New to the gym? Read this
Emily Kirsch, Staff Writer
It’s a new year and like many, you may want to set new fitness and health goals to kickstart your year. But working out can seem daunting if you don’t know what to do in the gym or you’ve never stepped foot in one before. You may be thinking, what are all these machines for? How do I use them? Are people looking at me?
Getting over that initial worry is the first step. In reality, everyone in the gym shares a common goal: to take charge of their health and increase their fitness capabilities. Still, most beginners rarely enter a gym knowing which exercises to do. Starting out, it’s normal to feel a little awkward.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to go on this journey alone. You could arrange to hit the gym with a friend or hire a personal trainer for guidance. Even taking classes to get your body moving can ease the process. There are countless classes including yoga, cycling, boxing and even dance. What’s great about classes is that the length and level of difficulty in each class vary. You can choose a class that fits your interests and abilities. Choosing a low-intensity or short-duration class is great for those just starting out; you don’t want to push yourself too hard too soon.
If you are looking to train in the gym, it is helpful to know that good workouts are thoughtfully planned in advance; they are not improvised. Those people you see move seamlessly from the treadmill to the tricep press are adhering to a conscientious schedule they planned to maximize their time and efforts. So what’s the trick to designing a workout that’s effective for you? It is key to know the functions of each piece of gym equipment and how they can assist you in achieving your goals. Here is a brief breakdown of what you can expect to see at any gym:
Cardio is short for cardiovascular, meaning the heart and blood vessels. Adding cardio to your workout is a great way to improve the health of your heart and lungs while also increasing stamina, improving balance and burning lots of calories. It’s a great option if you have joint problems or want to improve or keep up your fitness level after an injury.
The goal is to perform moderately demanding physical activity that causes your heart rate to increase into the range where you will burn the most calories and fat. While some types of cardio are more effective at melting fat than others, they are all fantastic ways to lose weight and strengthen the heart. The treadmill, elliptical and exercise bike are most commonly used, but you may also come across a rowing machine or even the stair climber.
The resistance area in the gym is where you’ll find equipment to build strength and mass that could also be used for muscle toning. Strength training can aid in weight management or loss and speed up metabolism so that you can burn more calories. Strength training may improve your ability to perform daily tasks and your quality of life.
Strength training can also protect your joints from injury. The machines you find in the resistance area are designed to target certain muscles or muscle groups in your body. What’s important to note is that strength training is not just about bodybuilders lifting weights in a gym. Regular strength or resistance training is good for people of all ages and for overall health. When planning your workouts, take a look to see what machines your gym has to offer, and follow up with some research into which machines can help you target your goals.
The last area you would find in your gym would typically be a more open space with various types of smaller equipment. This area is best suited for conditioning, stretching, functional training and partner or group training. In this space, you would find things like kettlebells, medicine balls, dumbbells or other functional equipment.
This area is also great for people who want to do a smaller workout or those who like to stay out of the way of the bigger, maybe more intimidating scenes. This area could also be used for free weight training or bodyweight training. It’s truly a flexible space.
As your confidence grows, you’ll start to achieve the objectives you set for yourself and create a routine that keeps you healthy, content,and energized. No matter your current level of fitness, keep in mind that plenty of people and resources can help you along the way. Now all you have to do is take that first step.