Goals Every New Gym Goer Needs to Have
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Are you joining the gym to lose weight or are you joining to increase strength? You need to establish your goals before you even set foot in the gym. Your goals will determine not just your workouts but also give you something to look forward to in the long run. They may change overtime as you change and improve, so it helps to have long-term goals and short-term goals.
1. Be consistent
In our ‘The Six New Year’s Resolution Mistakes You’re Making’ article we talked about making specific goals and having a plan. A massive part of your success will depend on how committed you are to your goals and how consistent you are in doing them. Consistency is the key to long-term weight loss and increased strength because these changes take time and effort. Being consistent means this becomes a lifestyle for you rather than a chore that needs to be ticked off every week. The best way to start, is to start slowly and build over time.
Start with two one-hour gym sessions a week - every week - instead of starting out strong and then stopping altogether when the motivation wanes. By starting small it allows you room to extend your training hours or add more days as you progress and become comfortable with the exercises and machines.
2. Get to know your gym and make the most out of your gym induction
Your gym induction is crucial if you are a new gym goer. You may be raring to go and start working out right away but pay attention and make the most out of your gym induction. Plus, it’s free! It’s a great way to get 1-on-1 training from a professional trainer to assess your form, technique and physical level. During your induction, talk to your trainer about your goals and always inform them of past injuries so he or she can recommend exercises that don’t aggravate them. Lastly, always ask questions. Don’t hesitate to ask your trainer or other gym goers.
3. Establish a support system
We all need cheerleaders cheering us along the journey. It’s important to find a group of like-minded people who share the same goals as you.
We recommend joining a beginners’ class at your gym and striking up a conversation with your fellow gym goers or invite office mates to join you. Having friends at the gym makes the experience less of a chore when things get challenging.
4. Up your intensity and resistance
You can’t be stuck with the same exercises and the same reps every day. If you do the same sets and reps and the same number of minutes on the treadmill, you’re not stimulating muscle growth. And we all know how more muscle leads to a faster metabolism. In order to start the process of hypertrophy (building new muscles) your body needs to be exposed to higher workloads, intensity and resistance. As you put more strain, stress and resistance, your muscles experience a type of microscopic damage and release inflammatory molecules called Cytokines. These molecules activate your immune system to repair them. The cycle of damage and repair leads to stronger and bigger muscles as they adapt to extra stresses.
We recommend getting a personal trainer (even for a short time) in order to create the right exercise regimen with the right intensity and resistance you need to safely build muscle.
5. Learn a new exercise and familiarize yourself with the free weights area
Switch it up a bit to keep your sessions interesting. Not only that but switching up your workouts “shocks” the body. In an interview with Women’s Health Magazine, certified personal trainer Nick Tumminello emphasized the importance of keeping your workouts varied.
“During exercise, you’re putting a stress on your body, and during your recovery, your body is improving its ability to handle that stress.”
Tumminello recommends switching it up every 4 to 6 weeks. However, it doesn’t mean doing the same thing every session for 4 weeks.
He added, “Adding little switches to each and every workout can help you maximize your exercise results even further.”
Similarly, you should try to overcome your fear of the free-weights area. Sure, it’s intimidating but don’t hesitate to ask one of the trainers or an experienced gym goer to properly show you free-weight exercises that are ideal for your fitness and experience level.
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When you’re a new gym goer, it’s important to arm yourself with a few goals to aim for. Your goals may change overtime as you get better and more experienced doing the exercises and machines. But here are a few goals you can start with:
- Start slow and consistently. Aim for two one-hour workout sessions per week and add more hours and days as you get more comfortable.
- Get to know your gym and make the most out of your gym induction. Its free and you'll get valuable one-on-one assessment from an experienced trainer to show you the ropes.
- Establish a support system that can cheer you on your journey to better fitness.
- Muscles benefit from intensity and resistance. The more you challenge your body, the better it gets. Start slow with a few exercises then slowly and safely increase their intensity with the help of a trainer.
- Learn new exercises weekly and switch it up every 4 to 6 weeks in order to build strength, mobility and maximize results.
"How Often You Should Switch Up Your Workout to Keep Losing Weight" - Women's Health Mag, May 19, 2015
"How to Train in a Commercial Gym: A Beginner’s Guide" - Nerd Fitness
"12 Essential Tips For Finding Your Feet When You Join a New Gym" - Women's Health Mag, December 31, 2018
"7 Essential Goals Every New Gym Goer Should Have" - My Fitness Pal, October 8, 2018
"What makes muscles grow? - Jeffrey Siegel" - TED-Ed, November 3, 2015