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Most Important Gym Tips for Beginners

Updated on March 13, 2015

Time to Change Your Lifestyle

Have you ever seen a guy on the beach and thought Oh my gosh, his body is perfect!. Do you want to be strong and attractive? Do you want to join a gym? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is time to make some changes. This article is going to help you and give the most important tips you should know before joining a gym.

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Dream Body

Perfect body!
Perfect body! | Source

Choose Appropriate Workout Routine

Basically, these are divided into two groups – splits and full-body workouts.

  • Split - every muscle is trained once a week using 2-3 different exercises during one performance. Usually, two muscle groups are trained in one day.
  • Full-body - workout consists of exercises for nearly whole body. However, you need only one exercise for one muscle group. That exercise should be a major one (for example, bench press for chest or squats for legs)

Both of these have advantages and disadvantages. However, most of times it is advised for beginners to start with full-body routines. The argument is that it does not give too much stress for muscles and, usually, there is no pain the day after the workout. Nevertheless, I would recommend you to consult experienced trainer who could assess you physical abilities and give some piece of advice.

Warm-up

This is one of the most important tips, but many people underestimate this thing or even miss it. It is a lethal mistake. Warm-up is extremely urgent in order to have beneficial practice. Why?

  1. Lifting weights without a warm-up can cause pain or even injuries. Definitely, you do not want that...
  2. You can prepare for a workout while warming-up as you say to your body "Be ready, huge workloads are coming for you!".
  3. You can lift heavier weights after a warm-up.

As you see, warm-up is a part of a workout. You should not ignore it if you want to have enjoyable workout and avoid injuries.


How to Warm Up Properly

Quality over quantity

The main idea of this is to say that technique is crucial in the gym. You better use lighter weights but do all exercises flawlessly. Do not overestimate yourself. Do not try to look like a cool guy who can lift heavy weights easily. This could lead to serious injuries which may prevent you from sports for a long time!

So, before joining a gym, consult your trainer or any other experienced muscular guy. If you do not know any, review some videos, practice at home without any weights. After that, when your technique is absolutely perfect, go to the gym, take weights that are not too heavy (and too light!) and correctly perform all the exercises.

Sets and Repetitions

First of all, you should understand those definitions before you decided to join a gym.

Set - it contains of repetitions. It is the process between starting the exercise and finishing it.

Repetition - it is one movement of an exercise.

To make things simpler, suppose you want to do in total 60 pushups. Well, it would be useful to divide this into three parts. Now we have 3x20. It means that you will do 20 pushups 3 times. Those times are called sets. The repetition in this case is one pushup. So, here we have 3 sets and each of them contains of 20 repetitions.

Usually, you will not see something like "3 sets each of 10 reps". More often you might see something like 3x10 which is the same.

How to decide how many sets and repetitions you should do?

Again, it depends on your goals. If your goal is to gain some weight, you should have 8-12 repetitions and 3-4 sets. Do not do too many repetitions as you goal is to gain muscles, not stamina! Most of people do 3x8.

If your goal is to lose weight, numbers are not so strict. You can do more than 12 repetitions, however, 8-12 is enough as well. The number of sets should be the same. But remember, you must do cardio exercises!

Core Exercises

This is one is another important tip. Many beginners do a lot of isolated exercises which are not as effective as compound ones are. You are a beginner, so you do not need sophisticated exercises. You need efficient ones. Here is a list of your body parts and best exercises for these:

  • Chest - bench press, dips.
  • Legs - squats, leg press, calf raises.
  • Shoulders - military press.
  • Back - pull ups, T-bar rows, deadlifts.

These are TOP 10 exercises for your body. Some of them may be debatable, but no one could say that following three exercises are not necessary for your workout routine. These are:

  1. Bench press. Want to have nice and muscular chest? Then you do not want to miss bench press.
  2. Squat - it is extremely hard to get strong legs. But it would be much more difficult to get them without doing squats.
  3. Deadlift - best exercise not only for lower back and hamstrings , but it strengthens whole body as well.

They are fantastic compound exercises. They train not only muscle parts I mentioned before, but some other ones, for instance, deadlifts stimulate your traps, arms, grips, whole back, shoulders, abdominals, etc.

However, if you feel pain in your back, be careful with squats and, especially, deadlifts! In that case, avoid these exercises or make sure you do them flawlessly!

The Big Three

These are core exercises for your body
These are core exercises for your body

Stay Away from Machines

Despite of your goal, stay away from machines. Leave it for guys who do not want to be strong. The idea is that you will not grow your muscles using machines as fast as you could do that using free weights, such as dumbbells, barbells and more. Just isolated exercises can be done with machines. Do you remember? We do not want isolated exercises! We want compound ones which are best for your body and muscle growth!

3 Days in a Week - Optimal Number

Remember the rule about quantity? Well, it is applied here as well.Some beginners do not understand that you will NOT be muscular if you train 7 days per week. Quality over quantity - keep it mind! To be honest, you destroy muscles at the gym. But they recover after your performance. In other words, muscles are growing while you are resting!

The vast majority of people go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Of course, you can do it in other way, but this is typical one.

It is not recommended to work out two days in a row, especially if you use full-body workout. This is because your body needs about 48 hours to recover from the shock it had in the gym. 24 hours are not enough, so your body may still be exhausted.

Goal - Lose Some Weight

Here are a few tips for beginners who want to lose weight. In theory, it is simple. Let's use some maths here.

c - the amount of consumed calories (while eating);

s - the amount of spent calories (while exercising);

d - difference between consumed and spent calories;

d = c - s;

If d < 0, then you are on track. Want to know how fast you will lose weight? Let's use maths again:

1 kg fat has about 7000 calories. Suppose your d = -350. So, you could lose roughly (because you lose not only fat, but some muscles, water, etc. as well) 1kg fat in 20 days!

Undoubtedly, the most efficient way to lose weight is to be on a diet and have some cardio exercises (running, cycling, playing basketball, football, or whatever). Of course, you should not forget to lift weights. But the most important is to keep d as a negative number at all times!

Cardio exercises can be done quite often, because it does not use too much "resources". I would recommend 4 times a week.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to lose weight. So, do not believe in any advertisements that say something like "Lose 10kg in one week using these secret pills!". Believe me or not, but all you have to do is consume less calories than you spend. That's it! No secret formulas!

Goal - Gain Some Weight

If you want to gain some muscles, follow these advice.

c - the amount of consumed calories (while eating);

s - the amount of spent calories (while exercising);

d - difference between consumed and spent calories;

d = c - s;

If d > 0, then you are on track. If d is a negative number, you should eat more nutritional food or decrease the amount of time you spend while doing cardio. Actually, when you are trying to gain weight, cardio is not important. Nevertheless, it is healthy for your heart. I would recommend you to do cardio unless you can keep d about 500.

Comparison between Losing Weight and Gaining Muscles

Goal
d = c - s
Cardio
Lifting Weights
Losing Weight
d < 0
Extremely important
Important
Gaining Weight
d > 0
Not important
Extremely Important
 
 
 
 

Full-body vs Split, Gaining Weight vs Losing Weight

Summary

  • Choose your routine - splits or full-body.
  • Do not forget to warm-up!
  • Have goals and try to reach them by correct methods.
  • Do only core exercises

So, follow these gym tips and one day you will have a body that someone else wants to have as well. Good luck!

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