Help! I'm New To The Gym!
Literally everyone starts somewhere. I get it, you walk into the gym, you see all the machines, you see all the heavy lifting and you have no idea where to start and you may even get intimated. I got news for you! Everyone in the gym is there to do the same exact shit you're about to try and do, get better! If we are being honest a good handful of people in most gyms have no idea what they are doing, but they play it off as if they do. I've seen this from first hand experience when I used to workout at commercial gyms. Don't worry about what you look like or what you don't know because if you look close enough, a majority of people are winging it or doing the old classic "fake it till you make it". I'm here to clear that whole not knowing bullshit. In this article, I'm going to give you a few tips and pointers as to where to start and what to do in the gym when you're just starting out. You'll be able to make your own program that you can enjoy and have fun with and feel confident going into the free weight area!
For simplicity sake, lets imagine it's your very first day at a gym and you just signed up last week and today is the very first day of your fitness journey. One thing you'll always want to have when you walk into a gym is a plan. Don't ever go and just wing it. When you wing it, you can't track progress on the weights you're using and that is going to be critical in our fitness journey. How do we make a plan? By programming of course (this is a fancy way of saying make a workout regimen). You don't need an exercise degree, you don't need a cert or really any experience for that matter to make a workout regimen for yourself when starting out. You need consistency, practice, discipline and the ability to have fun with whatever you're doing so you enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it when you start, you're going to stop within the next few weeks, Iv'e seen it a million times.
Creating a Program
I'm going to keep this very very basic so it doesn't complicate things for you guys. Start off with picking how many days you can fully commit to the gym. I personally recommend 3-4 starting out but you can do more if you're a go getter. You can make 1 day a week work as well if you need too. The next thing to decide is, what kind of split do you want to do. What I mean by split is what do you want to target in each of your workouts? Here are a few options to choose from
Push/Pull Split (my personal favorite)- One day you'll do exercises that only target pushing muscles which will include muscles such as quads, shoulders, chest and triceps. This would include exercises like squats, overhead press, push ups, and tricep extensions. The next day you'd include exercises that only involve pulling muscles such as back, hamstrings and biceps. This would include exercises such as pull ups, deadlift, and bicep curls. See how one day your doing the opposing muscle group of the other day? That is a push pull set up.
Upper/Lower Body Split- This one is one day lower and one day upper and you'd alternate between these two. Very basic and simple if you don't want to put too much thinking into it but it also very effective.
Bodybuilding split - This would be where you isolate a portion of your body on a given day. An example would be something like this:
I see a lot of people using this one but this is probably my least favorite personally but that is personal preference, it can still be very effective. Notice how each day has its own body part? This would be a bodybuilding split.
Full Body- This one is good for if you only have a few days in the week to lift or your're short on time. This would consist of hitting full body each time you go into the gym but you shouldn't do this one if you plan on going 5-6 times per week in my opinion because you'll get burned out.
You can pick and choose to fill in the days how you want according to your schedule but here is my recommendations
1 Day per week
1 Full Body
2 Days Per Week
2 Full body
1 Lower body day and 1 upper body day
1 Push Day and 1 Pull Day
3 Days Per Week
1 Push day, 1 pull day and 1 full body
3 Full Body Days
1 Upper day, 1 lower day and 1 full body
4 Days Per Week
2 Push days and 2 Pull Days
2 Lower Body Days and 2 Upper Body Days
5 Days per week
2 Push day and 2 Pull days and 1 Full Body
2 Lower days and 2 Upper Days and 1 Full
Write this shit down when you make your program so you don't forget this! Have fun with it. None of these are better than the other and none of them will get more results than the other will without consistency. Now that we have our layout of the weeks workouts laid out lets go into exercise selection.