If you have decided to change to a far healthier lifestyle and work on your health, fitness and physique, let me say it’s a great decision and one you will never regret! The hard part is convincing yourself you need to do this and how to go about it.
Most newcomers to the gym make the big mistake of going along a day or two a week, doing a bit here and there and assuming that it’s mission accomplished. Wrong! Below is a list of do’s on how, as a beginner, you can get the best out of the workouts and actually realise your goals and ambitions in whatever you want to achieve. Remember, going to the gym and building towards your goals is a long term mission – it’s exactly like if you run your own business, and you have a long term strategy to achieve the successes and goals to become successful – that self made millionaire…it’s all about planning and sticking to it with ambition, enthusiasm and the will to win! And believe you and me, everyone can do it! And don’t take my word for it…there are hundreds of friends on the PumpingFit page who are achievers and have the results to prove the hard work and effort they have put in.
1: As I mentioned before, avoid heading to the gym and doing a bit of cardio, a few reps on the bench, some curls and a number of crunches……you will not have made the gains you want. A lack of a training plan means you are wasting your time.
Before creating a training plan, decide on what your goals are. What do you want to achieve? Is it pure fitness or to lose weight, get leaner and more muscular? Or maybe you want to train for a marathon? For me, a few years ago, I wanted to gain more muscle, get leaner, fitter and basically achieve a good, toned body – ready for the beach. I found a photo of a male model, cut it out and stuck it on my wall. I then asked myself, “how do I get to this and what will it take?”…….training plans to accommodate all kinds of goals are available on this page – alternatively if you would like one tailored, write a request on the wall and I am sure people will respond back with their advice and ideas on what you want to achieve. I was lucky to be surrounded by friends into fitness and bodybuilding, who understood my needs in regards to workouts and nutrition and a plan was done for me. Then I had a purpose when I went to the gym three to four times a week. Put the plan into a wallchart – and stick that wallchart on your wall at home, so you can constantly update your progress.
2: Rest periods are important – this includes in the gym between sets and outside of the gym. As a beginner in the gym – start at rest periods of around 90 to 120 seconds – by your third to fourth week, you should be in a position of decreasing rest periods to only 30 to 60 seconds…..if you do, it means you are improving each week. If you are able to also lift heavier weights each week, or run that bit faster for longer on the treadmill or on the cross trainer – it mean’s you are making a difference for the better! Outside of the gym, make sure you stick to the rest days as in your plan….you have to make sure you committ 110% to your training schedule. Never make an excuse not to go……otherwise your body and achievements to date will go in decline and you’ll be back to square one. And believe me, and I am talking from experience – the longer you leave it – the harder it is to do it again!
3: As I am sure you know, those looking to gain mass eat a number of meals a day – for a beginner, I don;t personally recommend over eating before you go to the gym. In fact it’s a myth that you should eat a major meal before the gym…unless you fancy vomating – another side effect is you will find it incredibly hard to push yourself once you’re in the gym. Best thing to eat is a protein rich light meal, like a tuna wrap 60 to 90 minutes before heading to your workout.
4: Linking to point three – don’t under eat – newcomers assume that starving yourself and not eating helps you lose weight. Wrong……in fact it means your actually burning less fat from your body, your muscles are being wasted and more importantly, lack of energy from food, means less chance of burning important calories and fat…once in the gym , you just won’t have the energy to do anything unless you have some high protein food inside yourself……remember your goals in the gym have to be supported by nutrition at the correct times of the day.
5: It is essential you know what equipment you’re going to use….most newcomers are 9 to 5 business men and women….you probably only have an hour for your lunch hour – if you include a post workout shower and the walk to and from the officc, you realistically only have 35 to 40 minutes in the gym. You don;t want to be spending your time trying to workout what equipment to use, how it actually works or what one’s are better for you etc……when you join the gym, make sure you ask one of the sales attendants to show you round, explain where everything is. Maybe even ask one of the gyms personal trainers to recommend which equipment to use….that way when you arrive you are ready and fully prepared. Make sure too, you have the correct kit – including a towel to wipe any excess sweat from the benches……..a golden rule in any gym…and also leave your mobile phone in your locker! A) you can’t afford any distractions within your time limit and B) none of the other gym members will appreciate you chit chatting on the phone…..
6: Most gyms have a water fountain – to me this is a distraction and my mind telling me I need water – I must have walked to that water fountain more times than lifting that barbell when doing my bench press………it’s a distraction and it’s an easy way for you to take some time out…best to have your own water bottle and keep it with you – no need to gulp down the fluid….a sip after each set is good enough.
7: Finally, enjoy it! Never ever see the gym as a chore – or a massive effort out of your day or week……I guarantee that once you are in the routine and dedicate the time and the hours, you will be in the habit and want to come back for more…….never ever allow outside vices to tempt you away from your training schedule either………never abandon your goals and ambitions towards a fitter and healthier life!
BARIS AGUN – Owner & Managing Director PumpingFit.com