If you’re new to the gym then it’s very easy to feel intimidated and stick to the treadmills.
Fear not, we’ll break it down and make it easy and worthwhile.
Walking into the gym for the first time can be really intimidating. I remember my first day and how confused I was looking at all these crazy looking machines. I had no idea where to start or what to do. I naturally did what anybody else would do and I mimicked what other people were doing. Little did I know, that led me down the wrong path.
Should I Even Be Weight Training? I Want To Lose Fat.
When we think of fat loss we either think of a fat burner supplement or we think of cardio. Cardio surely is the way to “melt away those pesky pounds”, right? You’re sweating, breathing hard, your heart rate is sky high, and you feel something.
The impression we have of cardio seems to make sense, and walking on a treadmill is as easy as pressing Go. So after briefly glancing at the confusing and intimidating weight machines, we head to the treadmills and walk for 30 minutes, while browsing social media.
Cardio has its place, but if you really want to change your health and body, you need to incorporate weight training. It burns more fat, boosts your metabolic rate, and helps to favorably shape your physique. Weight training FTW.
Machines Or Free Weights?
If you’re new to the gym then I advise that you primarily stick to machines at first. Most machines have a label with some instructions to guide you, and with the range of motion on a fixed path, the chance of injury is very low.
Jumping into free weights isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re not comfortable doing so, then hold off. The last thing you want is an injury.
Basic movements like bicep curls are hard to screw up, so you could incorporate those, but I would recommend that most of what you do be on machines, starting out.
How Sore Is Too Sore?
You are going to be sore…very sore, most likely. For the paranoid, it may feel like something is wrong. Walking up and down the stairs, sitting on the toilet, putting on your shirt…you can instantly feel like you’re 90 years old.
This is a normal and natural response to weight training. When you lift weights you’re breaking down muscle tissue. This is a good thing, but the breakdown leads to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and this can be pretty painful at times.
The soreness can vary, but it’s almost always the worst when you’re first starting…or restarting. I’d compare it to a “break-in” period, where your body is trying to adapt to this new stimulus.
The best cure for this discomfort is to get back in the gym. Stretching, massage, and even ice can help with the pain you may be feeling…just don’t stop going to the gym because you’re sore. It will go away.
How Much Muscle Can I Expect To Build?
If you’re new to the gym and new to lifting weights, then you’re positioned to build muscle fairly quickly. This doesn’t mean you’re going to turn into a bodybuilder overnight, but it does mean that you can experience more progress at first then you likely will at any other point down the road.
Often referred to as “noobie gains”, the body responds very rapidly to this new stimulus you expose it to and muscle growth occurs. This will only aid in helping you lose fat and adding preferential shape to your physique.
It’s not uncommon for men to see 10lbs of muscle within the first 6 weeks of training. Women can see 5 lbs or more – but this won’t lead to a gain on the scale, as you’ll likely see fat loss at the same time. This results in a great improvement in body composition and what you see staring back at you in the mirror.
What About Stretching?
Stretching is great, but timing is key. If you’re feeling particularly stiff and sore, then warming up by doing some light cardio before you begin lifting weights, is preferred. Stretching is best done after you’re done lifting, or after you’re very warm.
You should never stretch when your muscles are cold, as this alone could cause an injury. It could also lead to lowered output – meaning you won’t be as strong during that lifting session.
Best Time Of Day To Workout?
The best time is the time you can consistently go. If you have an unpredictable schedule then staying consistent can be challenging, if not impossible. First thing in the morning is a surefire way to get it done. Whereas any other time of the day is subject to distraction and conflicts.
Starting is always the hardest part, but once you get in there and get familiar with the layout and the movements, it becomes easier and a lot more fun.
Must read: What To Expect In Your Fitness Journey
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