Are you an aspiring gym bunny but a gym virgin at the same time? There is no shame in never having set foot in a gym – everyone has to start somewhere. The first thing to think about is what you want to achieve, i.e. your goals. Once you decide what it is you want to gain from working out, then it will be a lot easier for yourself, your personal trainer, and anyone else helping you fulfill your dreams. Here a few tips for gym beginners:
Don’t be intimidated by anyone. The girl doing squats, the man doing countless press ups – they all started somewhere, and that definitely isn’t what you are seeing before you. Starting slow and doing a few simple exercises is the first step you need to take as you get your fitness levels up. Soon your five minute treadmill walk will turn into a ten minute jog and soon enough you will be sprinting alongside the person you once idolized. Remember: it doesn’t get easier, you just get better.
It’s ok to put on pounds
As muscle weighs more than fat, it’s perfectly understandable to actually gain weight while appearing smaller and fitting into smaller clothes. But not everyone going to the gym actually wants to slim down so it’s important to remember that. If you’re on the skinny side and want to gain some Victoria’s Secret style curves, then you’re not going to be doing hours of cardio like your best friend. Instead, focus your time and energy on slow and controlled reps of muscle-gaining exercises such as squats, leg curls and weight lifting. Personal trainers are there to help you get your head around everything, and most gyms offer free sessions.
Don’t be afraid of weights
Speaking of weights, you need to get the idea that lifting weights will turn you into a manly, muscly bodybuilder out of your head. Lifting weights will add muscle which will in turn help you burn more calories and greatly accelerate weight loss. And instead of doing a few reps of the heaviest weights you can lift, try more reps and more sets of slightly lighter ones. This will make you much fitter in a shorter amount of time, which means you’ll be able to push yourself at the gym even more.
What to eat before and after
Diet is more important than ever when you’re going to the gym, as you’re going to want to fuel your body before a workout and replenish what you’ve lost after. You should aim to have a meal two hours before hitting the gym so your body has time to properly digest it. If time isn’t on your side, then something simple like an apple or a handful of nuts around ten minutes before you start will keep you going during your workout.
Carbs and protein are a must after a gruelling workout, as they will help you regain the energy you drained at the gym. People usually follow the two carbs to one portion of protein ratio when returning from the gym. The sooner you eat after ending your workout, the better. Chicken and rice, a banana or even a pot of yoghurt are excellent recommendations.