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How to Go to The Gym | Your First-Time Going, What You Need to Know?

Choice of machines, duration of sessions ... Instructions for use for the first time in the gym?

At the start of the year, you decided to sign up for a gym membership. But when you got there in leggings and running shoes, you were slightly baffled. How to get started (again) when you have quit for many years or never even started? What machines to use at the gym ?

Certainly, in front of the unknown, you prefer to start in a position of strength, with one or more friends, all to prevent future drops in motivation. But the process is risky. “If your friends let go of you along the way, you tend to be demotivated. The challenge is not to identify with the failure of his friends and to say that we will get there. So, the best is to go alone to your sports sessions, in order to no longer depend on others and to ensure that this sports routine becomes a real personal project.

Good to know: it is advisable to practice an activity near your home or close to your office.

Agree not to see any results for a month:

The body is a machine that must be restarted. It is thus advisable to take on oneself before seeing the first results appear: “It takes two to four weeks to have a good awareness of its movements. It is only at the end of this period of time that we will be able to see the effects on the body ”.

Take more time than others to warm up:

There is no point in naively continuing cardio lessons without warming up. The goal is rather to gradually prepare your body for the effort, especially when your muscles have not worked for a long time: “It is important to take time to warm up before the class has even started. Thus, it is recommended to arrive 15 minutes before the start of the session, to perform some exercises on a mat. Better to do shorter sessions but favoring a quality warm-up, rather than injuring yourself because you wanted to do too much.

Good to know: Do not hesitate to get closer to the coach to announce your beginner status. “There is no shame in saying that we have a pain in a muscle or that we do not manage to perform a movement. The goal is to build a positive environment, and therefore to be well surrounded, so as not to give up as soon as the resumption.

Don't set the bar too high:

Galvanized by this new desire to sweat in the gym, you have set yourself the goals of champion. Except that by dint of wanting to do too much, you risk stopping everything: "The main mistake when you start is putting too much pressure on yourself"... And it is by setting the bar too high that the decrease in motivation appears, and that the injuries multiply. So, if you feel exhausted at the end of a session, don't force it: you will do better next time. In addition, it is essential to become kind to yourself. You have to accept this phase of frustration during which you are "less good" than the others, and refrain from comparing your buttocks with those of the sportswoman next door.

50-minute sessions:

[A typical week to start 

Monday:  a 50-minute group lesson.

Wednesday:  a circuit on the machines of 30 minutes.

Friday:  a group lesson or an outdoor sport session (walking, cycling) for 50 minutes.]

In order NOT to  have aches , it is important at the beginning to get into sport gradually, and to bet on short sessions: “A 50-minute session is ideal, including 10 minutes of warm-up in it, and 10 minutes of stretching. In total, you will therefore only have a 30-minute session, which is perfect for a start, ”says the coach.

As for the type of activities to be carried out on site, you are spoiled for choice between the group lessons offered by the room and the weight machines. “All machines can be included in a beginner's program. However, in order not to get injured, it is necessary to correctly adjust the equipment to your size, to respect the functioning of the body so as not to create injuries to the joints, and to adjust the load that corresponds to your level". Thus, it's recommends putting the smallest load on the machines in order to integrate the movement without risk, then to increase it gradually.  

In addition, the machines make it possible to work at the same time the upper body, the lower part and the abdominals . But for that, "we must not work on a single machine, but change it quickly".  It is then necessary to alternate 20 repetitions of the movement (i.e. for 45 seconds) for the lower body on one machine, the same for the upper body on another machine and so on. Rest times between exercises are not necessary. To do this, walking from one machine to another is more than enough.

Bet on the right equipment:

We cannot repeat it enough: proper equipment is essential during any physical activity. There is no ideal outfit, the challenge is above all to choose an outfit that suits you best. On the other hand, the sneakers must be the object of all the attentions: “Contrary to what one might think, the fitness sneakers have a too thin sole and do not have cushioning. By repeating a movement with the wrong equipment, it can even cause tendon inflammation outside the knee. It is therefore better to invest in a pair of running sneakers , simple but reliable and which have enough cushioning to withstand shocks during the effort.

Do not drink during the session:

Many people bring their own small bottle of water during lessons. Except that hydrating your body during a session is anything but a good idea: “Drinking a large glass of water before a session is useful so as not to be dehydrated during efforts. However, drinking during the session is not recommended because the stomach may be engorged and it is not at all comfortable. The water can cause discomfort, even pain in the stomach.

Adapt your diet:

Fruit cereal bar, check. Almonds, check. When it comes to snacking, you have everything prepared. But did you know that it should not be eaten just before a session? "The ideal is to have finished your snack two hours before the session, because this will allow the body to have enough time to digest". When you sweat from cardio exercises, it's best to let your body focus on one task, and not put extra strain on it. On the other hand, even if it is advisable to space your meals apart from the sessions, you can quite enjoy a piece of fruit when you leave the room. This will recharge the body with sugars, used during exercise.

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