Are you looking to start going to the gym for the first time? Whatever your fitness goal is – whether it’s shredding, losing pounds, or simply maintaining fitness – there will be a program and routine that best suits your needs. However, how do you start going to the gym for the first time?
Before you head to the gym, there are a few basics that you’ll need to keep in mind. These include gym essentials (what to bring or must-haves in your gym bag), diet and supplements, workout routines you should do, and others.
So, without further ado, here’s a complete beginner’s guide to starting at the gym for the first time. We hope that you learn something from this guide to help you in your fitness journey!
Before you start, you should have certain essentials in your gym bag. These are beneficial to your sessions at the gym and will also make you feel comfortable. Here’s a list of must-haves for your gym bag or luggage:
Phone and music gadgets
Listening to music while working out is very important to get you focused while at the gym. If you only lift weights and/or run mindlessly on the treadmill, you will soon get tired easily if you don’t have any pumping music to get you going.
If you don’t exactly like workouts at first but want to start going to the gym for certain reasons, your favorite music and tunes will help boost your mood and get you motivated. Workouts can be insanely boring without hearing your favorite song so why not add a bit of excitement?
After all, workouts should be enjoyable, which is why most people who go to the gym bring their headphones or earphones, aside from their phone. Gyms usually don’t allow loudspeakers because they might distract others so it’s best to stick to gadgets that can be plugged into your ears.
You can’t just go to the gym without bringing a water bottle! After any workout, getting hydrated is very important for muscle and stamina recovery. Most workouts will be tough and grueling – especially if you decide to give it your all (or more), so having a personal tumbler with water is important.
Even though most gyms can provide you with towels, we prefer bringing your own – especially for sanitary purposes. Towels should be personal – sharing them with someone else calls for a few health concerns, even if you trust each other.
With that said, don’t wipe your sweat right away! Towels are meant to keep you dry after you’ve finished your workouts or routine or if you head to the shower (if the gym has one).
What you wear when going to the gym is very important – it not only keeps you more focused but also helps you feel more comfortable while working out while looking good and fashionable. You don’t have to wear plain shirts and tank tops all the time if you don’t feel like it – there are many options out there.
The general rule to wearing gym clothes is to make them comfortable and something that will bring out your best workout mood. You don’t have to spend a lot of dollars just to get the most expensive gym clothing because even the budget-friendly ones work out well – so long as they are comfy for you!
You can choose from tank tops to t-shirts, long sleeves, and even hoodies – it depends on what feels comfortable to you. Some people even wear statement t-shirts when going to the gym to get them more pumped up for working out.
Workout Routine at the Gym
First, what kind of fitness goal are you heading for? Whether it’s for building muscle, losing fat, strength training, or just overall fitness, there’s a routine that’s meant for you. Most bodybuilders have training splits, which are a set of routines with a specific muscle target.
If you’re not sure what type of routine works out best for you, why not get a gym trainer to help you out? Although there are a lot of guides on the internet for workout suggestions, you should choose one that best suits your needs and level of comfort.
Don’t be afraid to start small and work your way upwards – everyone is a beginner at first. If one workout routine doesn’t work out for you (pun intended) then try choosing another. Every person has their body structure, which is why workout routines are not one-size-fits-all.
When it comes to workouts, always remember to not exert too much effort that you wear yourself down. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness can happen if you make your workout programs too grueling to the point of pain after 2 days or so.
Even though this pain won’t appear at first, it will happen later and will take its toll on your overall physical and mental health. However, this usually only happens if you suddenly start with a grueling workout and if you don’t work out regularly.
Once you train yourself hard enough and work out at least four times a week or so, your body will get used to the workouts and you won’t feel the delayed soreness later on. Either way, you can still push your limits if you like but always find time to rest so that your workouts will be more effective.
Types of workouts
Compound exercises are workouts involving multiple muscle groups. An example of a compound workout would be deadlifting (you use your legs and your back), as well as using the bench press (which uses your triceps and chest).
These workouts are more efficient if you want to save time and effort because you are already honing your different muscle groups in one sitting. However, with that said, bicep curls, which only use our biceps, might be good as well if you’re only targeting those muscles.
Choose the Right Sets and Reps
A set is a set of reps, which stands for repetitions. It tells you how many times you will do a certain exercise or workout action. The number of sets and reps will vary across all kinds of training routines and it also depends on your fitness goal.
If you want to get stronger, such as for powerlifting, you’ll likely want to have fewer reps but more sets, whereas hypertrophy (building gains) depends more on tons of reps but a moderate amount of sets. Hypertrophy depends mostly on conditioning your muscles to make them grow – hence, more reps.
For those who want to increase endurance, having way more reps (more than 12, usually) and only a few sets will do the job. For building power, consider about 3 to 5 sets with only a few reps each – power workouts are usually more grueling but only require one to two reps.
Maintain Proper Form
Keeping up your form in any exercise or workout routine is very important. The most crucial benefit of doing any workout in the proper form is to prevent injuries. Using the wrong form will only lead you to accidentally hurt any of your muscles or joints.
Aside from that, not maintaining the proper form, specifically in a compound exercise, will result in not getting the ideal gains or training for all of them. For instance, your incorrect form could target one muscle group but not all of them.
Learning the correct form with any exercise is easy – there are a plethora of tutorial videos online on how to do it. If you are still unsure, have a gym trainer or buddy assist you to check if your form is just fine while you are doing your workouts. This is essential for difficult lifting workouts to avoid injuries.
A huge percentage of your gains at the gym (or whatever your fitness goals are) go to the food that you eat. Even if you train as hard as you can and get proper rest – the diet plan you are currently in will still affect your body.
A balanced diet is needed for a healthy lifestyle – the same can be said for going to the gym. However, you might have heard people take mostly protein and white meat instead of too many carbohydrates – especially if you want to build muscle.
Most people looking to get fit at the gym often cook food on their own. Home cooking allows you to choose whatever ingredients and nutrients go into your food. If you have a gym trainer, professional coach, or nutritionist, they might recommend certain diets for your needs depending on your goal.
Not every person would want to eat just plain protein all the time, which is why fitness-friendly recipes that are still good to most taste buds do exist on the internet. What we like about home-cooked meals is that you can choose a recipe without the additives that you don’t want for your body.
The next time you want to change your diet plan, try learning a dish that will help keep you healthy, strong, and focused at the gym – good food, coupled with everything above, equates to success.