym a part of your life. Honestly, those first three weeks will be difficult especially for a beginner.
It’s not just that working out with weights is very hard, especially if you haven’t done it before, but these exercises can be tedious to some. That’s why I have written this guide on how to gym for beginners.
To help you with keeping up with it, I have decided to drop some useful tips. These ideas will make you love working out, and also serve as a guideline against injuries, or being disliked by other gym members.
1. Train with Friends
It’s better to go with your friends to the gym than to the pub. We all know that excessive alcohol isn’t good for the body, and you can chat with your buddy while doing your exercises.
You should be careful not to make the gym a place for hanging out and chatting as this can inconvenience other members. And if you’re spending time talking, do ensure you don’t get in their way or occupy the machines they want to make use of.
It’s also very necessary to choose a friend with the same goals as you. When you go with someone who doesn’t like to work out, they can easily demoralize you and you end up not sticking with your plan. You should instead go with someone who can propel you to do better and support you. If you want to rock, you need a solid ground to stand on.
2. Choose the Right Gym
It’s a lot of work if you want to fall in love with exercising. And the type of gym you pick will be a factor in this. Therefore make your research. You should search for a clean gym, if not, you won’t spend a lot of time there. Also, bad odors can be nauseating, especially when you’re lifting heavy weights, an activity that demands a lot of fresh air.
Also confirm that the gym has all the machines and equipment you need. While some gyms are focused on people who want to lose weight, others focus on bodybuilders. With the former, there will be more of bicycles and treadmills, but with the latter, there won’t be more of those fat-burning workstations.
In addition to that, you may want to know the kind of people who frequent the gym. By this, I mean the women who come to the gym. If more fitness models come there, you’re more likely to enjoy it. And it’s going to push you harder to prove yourself to the girls.
3. Stay Away From Big Weights (For the Moment)
In the beginning, you shouldn’t try to compete with the gym rats. So you shouldn’t try to go for the weights they lift. You’ll not only embarrass yourself, you might also sustain a serious injury. Best-case scenario, you’ll have a severe muscle soreness that you can’t lift anything for days after such a hard workout.
I’ll advise you to take things easy. Instead of lifting those big weights for some time in a set, why not go with the lesser ones? That way you can go for more rounds. With this method, there is a lower risk of injuries and the results are the pretty much the same. Without doubt, muscles will grow bigger and firmer.
With time, as you’re getting stronger, you should lift heavier weights. Just know that it’s a slow process all the same. It takes months to increase the maximum weight you can lift, so you can’t rush it.
4. Warm Up Properly
The major concern of any rookie is being injured, which is a valid concern. This is because you’ve never done those exercises before in your life, therefore something can easily go wrong.
A nice method of reducing the risk of injuries is to warm up before every workout. This ensures that blood is properly circulating in your muscles and joints, supplying the nutrients they require.
If you want to warm up and strengthen your joints, you should try calisthenics. But I’ll recommend you run on the treadmill or ride a stationary bicycle as a warm-up exercise.
Also, you can ask the gym instructor for directions on how the exercises are done. You shouldn’t be ashamed to seek for advice—it’s better to be safe than sorry.
5. Don’t be a Wise-Ass
Now, let’s talk about gym manners. You can talk and socialize in the gym, but you shouldn’t be a nuisance. You shouldn’t go about throwing around advice even when no one asked you for them. And please, don’t give advice to the guys who are in better shape than you, as you can make them mad at you.
They didn’t have their kind of body by following your advice, so you don’t expect them to change their workout routine because of you.
This advice never gets old—if you gain lots of gym experience, you shouldn’t share it with people who don’t want to hear it. Even if there are newbies in the gym, don’t go about giving unsolicited tips.
But if you see someone who’s about to injure themselves, then you should help them out immediately.
6. Take Care of Your Hygiene
We are still talking about nice behavior in the gym. Having a good hygiene is expected from everyone in the gym. However, gym hygiene isn’t just about putting on nice clothes and wearing an antiperspirant. It’s also about making sure you clean all traces of your sweat.
Would you like to get other people’s stinky sweat over you? Of course not! So you shouldn’t be that guy who leaves a machine without wiping it with a towel.
7. Don’t Occupy a Machine for Too Long
The gym isn’t yours; the other members have the same rights to use all machines and workstations. Normally, a weight exercise of 10–12 reps takes not more than 20 seconds to finish, but some people spend lots of time when resting between the sets. Just step away from a set when you’re done. Others have to use it too.
You don’t have to perform the same exercise for more than a couple of minutes in total. The general rule is that each exercise shouldn’t be more than four sets, with each having 8 to 12 repetitions. Therefore if you count the pause between the sets, you shouldn’t spend more than 5 minutes on one exercise.
8. Return Every Item Where it Belongs
You should always return each item to the state you found it in. It’s not about showing you have good manners, but it’s necessary for your safety and that of other members of the gym.
Most gym walls are covered in mirrors so people can see themselves while working out. They use the mirrors to check out their bodies and take pictures as they’re resting between the sets.
This means they won’t be staring at the floor and can easily stumble on the dumbbells that have been left carelessly. The best thing to do is to return every equipment to the same state you found it so injuries can be avoided.
9. Come to the Gym at the Right Time
You should note the opening and closing hours of your gym. You’re expected to respect the working hours of your gym. Although the workers in the gym might allow you to stay for a few minutes longer, you should remember they have personal lives too.
And if you keep repeating the same mistake, they might ask you not to come back. This is not only embarrassing, but you won’t get to finish your workout session. My advice is to strictly follow the instructions and avoid any embarrassments.
10. Be Cautious When it Comes to Supplements
Some gyms have their own supplements they sell, so it won’t be nice to bring yours there. Even if they allow you to bring them, they won’t be happy if you start advertising it to everyone you see. Be careful about that.
Also, know how to talk about steroids. About one million Americans have gotten anabolic steroids at least once, but it doesn’t mean people want to talk about them. Especially not with strangers. Also, steroids are illegal, and you could get yourself into trouble if you try to buy them.
And on the health aspect of it all, they can damage your body. It’s better to use the legal supplements: BCAA, whey protein powders, NO reactors, and creatine.