BY Filip Popa
Getting started at the gym can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to fitness or haven’t worked out in a while. But with the right mindset and approach, you can quickly become comfortable and confident in the gym setting. As a trusted source for information on the gym and working out, I, Filip, am a great resource to turn to. With 2 years of consistent exercise under my belt, I’ve demonstrated a dedication and commitment to fitness. I also have made good progress and learned a lot through my mistakes and advancement, showing practical experience and a deep understanding of the challenges and rewards of working out. I’m currently lifting above standards, meaning most of my lifts are 2x my bodyweight in lbs. (Squat and Deadlift), and am actively seeking out information and resources to improve my fitness. As a 17-year-old, I am also relatable to a high schooler audience who may be interested in starting their fitness journey as I am a junior here at CVU.
First and foremost, it’s important to choose a gym that is right for you. This means finding a convenient, affordable facility and offering the equipment and amenities you need to achieve your fitness goals. Take the time to shop around and compare different gym options in your area, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and take tours before making a decision. Some examples of some decent gyms around the area are as follows:
- Planet Fitness: This gym chain is known for its low monthly membership fee of around $10, as well as its “judgement-free zone” policy. It offers a variety of cardio and strength training equipment, as well as group fitness classes. https://www.planetfitness.com/
- The YMCA (also known as the “Y”): The Y is a non-profit organization that focuses on community wellness. In addition to providing a wide range of fitness equipment and classes, the Y often offers additional services such as swimming pools, basketball courts, and childcare. Membership fees vary by location, usually around ~$39, but tend to be more expensive than Planet Fitness. https://www.gbymca.org/
- The Edge Fitness Clubs: This chain of fitness clubs offers a range of membership options, including access to multiple locations, personal training, and small group training. It also has a variety of cardio and strength training equipment, as well as group fitness classes. Membership fees tend to be more expensive than Planet Fitness usually around $14.99 per month for an Edge Red membership to $34.99 per month for an Edge Total membership, but may offer more amenities and options for those looking for a higher-end gym experience. https://edgevt.com/
Ultimately, the best gym for you will depend on your individual fitness goals, budget, and preferred amenities. It’s important to do your research and consider all of your options before making a decision.
Once you’ve chosen a gym, it’s time to get started. The best way to begin is by setting specific, achievable goals for yourself. These might include losing weight, building muscle, improving your overall health, or simply feeling more energetic and confident. Write down your goals and refer to them often to keep yourself motivated and on track.
Next, create a workout plan tailored to your goals and fitness level. A great workout to start with is a full-body circuit training routine. This can be done using a combination of free weights, machines, and bodyweight exercises, and can be easily modified to suit your individual needs and abilities.
For example, a full-body circuit training workout might include the following exercises:
- Bodyweight squats
- Bench press
- Bent-over rows
- Bicep curls
- Tricep dips
Perform each exercise for 45-60 seconds, with minimal rest in between. Complete the entire circuit 2-3 times, depending on your fitness level. This workout can be done 2-3 times per week, with at least one day of rest in between. According to Healthline, as you become more fit, you can increase the number of sets and add more challenging exercises to the circuit.
Incorporating cardio into your fitness routine is an important way to improve your cardiovascular health, boost your energy levels, and support overall health and well-being. There are many different types of cardio exercises to choose from, including running, cycling, swimming, and dancing.
When doing cardio, it’s important to find activities that you enjoy and that you can sustain for an extended period of time. It’s generally recommended to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This can be broken up into shorter sessions throughout the week.
To get the most out of your cardio workouts, it’s important to warm up before you start exercising and to cool down afterwards. This can help reduce the risk of injury and make your workouts more comfortable. It’s also important to stay hydrated and to listen to your body, taking breaks as needed.
As you become more fit, you can increase the intensity or duration of your cardio workouts to continue challenging your body and improving your fitness. It’s also a good idea to mix up your cardio routine by trying different activities to keep things interesting and prevent boredom. With a consistent cardio routine, you can enjoy the many benefits of this important type of exercise.
First, it’s important to make sure you are getting enough protein to support muscle growth and repair. Protein requirements may be higher for those engaging in strength training or other forms of resistance exercise, as these activities can cause microtears in muscle fibers that need to be repaired in order for muscles to grow stronger. Good sources of protein include lean meats, dairy products, eggs, beans, lentils, and nuts.
Carbohydrates are also an important part of a healthy diet for active individuals. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy that it can use during exercise, and they are particularly important for endurance activities like cardio. However, the amount of carbohydrates needed may vary depending on the type and intensity of exercise being performed. It may be helpful to experiment with different carbohydrate intake levels to see what works best for your individual needs.
In addition to protein and carbohydrates, it’s also important to consume a variety of other nutrients, including fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and fiber. These nutrients can help support overall health and well-being, and they can also help you feel more energized and ready to tackle your workouts.
Finally, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see instant results. Getting in shape takes time and effort, and everyone’s journey is different. Be patient, stay consistent, and trust in the process. With dedication and perseverance, you will start to see and feel the benefits of your hard work.
The length of time it takes to see results from your fitness efforts can vary depending on a number of factors, including your starting fitness level, the type and intensity of the workouts you are doing, and your diet and lifestyle habits.
In general, you may start to see some early improvements in your fitness within a few weeks of starting a consistent exercise program. These may include improvements in your endurance, strength, and flexibility. However, more noticeable changes in your appearance, such as weight loss or muscle gain, may take longer to appear.
As you continue to work out consistently, you may start to plateau, meaning that you stop making progress or see fewer improvements. This is a common occurrence and can be caused by a variety of factors, including not enough variation in your workouts or not increasing the intensity of your workouts as you become more fit.
To avoid plateaus and continue making progress, it’s important to mix up your workouts and try new activities, gradually increase the intensity of your workouts, and make sure you are fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to support your fitness efforts. It’s also important to be patient and trust in the process, as getting in shape takes time and consistent effort. With dedication and perseverance, you will start to see and feel the benefits of your hard work.
Ultimately, getting started at the gym can be intimidating, but with the right mindset and approach, you can quickly become comfortable and confident in the gym setting. Choose the right gym, set specific goals, create a personalized workout plan, pay attention to your diet and lifestyle, and be patient and consistent. With these steps, you will be on your way to achieving your fitness goals and improving your overall health and well-being.
If you’re looking to further progress your fitness knowledge, here are some things you could start looking into:
- Progressive Overload: This refers to the concept of gradually increasing the demand on your muscles through weight training, in order to continue making progress and adaptations. In order to continue improving, you will need to progressively increase the weight, reps, or sets of your workouts over time.
- Nutrition: Proper nutrition is essential for optimizing your training and recovery, and for supporting overall health. It’s important to pay attention to the quality and quantity of the food you eat, as well as to consider your individual needs and goals. You may want to consider seeking the guidance of a registered dietitian or a certified sports nutritionist if you are looking to take your nutrition to the next level.
- Recovery: In addition to proper nutrition, adequate rest and recovery are also important for optimizing your training and performance. This can include getting enough sleep, using proper warm-up and cool-down techniques, and using active recovery or rest days as needed.
- Variety: Incorporating a variety of exercises and training modalities can help to prevent boredom and keep you motivated, as well as to target different muscle groups and energy systems. This can include adding in new exercises or workouts, trying different types of equipment, or participating in group fitness classes.
- Professional guidance: If you are looking to take your fitness to the next level and are not sure where to start, seeking the guidance of a personal trainer or coach can be helpful. They can assess your current fitness level and help you create a personalized plan to achieve your goals.