When people talk about going to gym, the things comes to our mind are body building, getting in shape, weight loss, fun, time pass, being healthy and stuff. Trust me before starting a gym my thoughts were the same but it is much more than that. Body building is not just a sport it is a lifestyle in a complete different atmosphere. Its not that difficult but also not very easy as well to maintain your fitness life along with the daily hectic routine.
My Story when I started:
Before going to the main topic I wanted to share my story with you guys. You can skip this paragraph If you are not interested in my story. The reason I wanted to share my story was just to warn or alert you. So that you or anyone don’t make the same mistakes that I did.
When I started going to gym my main goal was to gain weight and make muscles but was going to start a gym without even having a basic knowledge about anything regarding fitness like what to exercises, what is nutrition etc. And trust me for months I kept learning and doing gym regularly without having a progress in my body. But eventually I started learning about things which I didn’t knew before and all this time I was doing those things completely wrong.
In result, to be honest I wasted like 5 to 6 months. Just to learn basics that I should have known in the start or even before starting a gym. So there are some important things that everyone should know before starting working out. Whether your goals are to gain mass/weight, weight loss, shredding or bulking.
These are some of the basic things everyone must know and keep in mind before going to gym:
1. Always start with a plan:
When I started my fitness journey I did not had any plans about what I am going to do in gym or how can I do it. The gym I joined had a personal training package but it was pretty expensive that I could not afford. So I took a normal package which was without a trainer. So I started doing some useless exercises in the start which were not even affecting my body. Even if some of the exercise choices were correct but I was doing them with the wrong angles.
Like for example, My weight was around 46 kg and still I used to love doing cardio all the time which wasn’t even necessary or good to achieve my goals. See I had 100% motivation and was even putting my 100% energy to get mass and increase my weight. But I didn’t had a plan to execute it right.
Now I understand how important it is to have a plan or set of plans (goals) before starting a gym. And you should know or keep in mind that how you are going to execute it. There are some exercises which would be bad for you or useless if you do them in the start. So make sure you know about what exercises are best for your body or how many reps/set are good for you. What type of nutrition you should adapt etc.
2. Don’t get disappointed or lose hope:
Many people get disappointed too early after seeing their little or even zero progress or after not getting the results they have planned. So you must know that everything takes time, success won’t come overnight and there will be a setbacks. So before going to the gym- do not make your firm believe on anything regarding achieving your goals like shape, weight, size or partner etc. Whether you may achieve them or not, trust me you will get disappointed pretty soon. Gym is a definition of ‘try again’. If you fail once start again. Try changing your goals with respect to time and be flexible in your decisions.
What to do?
- You are not varying your workouts. As repeating the same exercises every week will lead to a barrier in your fitness performance and results.
- Limit your workouts to 30 to 50 minutes. In the start many people spend too much time doing exercises so the truth is by spending too much time the benefits are not great.
- Daily protein. Many people like me don’t even care about protein intake in the start because of the lack of basic knowledge. As whether you are doing strength training or cardio protein is very important. Protein plays a vital role in rebuilding your muscle tissues after the workout.
- Slow lifting. One of the most important exercise technique. If you lift and release slowly it will increase the muscle TUT (time under tension). This way you are maximizing your each move and will get better results.
- Go Heavy Weight. Its best to start with lower weight when you are starting out and once you have gotten a good form and your goals are to bulk up and gain weight fast. Then you must lift heavy weights so with good form you will get better results very fast. And try to increase your weight limit every week.
- One/Two set, to failure. Instead of doing 3-4 sets as most people do, maximize your workout effectiveness by doing only one or two sets with max reps or till failure. You can apply this technique to both strength training or cardio etc. Just make sure you keep your form right by hitting with proper angles.
- Focus on Compound Exercises. As Instead of doing Isolation exercises you can maximize your exercise effect by doing compound exercises which hits the multiple muscles group. Some of the great examples of such exercises are squats, dead-lifts, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, dips, rows, bench press and other compound and full body workouts.
- Get your angles right/Balance lifting. Doing wrong angles with bad balance techniques will lead you nowhere except to injuries or bad form. Never sacrifice your good form for heavier weights or intensity.
- Introduce Variations. To even every exercise you can do or create number of variations in it. Especially if you are doing cardio and your goals to get fit or lose weight. My point is that don’t stick to the same workout routine for too long even if you are doing strength training. Otherwise your body is going to adjust to its stress level and you won’t be getting an effective workout.
- Take a day off and go for a vacation. Its okay to take a day off when you don’t feel like working out. To get a fresh start its okay you can skip gym and take a day off if you want to but don’t make it a habit. You can always do a cheat day and enjoy with your family and friends.
3. Workout Partner:
Your workout partner is very important to get a good start in your fitness journey. First of all choose a partner who has some experience in body building before or at least have some know-how of exercises. Pick someone who cares for you and will motivate you throughout your journey. Make sure you guys set time and follow the same routine. And also you and your partner must be regular and have a similar time slots available for the workout.
No partner…No problem!
Don’t get afraid if you have no gym partner or friend in gym to get help from. You can always do solo training by yourself and in my opinion don’t rely on others if you can. If you have a gym buddy that’s good. If not, then go start training solo you can do it. As from the start, I myself believe in doing solo because I love to do body weight and calisthenics exercises. But when I do heavy lifting then mostly I do with partners or take help from other people. Sometimes I even ask for help from strangers I don’t even know. But yeah most of the times I like to train alone.
4. Don’t be shy:
I have seen many time people get very shy and nervous when they step into the gym. So don’t get shy of yourself and be proud of what you are. You will find every type of personality and people with different mindsets in the gym. Like If you want to take a picture, make a video or even want to take your shirt off never get afraid from the people around you. Everybody you see around you better or successful than you. Keep in mind that they were a loser once and everybody starts from bottom.
Try to solve out your fitness problems in gym by speaking to others. Be easy to ask for help, let them suggest you the correct angles or right exercises. From my experience if not everyone most of them will help you so be friendly!
If you think somebody gave you the wrong advice or you don’t trust the guy. Then take opinions from different other people as well and make a conclusion about right or wrong. Try to always take advice from an experienced guy or from your gym trainer. And do your research about it as well, everything is available on Internet these days.
Stay away from the bullies or the groups who run the mobs or fighting crews. Especially from those guys who talk a lot and wastes most of their time in making fun and cracking jokes. Or otherwise you will end up wasting your time like them with ruining your routine as well.
5. Source of Motivation:
Motivation is another very important aspect when are going to gym or planning to. My source of motivation is every other guy who is doing better than me is my motivation. Are you running out of motivation? Best thing is to find and look towards the people around you, who are doing better than you and try to gain motivation from them. If they can do it then why can’t you?
Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.
Like if you are looking at the losers who are not doing anything except wasting their time and their parents money all day. Partying, smoking, drinking, wasting most of their time looking on their social media and laughing on memes. Then trust me you are not going to achieve anything and even chances are- you may end up like them. Time is money so don’t waste it on bad people or with bad people.
Stay positive and start following those people who are actually doing great and helping other people as well. Like there are thousands of athletes, motivational speakers, celebrities and other people who has the positive mind to stay motivated and get inspired from them. Even a good motivating friend is great gift from God. There are number of athletes and their stories of hardships and transformations to get inspired from. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dwayne Johnson, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Bruce Lee, Mohammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov and many others, depends on your liking, favorite team, taste or sports.
Still don’t have any motivation?
Before stating a gym keep in mind that Motivation itself is nothing, there will be some bad days when you don’t want to go to the gym. Or feel no motivation at all or will lose focus because of some type of work load or you will get bore of your routine. Maybe your interests will change over time and you will lose focus. So It’s okay this can happen to anybody even if you love working out. So take a day off, watch a movie, hangout with your friends etc. And wait for the fresh start. And always keep in mind why you started a gym? Make exercise and fitness your habit and a lifestyle.
6. Don’t waste money on trainer:
In-short my point is that now-a-day technology is your best trainer. Everything from A-Z is available on the internet, you don’t have to actually pay for a trainer. Just Google your problemand there will be thousands of contents you will find. There is going to be a lot of good stuff and also bad stuff but you can always watch or read on different sites or channels and will find variety of good content about fitness. There are thousands of free training programs on Youtube and other websites like us are available.
So, don’t fall for fake trainers and fake training programs. Or even if you can afford a trainer and if you are willing to hire a trainer. First just check his/her history or experience, his social pages and check other trainers as well and their fees (charges) too available in your area and then compare them and select a better and cheaper one from them. Wasting a lot of money on a personal trainers is not a good choice. Instead you can spend that money on your equipment, gear, diet and health.
In a world of body building and fitness the most important thing is your diet and nutrition. So whenever you starts going to gym and getting serious for your physical fitness. For this purpose get opinions from some experienced guys or certified trainers. And understand your body requirements of protein, carbs, fats, calcium, vitamins and other nutrients etc. Important thing is to learn how to calculate these things in your daily diet and how much your is body requirement with respect to your workout plan.
You can find hundreds of good diet charts online. However most of them are paid. If you have a personal trainer you must ask him/her to make you a proper diet plan to follow. As it is very important when I started I didn’t even knew about nutrition & diet and was not taking food which was necessary for my body. In result I wasn’t getting the results I wanted.
“You don’t have to eat less or more, you just have to eat right”
“Body is made in the kitchen, not in the gym”
“Until you get your nutrition right, nothing is going to change”
Most of the people have never even thought of the outfit before training. But believe me it is one of most important part of your training routine and the time you are going to spend in gym. The outfit defines your personality first of all and it makes your first impression on others. During or after the workout you will definitely feel tired/fantastic/exhausted/pumped or will be covered in sweat. But believe it or not your clothes can make a big difference in how you are going to feel during or after the workout or even effect your workout duration.
So consider cotton or polyester made fabrics as they absorb sweat keep you comfortable during workout. Fitting is also very important, choose something in which you can find yourself comfortable and in general the one which does not gets in the way of your activity or training. And also choose with respect to seasons. Like warm clothes for winters which can keep your body warm for some time after the workout otherwise you may get sick.
I would recommend you some things like what to wear and what you should not wear if you are going to gym or planning to exercise:
Here’s what you shouldn’t wear:
- Jeans. As they are too hard to move around in when you need maximum range of motion.
- Flip-flops or sandals. You are going to get your workout done, not to worry about falling out of your shoes, right? You probably also wouldn’t want to wear dress shoes or heels if you are a women. Just not a good idea at the gym.
- A suit obviously, kurta or frock etc. Too stuffy and one must use his/her common sense. You are not going to attend any wedding or a funeral and its gym not a restaurant or an office, where you came for any sort of interview or a date.
- Shorts below the knee. Again too hard and uncomfortable, even if they are super baggy. They are going to get caught on your knees when you bend your leg at the hip and knee simultaneously. And will eventually irritate you.
- Too tight shirt or leggings. Sometimes people wear too short and tight clothes while training that they couldn’t even able to move in them.
Here’s what you should wear:
- Above the knee shorts are good. They don’t have to be booty shorts or swim suit like short unless you want them to be. They will be good, flexible and comfortable while training.
- A comfortable shirt/tank top that can wick sweat. It can be a loose shirt or a compression shirt, either will work. You can also wear a cotton t-shirt if you really want to. Totally depends on your choice.
- Leggings for women. As they are stretchy, offer crazy freedom of motion, and are super comfortable. For women super tight are good. You can wear them with a long t-shirt over them, or the previously mentioned above-the-knee shorts to cover the groin and rear area. Even lots of guys wear these to the gym.
- Sports Trousers for Men. Best choice for men are to wear tight sports trousers while training or shorts. Depends on your choice and weather conditions.
- A decent pair of tennis shoes, joggers or sneakers that fit you well.
There are some very important things which no gym or training facility will provide or suggest you, not for free at least. Which is Gym gear like water bottle, gloves, belts etc. You have to buy the necessary equipment and some of gym gear by yourself before starting a gym.
As gym is a home for many viruses, bacteria and all kinds of germs. A lot of random people from different areas are going to be in the gym and will visit daily. So its better to have your own gym gear so you don’t have to use it or borrow from someone else. Besides it is not a good thing morally and for your body hygiene as well. Some of the most important ones are:
- Water bottle the most important thing of your training. It keeps you hydrated and plus you don’t have to drink water from someone else used bottle or glass.
- Gloves to keep your hands smooth, protected and improves stability. In my point of view gloves are optional, many athletes including myself don’t even use gloves while training. Sometimes I use gloves only when I am training back otherwise I prefer wrist bands.
- Belt is another very important accessory and widely used in strength training and weight lifting. Normally I only use belt I do heavy weight lifting, doing squats or while doing some back exercises.
- Towel to dry your sweat. Its optional, like if you sweat a lot then you must take your towel with you when are going to gym. Carrying a sweat towel brings that extra bit of cleanliness and means you can wipe down the machines for the next user or even for yourself.
- Elastic bands are good for warm-ups or if you want to start with low weight or with little resistance. They improve the quality of your exercise and help to focus your control and stabilizing muscles. They are fundamental for functional training and a great alternative to machines plus they are very cheap and lightweight.
- Wrist watch to keep an eye on time. It is maybe optional but very important. Trust me you don’t want to waste time in gym. 40-60 minutes are more than enough to spend in gym and complete any workout routine.
- Wristband helps to stabilize the wrist, which prevents from hyper-extending and helps with proper wrist placement under the bar. Moreover, wrist wraps helps you stabilize barbell weight and prevents from reducing any strength from your shoulders or legs for corrective movements. They can be used in type of physical training and I prefer and recommends to wear wristbands over gloves.
- Head phones obviously if you are music junkie like me. Music is a great source of motivation during your training session and helps in boosting your energy.
- Gym bag to carry all your gym stuff and to keep it safe.
Some other additional and optional equipment and things people use and bring to gym are like protein jars, body sprays, candies, glasses, camera etc.
10. Finding a gym:
Having a gym near-by is a blessings but in some places people can’t find gym or any training facility near their house. Sometimes people can’t afford it or the place is no good or don’t have a better or enough equipment etc. So in that case- choose a best feasible, nearest, cheaper one.
The most important thing is the atmosphere, make sure the place must be friendly. Gym place should be based on a wide area and it shouldn’t be very congested. Vast and open space means you can train easily where other people won’t disturb you. Best choice in my opinion would be if it is in the walking distance to your living place. As It will save both of your time and the money.
“Bodybuilding is much like any other sport. To be successful, you must dedicate yourself 100% to your training, diet and mental approach.” Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I hope you liked this article, these are the things which I have experienced during 3 years my of fitness journey and If I knew these thing before starting a gym, maybe I could have done better. These above mentioned things are just general sketch and are not obvious, it may have a different effect or impact on different people. I hope it will help you in your journey. Stay blessed, keep pushing and don’t forget to give us your feedback in comments.
Manages our Health & Fitness section as he is a Certified Fitness Athlete & Trainer with over 3 years of Experience in Body Building, Fitness & Nutrition. Moreover, being a Cinephile he loves to write and share his thoughts and reviews on movies, TV series, actors, stories, film theories & criticism.