Beginning Weight Training Basics By: Dustie Davis
I get it: Going to a gym for the first time can be a bit daunting. There’s a lot of equipment that you’re not sure what it does, you’re a little confused on where to start, and men and women are packed in there with body goals. As a gym newb, this can be a lot to process, but don’t get discouraged, everyone starts somewhere, and everyone in the gym is there for the same reason—to work on themselves.
Before you jump on the first machine, let’s cover some overlooked basics: - Fuel your body before working out. I recommend a snack or small meal about one to three hours before exercise with carbs and protein. Don’t forget to fuel your body after a workout too.
Stay hydrated. You are made up of mostly water, so drink plenty of it to prevent dehydration.
Always remember to be polite in the gym: gym staff and fellow gym rats.
Clean off your equipment after use.
Always rerack your weights. It may be a pain to put back six 45 plates, but you don’t want to be known as the gym douche, do ya?
Cut yourself some slack. You’re not supposed to be a know-it-all in the weight room, so watch videos on YouTube, follow your favorite Fitspo Influencers, and ask questions.
Now that we covered the overlooked basics, let’s cover you getting started in the gym.
1. Slow Start Don’t start going to the gym seven days a week, training for an hour at a time because you will probably hate it and never go back. Deciding on a few days to commit to exercise will help create a routine you will be happy with.
2. Good Form Work with your body weight and practice the form of a movement to create good habits before adding weight. Most exercises focus on posture with shoulders back, chest out, and your abs tight.
3. Warm-up A 5-minute warm-up with simple stretches will help get your muscles warmed and prevent injury while lifting. Weight machines require little coordination and offer more stability than free weights while performing the movements.
4. Smart Program 3-4 days a week is a good start to a good workout program. Rest up 60 seconds between sets. Use a weight that is challenging but not too difficult to complete all your reps.
5. Rest Your body grows at rest, so resting is important. While recovery time is different for everyone, you will want to try and not train the same muscle group back-to-back.
But Dustie, I still have no idea where to start or what to do when I get to the gym. I get it, but remember, you’re not supposed to know-it-all, and you will need to do some research on your own to feel more confident of what to do. In the meantime, here is where you can start in the gym with a total body workout.
Total Body Workout: 12 – 15 reps of all movements for 3 sets each • Walking Dumbbell Lunges (each leg 12 – 15 reps) • Leg Press • Lat Pulldown • Dumbbell Deadlifts • Dumbbell Lateral Raise • Dumbbell Bench Press • Cable Triceps Pushdown • Alternating Bicep Curls