January Gym Newbie
5 tips to set you on course for success
1. Ask if you don’t know
‘Oh, I’m Sorry. I don’t know how this machine works ‘– Starlord
It’s ok to ask, it really is. Most people in the gym, even those going for the last 10 years, have little to no idea about what they’re doing – so you’re not alone. One of the big differences between those making great progress and those ‘spinning their wheels’ is that they sought help and advice.
Now if you’re at the type of gym with good quality gym staff then these guys will be ideal to ask ‘how do I use this?’ , ‘how can I improve that?’. If you’re not at that type of gym, then I highly recommend reading, listening and watching some coaches online to get advise and guidance.
This could be from simple exercise demonstrations to training advise to program set up. Having expert advise in your corner is going to fast track you to the gainzzz (or losses) you’re after. A lot of coaches have the capacity to train you both 1:1 in person but also online. Working with a good coach will mean you’re going to go to the gym with a plan of action, clear objectives and goals making the whole experience not only tailored to you but also as effective as possible.
2. 99% of people are not looking at you – so chill.
‘ You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else’ – Tyler Durden
The Gym can be a very intimidating place the first few times you go, you will be treated to the gym ‘wildlife’ from the ‘insta girls’ trying to get the perfect booty shot to post with a motivational quote to the shirt off ‘mirror flex guy’ to grunts and slams weights crew and of course I like to give advise guy (more on this in a later post)
With that in mind however 99% of people haven’t noticed you – not because you’re insignificant but because they really don’t care – they are there for themselves. When I am in the gym – hood up, headphones on, lifting I am pretty sure a Zombie Horde could crash the place and I wouldn’t notice.
So please don’t let this worry you, go and do your thing – get sweaty, get out of breath, make some noise do whatever it takes and don’t concentrate on others 99% are just there to workout.
3. Don’t be afraid of the weights room
What I came to realize is that fear, that’s the worst of it. That’s the real enemy. So, get up, get out in the real world and you kick that bastard as hard you can right in the teeth.” Walter White
I have talked with multiple starter clients who want to program around the weight room, both male and female. Can I just use the machines, can I bring a few weights to the stretch area, etc. Nope.
The weights room is for everyone, just in case you didn’t hear me EVERYONE! Don’t be intimidated by some muscles, grunts and a predominantly male environment – its really not that bad. Most people in this area REALLY don’t care about you and your training. They are there to lift, hit PRs get jacked and don’t really care much about what anyone else is doing (uness you’re squatting in the curl rack maybe…)
Also ladies don’t be afraid of getting bulky or big – can this myth die already? For anyone lifting weights is the way in which you’re going to shape your body. Want ‘curves’ lift weights, want a bigger butt, leaner arms, toned abs, bigger biceps, stronger body, better mobility – Yup lift weights.
If you’re in the gym to ‘get in shape’ its integral you lift weights – this means getting into the weight room and moving some iron – at this point re-read point 1 & 2, that will make point 3 a lot more achievable.
4. Form and Range of Movement first
‘If you do the work you get rewarded. There are no short cuts in life’ Michael Jordon
So you have a good plan, you’re not worried about the other people in the gym and you’re in the weights room. You’re crushing it if you’ve got this far – so now keep going. Make sure you’re concentrating on your lifting form and going through a full and proper range of movement as your priority. This is going to create the best possible base for you to build on in your gym career.
Take your ego out of it. Progressive overload is the central tenet of lifting yes, however nobody should be building on a week foundation. You can’t build a house without ‘bricks and mortar’ however its no good building it on mud – you have to lay a solid foundation – the same is correct here.
Get good advise (see point 1) on how to lift with correct technique and where possible (barring a medical reason) use a good range of movement. Squat deep, Bench to your chest, Pull your collar bones to the bar etc. – this ensures the development of good mobility, great strength through the WHOLE movement and will 10% result in the best possible hypertrophic and strength gains.
If this means you have to take some weight off of the bar, drop some reps etc – then that’s cool. You’ll be back stronger and better than before in no time!
5. HAVE FUN
‘Fun isn’t something one considers when balancing the universe. But this… does put a smile on my face.’ Thanos
I can’t stress this point enough, you must choose activities that you enjoy. Yes there are going to be things that may be ‘better’ than others to some extent however nothing ‘better’ if you can stick to it – which you won’t unless you enjoy it.
Make sure there is a healthy dose of things you enjoy alongside things you find a little tougher. Now this isn’t license to ‘skip leg day’ or leave out key movement patterns however it does mean you should tailor your training towards you and you only!
Its no good following Chris Hensworth’s Thor program if you dislike every second, sprinting to death if you hate running, going to a class just because your friend does. Cast your net wide and try a range of activities, exercises and ideas to set up your perfect gym plan. This will ensure the end result is something you enjoy, can stick to and actually look forward to doing.
Exercise should NEVER be a punishment
Never ‘punish’ yourself for making a nutrition slip up and for sure never let a coach ‘grind you to dust’ unless there is a clear aim and objective of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Train Smart. Have Fun. Get Results
*Bonus tip if you’re serious about year being your year to change for the better – then take some photos today! Make a commitment that the photos you take 3 months from now will show you’re a step closer to your goal and 12 months from now a huge leap towards your goal. I know this can be scary but I’ve found it one of the most powerful tools to use with clients.
So much can happen with ‘body re-composition’ when you’re a gym newbie that the scales can be pretty unreliable. Take some pics to use alongside weighing and this time next year you’ll be very glad you did.
Thanks for reading and I hope you all crush your new year goals