Joining the gym for the first time or even the second or third time can be quite a daunting experience. There are so many different machines that you aren’t quite sure how to use and so many different people who all seem to know what they’re doing that make walking across the gym floor incredibly intimidating. If that sentence made you do a little shiver, here’s two things you need to remember:
1) Most (if not all) the machines have instructions on them.
2) Everyone has been (or still is) in your position.
The gym is all about trial and error. No one walked in on their first session and knew exactly what they were going to do or how they were going to do it, and neither will you. It will take time for you to learn different exercises. It will also take time for you to find out which of these exercises are best for you, depending on your overall goals.
As a beginner your main goals should be to build confidence and create consistency, which you can only achieve by showing up and trying things out. Now, you shouldn’t try and use every single machine during each session because that would just be ridiculous. Instead, you should follow a core routine which you can adapt by adding and subtracting different exercises. For example:
1) Always warm up with some stretches.
2) Start with cardio – Switch between the treadmill, exercise bike, cross trainer, rowing machine and step machine until you find the one you most enjoy.
3) Follow up with floor exercises – Try out different exercises for your legs, arms, and core with just your bodyweight for the first few sessions. Once you’ve perfected your form you can start adding weights to your favourite exercises.
4) Try out a new machine – Choose a machine you’ve had your eye on and give it a try. Read the instructions or ask a member of staff if you’re unsure on how to use it and make sure you set it to a reasonable weight.
5) Cool down with light cardio – Finish your workout with fast walk on the treadmill to cool down your muscles.
Follow this plan for your first month in the gym or until you feel confident enough to design your own. Once you’ve decided on your favourite exercises you can create your own workout regime depending on your new overall goals.