Are you someone who avoids the gym because you don’t know how to use the equipment or feel anxious?
Let’s start this year off by hitting the gym with confidence!
Here’s an easy Guide to Fitness Success (for Beginners) for anyone (both men and women) who wants to follow along.
You need to warm up first!
Grab a mat, sit down, and do some simple stretching exercises.
You can also calm down by doing something that feels familiar (my generation often remembers exercise at school 😉).
Below are some great suggestions:
- Neck warm-up: Stand up and slowly make circular movements with your head in both directions. Hold the head on each side after a few rounds.
- Back warm-up: Relax the muscles in your upper back by extending your arms wide and then crossing them on opposite sides.
- Calf warm-up: stand up and put one foot in front of the other. Slowly bend the front leg, keeping the back leg straight with the heel on the floor. Repeat on the other side.
- Thigh warm-up: Hold on to something for balance and while standing, grab one ankle and gently pull back until you feel a stretch in the thigh area. Repeat on the other side.
When warming up, focus on moving the joints and muscles, not so much on stretching. Stretching is a priority for cooling down at the end of the workout.
Warm up with cardio equipment
The exercise bike, treadmill, or cross trainer are great places to start some simple cardio.
Spend no more than 10 minutes warming up at a steady pace. If you need help with a piece of equipment, gym staff are usually happy to help you get started.
Once you’re warmed up, go to the free weights area.
Grab a set of dumbbells that suit your fitness level and do some upper body exercises.
If in doubt, always choose a lighter weight – the quality of performance is more important and more effective (especially for beginners) than the size of the weights.
Here is a sample series for beginners:
- 15 dumbbell push-ups;
- 5 bicep curls from a standing position;
- 15 deadlifts.
Repeat as many times as necessary and increase as you become more confident.
Back to the cardio equipment!
Spend 20 minutes doing interval training, which involves intense exercise for short periods followed by periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise.
Try using the manual setting instead of using a pre-selected program as it will give you confidence in the equipment.
For beginners, work hard for 30 seconds and rest actively by walking or keeping a much slower pace on your machine for 30 seconds.
Use the appliances
If you are new to the gym, the squat machine is a great place to start. Do three sets of 10 squats using a light weight.
Other machines that should not be underestimated are the chest press machine and the leg press machine.
Relaxing stretches after exercise
Time to go back to stretching for relaxation (cool down).
Hold each stretch for at least 20 seconds.
Be creative and come up with your favorite stretching practice. Do what you feel is best for your body. Focus on stretching the muscles you used most intensively in the current workout. This will also reduce the chances of muscle fever.
Both with nutrition and fitness, for maximum efficiency it is recommended to use the services of a trainer.