Friday, September 19, 2008

For Beginners at the Gym

I've been a regular gym bunny for some time now. Every now and then, a friend of mine who has just started working out would tell me that they are shy or embarassed in the gym. It's pretty common actually, especially for beginners. If you're starting out and have never stepped into a gym before, it can be quite intimidating. All the different and numerous weight equipments might seem alien to you. Plus, there's all the fit or muscular people working out everywhere. You may think that you're too skinny, fat or out of shape and feel awkward exercising amongst the fitter and more muscular gym-goers.

Let me tell you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Remember, everyone starts out as a beginner and struggles, just like yourself. All the fit and muscular gym-goers were also skinny, fat or out of shape when they began. What you see today is the product of all the hard work, dedication, discipline and proper training. It's like seeing an impressive building. You admire the finished structure and design, but you never saw the amount of work and effort that went into completing it. So when you start going to the gym, acknowledge that you're a beginner and use those around who're better than you as motivation to work hard and improve!

Here are some tips to help you start out:

1. There are bound to be gym instructor(s) around. Feel free to ask about weight exercises to train different body parts and the proper technique during lifting. This is important to minimize/ eliminate injury.

2. Do some research on the internet or by reading to find a basic lifting routine and learn about exercises. You might not be familiar with the names for different exercises but you can find pictures, videos or ask the instructors/gym members how to do perform them.

3. See an interesting exercise that someone is doing? Ask that person what it's for and try it out!

4. Don't be afraid to seek advise or tips from someone who's doing well at the gym. Most experienced lifters would be glad to help out a beginner who's trying to improve their physique. Till this day, I've yet to come across someone experienced but arrogant or unwilling to help.

5. If you're out of shape, try not to feel too awkward or self-conscious at the gym. Everyone is probably focusing and busy on their own routines to notice. Just focus on working hard and improving yourself!

6. If you feel a certain pain during lifting that's bothering you, you might be doing it wrongly. Ask an instructor or gym member to help monitor your form or show you the right way to do it.

7. If you can afford it, hire a personal trainer. It really helps to have a certified trainer constantly guiding, motivating, pushing and keeping you consistent through your workouts. This way, you can learn and improve a lot faster. However, make sure that your personal trainer is DEDICATED and KNOWS HIS/HER STUFF.

8. If you can't afford it, find a gym buddy. It can be someone who's also starting out like yourself, or a friend who's already into it. By having a partner, you can keep each other motivated, consistent and improve by competing against each other.

Work hard and continuously improve! Hope this helps =)

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