Terri’s View: Ok, so you’ve actually made it to the gym, but now what? So many shiny machines with buttons and displays and you’re wondering if this was the right decision at all.
Yes. It was the right thing to do. You’ve made a commitment so now it’s time for follow through. Even for a slender person, going to the gym can be intimidating. The machines can feel awkward if you’ve never used them before; you don’t want to get hurt early on or get discouraged.
If it is within your budget, a trainer can be a good way to help you get acclimated and feeling comfortable at the gym. But be careful and choose a trainer that knows your goals and abilities, as some can push you too hard too soon, making you SO sore you’ll be crafting a voodoo doll in their likeness.
So what do you start with? Most people feel more at ease starting with some simple cardio like the stationary bike or walking on the treadmill or the elliptical. These are great places to start; you will build your endurance and confidence, gaining intensity in your workout as you progress. In just one week’s time you can see major improvements in stamina and speed as your body becomes accustomed to moving in ways it hasn’t for a long while.
Hitting the weight machines can be very intimidating, but it is a must to lose fat and gain a lean body. If you don’t have a trainer or a gym buddy that knows the ropes, you need to get over your fear. Watch how others use the machines and then just start light. If you are unsure, most gym members are glad to lend a hand if they see you struggling or if you ask.
I generally do an overall body workout with the weight machines then 30 minutes to an hour of cardio. I switch it up between the treadmill, the elliptical and the cross-trainer. This keeps me from getting bored and an MP3 player with your favorite tunes is a must.
The weight I use on the machines has gone up since I started, but for the most part that was my recipe for weight loss. I go the gym 3 times a week and do weights at least 2 days. Some days you feel it more than others and work a little harder or a little longer, but generally without fail, I make time to go 3 times week. Just do it!
Ed’s View: What I do in the gym.
This week, I wanted to give you an idea of what I do in the gym. I split my workout between free weights, machines and cardio. I do about an hour of weights first – some people do cardio first and there have been pros and cons on what’s best to do first. However, look at it this way: Half the battle is won. You’re in the gym!
I have a routine that I stick to:
Arms: 3 sets; the first set consists of 20 reps of the lowest weight. For the second set, I increase the weight and do 15 reps. Again, on the third set, increase the weight again and do 15 reps.
I will start with shoulders, and then continue to working out my biceps, triceps, and then forearms.
After I finish my arm workout, I move on to abs; crunches on the machines, 3 sets at 25 reps.
Once I finish weights, I do 35 minutes of cardio. My machine of choice is the cross-rainer. I like this machine because it is easier on the knees; I also like the elliptical machine because you get your arms moving. Make sure you set these machines to challenge you, but not to the point that you never go back on. I set my cross-trainer at 11 incline and a resistance level of 10. I have seen people set this higher, but remember this is not a contest and you don’t win a prize for the highest setting you can do, this is for you overall health.
On the elliptical machine, I will set it at 15, but if you are just starting, set it to about 5 just to get the feel. The treadmill, the old standby, is good getting you moving. However, I don’t like running on these because after a session my shins bother me, but if you are going for a brisk walk, this is a great option.
The next time I workout, I will do legs. After that, my next session will include back and chest. I do the same type of routine: 3 sets, 20-15-15 reps, increasing the weight with each set. Every workout includes abs; 3 sets of 25.
I do this 4 times a week and will sometimes get in a fifth day. Some additional tips: Make sure you change your exercises, because your muscles will get used to the routine. The saying is true, “No pain no gain.” Being sore is a good thing. This is how muscles build more mass. Ask questions and share information with other members; the more information, the better it is for you.
Hope this was helpful, until next time,