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How to Start Going to the Gym

Being healthy isn't a hobby, it's a lifestyle.

What to Expect

You will get sore. When you suddenly start to lift weights or run miles, your muscles will get sore because it is suddenly working hard. This is a good thing. When you workout, your muscles will start to form very small tears that will regenerate and make your muscles bigger and stronger. Soreness will take around four days to completely heal. You can still workout at this time but you should take it lightly.

You will not lose much weight. If you plan on losing fat you will most likely lose a pound every two weeks. If you want to lose a pound a week you need to to lose 500 calories each day. You should cut 300 calories by eating and try to lose 200 calories in the gym. Foods will look like they might not have too much calories in it but might have a lot. For example, there are 480 calories in one cup of a Caesar salad. 

How to Get Started

Being in unfamiliar territory can be terrifying, especially if you see gym veterans, but in reality, it’s not all that hard to get started. People generally think that it is hard to live a healthy and active lifestyle, but if you stick to a flexible diet (under 2,000 calories, filling, and nutritious) and go to the gym at least three or four times a week, you will be seeing small, but impressive results. The first thing to always remember is that every single, even very small, workout can be very beneficial.

Most weight lifting exercises will have a system of reps and sets. Reps are numbers of time you do a repeated action (such as a dumbbell curl) and sets are groupings of reps. The system should be "number of reps" x "number of sets," such as 103. 10 represents 10 reps, and three represents three sets. Doing this, you should do a set of 10, rest, then do it two more times for 30 reps in total.

Different reps and sets can drastically change your muscle's growth. If you choose a big number of reps (12 to 20) with lower weighted weights it will give your muscles more endurance, medium amounts of reps (8 to 12) and weights will make you gain more mass, and finally small amounts of reps (one to eight) and heaviest weights will make your muscles capable of more strength.

The proper nutrition will be key to a healthy body. If you do not eat anything you will not lose any weight or gain muscles, and you can even gain weight and lose muscles, so be sure to eat nutritious meals and the right amount of calories.

Behavior

First of all, when you are done with machines or dumbbells and you get a little sweaty, you should always wipe down the machine. Wiping down the machines prevent germs from spreading and clears all sweat.

Do not hog equipment. It is ok if your done with your set and take a two minute rest, but do not sit on machines just because it is an available seat. You should rest for around two minutes and get back to the machine or free weight and repeat for each set. When you are done with the equipment you can start to wipe down the area you touched, if necessary.

Do not grunt and drop weights. Do not try to prove that you are stronger than your other gym members because you scream or drop weights. You’ll be distracting and in most gyms will be kicked out and have your membership revoked.

Return weights were they should properly be from. In school, since kindergarten, you were taught to clean up after yourself, and when you put dumbbells in wrong spots you will be seen as an unprofessional gym member.

Warm Up and Cool Down

When you warm up and cool down it would seem like your body will thank you for it. For long term you will most likely get an injury if you do not warm up or cool down properly. Warm ups should take around five to 10 minutes long. The purpose of doing stretches are for many reasons. One reason is to raise heart rate. Raising heart rate improves comfort of the body, because, if you start running you can have chances of injuries and even passing out if you start out too intense. Another reason is to gradually start out small to intense so you don’t start out too strong. If you start to lift too heavy without a warm up you can pull or even tear your muscles. Your warm ups should be accorded towards the exercise you are planning to do for the day. For example you should stretch your calf, hamstrings, and quads for cardio day. For arm day you should stretch biceps, triceps, and forearms.

How to Workout While Busy

You should never go up to three days without any form of exercise, so this section will teach you how to get in a workout while you have your busy schedule.

Go to the gym in the morning. This is what I always do whenever I have school and need to workout. Even though you might not be a morning person you can try to wake up an hour or two earlier to workout, then once you get home you can do your regular morning routine. When you do this for a month, it will be extremely easier to do. Once you get used to it, you might even like a morning schedule.

Run to the gym. People spend too much hours on cardio trying to lose weight. When you run to the gym you will waste time, but if you do it smart then you can skip your cardio time in the gym. When you finally get to the gym you can just focus on weight lifting.

Take a scheduled class. If you are busy, classes will be a good asset. Classes can be hard to find since if you're busy it might not be at the right time, or it is not the right class you would prefer. The best classes to take are boot camps.

Tips for Getting Started

The first few sessions shouldn't be about muscle gain or to lose weight, but instead to familiarize yourself with the gym, know your strength, how much you can pull or push, and to train your proper form. If you would like to lose weight anytime, and anywhere, you can refer to my weight loss article.

If you are not comfortable with experimenting with the provided free weights (weights that aren’t connected to a machine) you can always try any of the machines that the gym offers. If you want to start out with free weights instead of machines you can also read my article on everything you need to know about free weights. If you are still unsure you can always ask a fitness instructor or employee.

The most common reason that people start going to the gym is to lose extra weight. It doesn't matter if you're trying to lose fat on your chin or on your belly because losing fat spreads out to your whole body. For example, if you lose a pound of fat you will lose a small percent across all areas.

The way your body loses fat is by having a nutritious caloric deflect. A caloric deficit is when your body uses more energy (calories) than it takes in. If you eat 2,000 calories in a single day you will not lose, but also not gain any weight. If you consume 1,800 you will lose 200 calories worth of fat. If you eat over 2,000 calories you will gain fat according to how much calories you consumed, and remember, certain foods will be more caloric dense than they look , such as one low-fat cupcake will have around 120 per 30 grams but around six calories in lettuce for 30 grams, choose wisely.

Always remember that you are at the gym for you and only you. Do not think or copy any other people at the gym because they will not help you build your body how you want it to be. If you are trying to lose weight you most likely not spend more than two days in a week in the free weights and instead be in the cardio room, even if your going below average then what everyone is going at, go at your own pace.

Remember that everyone loses calories at a different rate. For example, someone who weighs 150 pounds will lose fat at a faster rate than people who weighs 130 pound. This means the more you weigh (weather it’s fat or muscle) will make it easier to lose that weight. You should take this into count because on most cardio machines it will show you how much much calories you burned and it might not always be true.

Sources:

https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/new-to-the-gym-tips

https://triathlonmagazine.ca/feature/new-years-avoid-crowds-gym/

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/12/30/17-bad-gym-behaviors-to-avoid-when-you-start-your-new-years-workouts/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqolRM2_HTQ

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