Fitness tips for gym newbies

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Lisafuller
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Fitness tips for gym newbies

Post by Lisafuller » Mon, 27 Sep 2021 3:10 am

Hi all, have been thinking about getting a gym membership recently but I’m not sure where to start in the gym once I do. I know a combination of weights and cardio is ideal for weight loss and calorie burning, but other than that, I’m not sure which machines are best to use or where to start really. Would appreciate any tips.

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Re: Fitness tips for gym newbies

Post by smoulder » Mon, 27 Sep 2021 9:43 am

Depends on goals. But my general advice is that free weights and cardio machines are generally what most people need. At the very least, what most people should do for balanced a balanced lifting experience is :
1. Barbell or dumbell presses. Flat bench or standing shoulder presses or a bit of both.
2. Barbell squats done as deep as your flexibility will allow you - bottom of the thighs should at least break below parallel.
3. Dumbell or barbell bent over rows.

Machines are mostly not going to give you great results and tend to leave you with strength imbalances.

You mentioned that you like to box, so there's the punching bag as well.

Lastly cardio workouts - you can look up tabata and barbell complexes. These are 2 techniques I use to improve cardiovascular stamina.

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Re: Fitness tips for gym newbies

Post by ProvenPracticalFlexible » Mon, 27 Sep 2021 12:44 pm

I'm not claiming to be an expert here, but one important thing I've learned over the years is to remember to rest enough between exercise, and usually better have different days for cardio vs weights, and not to go over the top when starting new exercise routines, but give your body time to adjust. Initially with weights aim for series 10-12 repeats.

For example:
Monday weights
Tuesday cardio
Wednesday rest (or light cardio like swimming/walking, stretching etc)
Thursday weights
Friday rest
Saturday cardio
Sunday rest (or light cardio like swimming/walking, stretching etc)

But of course depends on your goals you can search internet for all kinds of programs and examples.

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Re: Fitness tips for gym newbies

Post by Addadude » Mon, 27 Sep 2021 1:57 pm

Hmm... to be honest, asking for exercise tips on a forum is probably not the best approach.

Since you are completely new to the gym, I think it is best to sign up for a personal training package with a definitive 'exit point'. This means that you work with the trainer to identify the best combination of exercises and exercise types (resistance training/cardio) for your personal needs and then focus on learning how to do those exercises properly under the trainer's supervision. (The trainer should also provide you with a nutritional plan.) Once you are confident that you know how to perform the exercises correctly, you should be able to continue to workout without supervision. This could take between a month and 3 months.

Another good tip is to keep a training journal (a literal physical notebook or an app) which lists the exercises, reps and weights you use. Once a particular exercise becomes 'too easy' (e.g. you start off only being able to do 8 reps, and you eventually get strong enough to do 15 reps etc), the it is time to increase the resistance (or weight) used. This is called progressive resistance training and it is the key to progress.

But start with a trainer first to ensure you are doing things correctly.
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Re: Fitness tips for gym newbies

Post by Lisafuller » Tue, 28 Sep 2021 2:38 am

smoulder wrote:
Mon, 27 Sep 2021 9:43 am
Depends on goals. But my general advice is that free weights and cardio machines are generally what most people need. At the very least, what most people should do for balanced a balanced lifting experience is :
1. Barbell or dumbell presses. Flat bench or standing shoulder presses or a bit of both.
2. Barbell squats done as deep as your flexibility will allow you - bottom of the thighs should at least break below parallel.
3. Dumbell or barbell bent over rows.

Machines are mostly not going to give you great results and tend to leave you with strength imbalances.

You mentioned that you like to box, so there's the punching bag as well.

Lastly cardio workouts - you can look up tabata and barbell complexes. These are 2 techniques I use to improve cardiovascular stamina.
Thanks for the tips! I consider myself pretty fit, I box four times a week at minimum and run in the evenings, so I’ve become pretty lean and muscular, just haven’t set foot in the gym since the pandemic, and even before then I was never very serious about it. I’ll stay away from the machines then. Thanks! Are kettle bells better than dumbbells? They seem to be easier to grip.

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Re: Fitness tips for gym newbies

Post by Lisafuller » Tue, 28 Sep 2021 2:39 am

ProvenPracticalFlexible wrote:
Mon, 27 Sep 2021 12:44 pm
I'm not claiming to be an expert here, but one important thing I've learned over the years is to remember to rest enough between exercise, and usually better have different days for cardio vs weights, and not to go over the top when starting new exercise routines, but give your body time to adjust. Initially with weights aim for series 10-12 repeats.

For example:
Monday weights
Tuesday cardio
Wednesday rest (or light cardio like swimming/walking, stretching etc)
Thursday weights
Friday rest
Saturday cardio
Sunday rest (or light cardio like swimming/walking, stretching etc)

But of course depends on your goals you can search internet for all kinds of programs and examples.
Nice program! Is this one that you use personally? I’ll definitely make it a point to alternate between strength and cardio, too much of the same workout consecutively can get repetitive and boring after all.

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Re: Fitness tips for gym newbies

Post by Lisafuller » Tue, 28 Sep 2021 2:41 am

Addadude wrote:
Mon, 27 Sep 2021 1:57 pm
Hmm... to be honest, asking for exercise tips on a forum is probably not the best approach.

Since you are completely new to the gym, I think it is best to sign up for a personal training package with a definitive 'exit point'. This means that you work with the trainer to identify the best combination of exercises and exercise types (resistance training/cardio) for your personal needs and then focus on learning how to do those exercises properly under the trainer's supervision. (The trainer should also provide you with a nutritional plan.) Once you are confident that you know how to perform the exercises correctly, you should be able to continue to workout without supervision. This could take between a month and 3 months.

Another good tip is to keep a training journal (a literal physical notebook or an app) which lists the exercises, reps and weights you use. Once a particular exercise becomes 'too easy' (e.g. you start off only being able to do 8 reps, and you eventually get strong enough to do 15 reps etc), the it is time to increase the resistance (or weight) used. This is called progressive resistance training and it is the key to progress.

But start with a trainer first to ensure you are doing things correctly.
Hi Addadude! Thanks for the advice. I’m not new to fitness or the gym, just that my main source of exercise has been boxing for the last two years and I’ve never been too into weights and strength training. You make a good point about hiring a trainer, my concern is just that I’m a little shy so I’m not sure how that would work. But I guess we all have to start somewhere so that will have to be something I’ll need to work on overcoming.

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Re: Fitness tips for gym newbies

Post by smoulder » Tue, 28 Sep 2021 9:33 am

In my opinion, not a lot of difference between kettlebells and dumbbells. Try both and see which one you like.

I'm not a big fan of personal trainers, mostly because I've had more experience mentoring people than most of them. From noobs to intermediates to lifters asking how to maintain strength during Ramadan. And I do it for free - been active in fitness forums, not so much the last couple of years.

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Re: Fitness tips for gym newbies

Post by ProvenPracticalFlexible » Tue, 28 Sep 2021 10:42 am

Lisafuller wrote:
Tue, 28 Sep 2021 2:39 am
ProvenPracticalFlexible wrote:
Mon, 27 Sep 2021 12:44 pm
I'm not claiming to be an expert here, but one important thing I've learned over the years is to remember to rest enough between exercise, and usually better have different days for cardio vs weights, and not to go over the top when starting new exercise routines, but give your body time to adjust. Initially with weights aim for series 10-12 repeats.

For example:
Monday weights
Tuesday cardio
Wednesday rest (or light cardio like swimming/walking, stretching etc)
Thursday weights
Friday rest
Saturday cardio
Sunday rest (or light cardio like swimming/walking, stretching etc)

But of course depends on your goals you can search internet for all kinds of programs and examples.
Nice program! Is this one that you use personally? I’ll definitely make it a point to alternate between strength and cardio, too much of the same workout consecutively can get repetitive and boring after all.
I do something based on that, but depending on other work/family commitments I adjust things, based on which days is convenient to go to gym and when is better to just go out for a run. But yes I follow the principle of rotating days to get enough recovery time from different type of exercise, heavier and lighter days at least if no full break.

Some days I just do my "weights" training session at home; then it's set of push ups, pull ups, squats, sit ups and using resistance bands. That was the daily routine I developed when got the quarantine order from my son's school and had to be locked up in hotel for 10 days or so.

Or I do pull up/push ups at outdoor exercise areas when waiting kids from some hobby activities, so trying to use those lose time moments something else than sitting at coffee shop waiting.

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Re: Fitness tips for gym newbies

Post by Lisafuller » Wed, 29 Sep 2021 4:09 am

smoulder wrote:
Tue, 28 Sep 2021 9:33 am
In my opinion, not a lot of difference between kettlebells and dumbbells. Try both and see which one you like.

I'm not a big fan of personal trainers, mostly because I've had more experience mentoring people than most of them. From noobs to intermediates to lifters asking how to maintain strength during Ramadan. And I do it for free - been active in fitness forums, not so much the last couple of years.
Will do.

I’m not a huge fan of the idea either, mostly because I prefer working out alone. The thought of working out with someone I’m not familiar with makes me pretty anxious and uncomfortable.

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Re: Fitness tips for gym newbies

Post by Lisafuller » Wed, 29 Sep 2021 4:10 am

ProvenPracticalFlexible wrote:
Tue, 28 Sep 2021 10:42 am
Lisafuller wrote:
Tue, 28 Sep 2021 2:39 am
ProvenPracticalFlexible wrote:
Mon, 27 Sep 2021 12:44 pm
I'm not claiming to be an expert here, but one important thing I've learned over the years is to remember to rest enough between exercise, and usually better have different days for cardio vs weights, and not to go over the top when starting new exercise routines, but give your body time to adjust. Initially with weights aim for series 10-12 repeats.

For example:
Monday weights
Tuesday cardio
Wednesday rest (or light cardio like swimming/walking, stretching etc)
Thursday weights
Friday rest
Saturday cardio
Sunday rest (or light cardio like swimming/walking, stretching etc)

But of course depends on your goals you can search internet for all kinds of programs and examples.
Nice program! Is this one that you use personally? I’ll definitely make it a point to alternate between strength and cardio, too much of the same workout consecutively can get repetitive and boring after all.
I do something based on that, but depending on other work/family commitments I adjust things, based on which days is convenient to go to gym and when is better to just go out for a run. But yes I follow the principle of rotating days to get enough recovery time from different type of exercise, heavier and lighter days at least if no full break.

Some days I just do my "weights" training session at home; then it's set of push ups, pull ups, squats, sit ups and using resistance bands. That was the daily routine I developed when got the quarantine order from my son's school and had to be locked up in hotel for 10 days or so.

Or I do pull up/push ups at outdoor exercise areas when waiting kids from some hobby activities, so trying to use those lose time moments something else than sitting at coffee shop waiting.
I see, and yes every bit of free time can be used to exercise. If you’re creative, the world is your gym.

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