You have finally decided to visit the gym, or perhaps you’ve decided to come back after a long time, never mind, being a first-timer is much better than being a never-timer. It might seem scary, especially if you’ve loaded your belly after the winter holidays, and you might be shy to show it to the public (yeah, the ripped guys in the gym could make jokes, right?).
Well, not exactly, those guys probably had a belly sometime in the past, and believe that those guys or girls will be the ones who will help you the most, for everything, from the beginning to the end of the day.
Before starting the plan for the gym, remember the most important thing, feel good and have fun, without these two, you will have poor or no results at all! So let’s get started!
Relax – don’t let fear take control, you should feel good in your body, and feel good when people look at you. Going to the gym is just a way to upgrade your look, inside and outside, make your body look good, and your spirit shine. This is the first obstacle on your way to the better you, so make sure you jump over it with full thrust self-confidence.
Plan a great meal before every visit – always eat before exercise, and don’t believe that you will lose weight faster if you don’t, you will only feel more tired and burn muscle, which is exactly what you don’t want to do. You need the necessary energy, and the best way is to stick to lean proteins such as grilled chicken or fish with steamed vegetables for carbs, or oatmeal with dried fruits and some protein shake. Most of the gym-goers also like to eat a banana before practice, because it is a great source of natural carbohydrates (sugar) and also potassium. Avoid eating legumes, because of obvious reasons (strange things happen when you are bloated and lifting a heavy load, right). Also, remember to eat at least one hour before practice, and one after!
Plan your Workout routine – always plan the day at the gym, it doesn’t matter if you are new to this, or a “returns from a long break”, you must have a plan. You don’t want to lose precious 20 minutes wandering around looking like a stalker, plan the routine and get right on it. If necessary, consult a professional, or take a personal trainer. Or, find a beginner’s plan online, write down your routine and go with it (this is a much cheaper option of course). Always start with a warmup and stretching exercises, you do this on the floor and you don’t care if the machine you have in plan is not vacant. Next have a backup plan for the exercises, because, the machine might be taken, and you don’t want to sit and wait for it to be available.
Be flexible, not only for your body, for the routine also, every day is not the same and your body does not behave the same all the time. When tired, go small and easy, don’t rush it! Start with small weights and over time increase the weight, according to your expectations and wishes!
Inventory check – the equipment for your workout is important, you don’t want to find yourself missing something like a fresh t-shirt, or even worse, fresh underwear! Make a list of all necessary clothes and items you need for your everyday workout at the gym, put it on your fridge, and cross it out as you pack. It seems a lot of work, but you will find it handy. Amongst the most needed items:
- spare underwear, clean shirt, and fresh socks,
- water (1 L should do you just fine)
- spare shoes
- post-workout meal (protein bar or a simple banana)
- workout gear (shoes, lifting gloves, headband)
- toiletries (shampoo, shower gel, deodorant, makeup) and towel for the shower
- Plastic bag for your wet clothes.
Aftermath – working out after a long pause, or worse, for the first time can be an unpleasant experience afterward. The soreness and muscle pain is inevitable, and proper care for your body in these moments is crucial for a fast recovery. Stretching, cold bath, some aspirin, and continuous training are very popular. Whatever you do, don’t make a pause after the first training! The first time is the worse, the second time you go in, start slowly, do a good warmup and you’ll see, the pain will slowly go away.
Make a playlist – update your playlist, put some music that makes you feel alive and ready to rock. Plus, sometimes you will just want to enter your safe bubble and stop listening to all the gym noises (machines, taunts, laughs, and others).
Give yourself a treat – after a good workout feeling great is often without an option, you will feel excellent, you can’t avoid it, and it becomes like a drug, you will want to visit the gym more and more. Now and then treat yourself a snack you might find unsuitable and in the same sentence with “workout”. A chocolate bar or one beer cannot hurt you as much as avoiding them at all costs, give your body some (dosage is critical, some, not plenty), and it will return the favor!
You don’t need to follow all the tips from above; you can make your own list. More important is to follow the list and be persistent and disciplined, and in good time, results will come. Don’t expect miracles, all good thing comes with a lot of effort, time and commitment, and if you can, try and avoid all chemical supplements for raising body mass and increased performances. These chemicals will show results in a much faster pace, but the side-effects can be devastating to your body and mind, and can have a pretty sound backfire!