The only bad fitness workout is no fitness workout, where to begin in the gym

room with gym equipment

It’s that time of year again when we like to fill ourselves up on good food, sometimes too good as is evident if we start to develop a bit of a bigger belly or sudden weight gains we do not want and if left as is, can go toward being not healthy overall.

This does not mean to say that we should all be concerned all the time with being as thin as a rake or toned to the hilt – we all have different bodies and metabolic rates of burn, we should all have a varying amount of fitness regimes too. Sometimes we do gain weight, this can be due to many reasons, over time it can just add up and this is not a terrible thing but should be monitored for our own inner and outer well being – nutrition is a big contributor too, you are what you eat…

A good well-balanced diet is a must, you cannot surely expect to have peak fitness and health if you regularly munch on fast foods, then drink a can of diet pop for your misgivings, can you? Eat as well and healthily as you can, cut out the processed foods, about an hour before a work out have a small balanced meal with equal amounts of lean protein like beef, chicken, fish or beef and some complex carbohydrates such as rice or oats, don’t overfill yourself but have just enough food to provide adequate protein and carbohydrates to keep you going and replenish your body thereby giving it a chance to build muscle as well as good mass – you should also eat again within an hour of ending your workout. 

So that is the eating aspects sorted – we are halfway there, now to get rid of those lumps and bumps that have built up, one way to keep this in check or to reduce is taking up some fitness activities, such as going to the gym.

Regular workouts are a must, over time with the right diet and consistent training, if just a few times a week – within time, you will see a lessening of the excess weight as well as increased muscle-fiber mass, tendon, and ligament strength – you will be doing good things for your internal organs too.

The paid-for-membership gym with its shiny facades and chisel chinned brightly colored fabric covered members can be a pretty daunting place but everything takes time to get used to when new to the game whether you are there for weight loss, muscle gain, strength or overall fitness.  

The following are some common equipment at gyms, to begin with, you should just use these and once gotten into a routine after good some sessions; move on to the free weights, dumbells, and bars. Remember that this is not a race, if you go hell for leather on the machines, you will not only look a bit silly but risk breaking the machines as well as damaging yourself in the process – you want to be working up to your goals, start off slow, it is fine as you are still working out and breaking a sweat. (Don’t forget to be courteous and take a towel with you to lay over the machine seat, this saves others sweat getting on you and vice versa). 

There are set routines and machines to work out on but to begin, set the weights light – why is this, aside from not ripping your untrained tendons to bits – Gravity of course!:

“The weight of an object is defined as the force of gravity on the object and may be calculated as the mass times the acceleration of gravity, w = mg. Since the weight is a force, its SI unit is the newton For an object in free fall, so that gravity is the only force acting on it, then the expression for weight follows from Newton’s second law.”*

*Reference: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/mass.html

Ya gotta love gravity, and the forces exerted from it 😉

Ok, head out the skies and back to the gym equipment…

  • Elliptical machine: Has a low impact for a full body warm-up with cardio qualities too.
    – do 5 minutes low intensity with occasional reverse movements for muscle activation and motion range.

  • Rowing machine: Has a low impact for a full body warm-up with cardio qualities too.
    – do 10 minutes of low intensity, nice and gentle but gaining inner strength all the time. (make sure your lower back is not leading movements), ask to help with positioning from a trainer or friend so as not to damage your back or aggravate a previous injury.

  • Chest press: Really good to strengthen shoulders, chest, and triceps for pushing movements like burpees, dips, pushups et cetera. Adjust the seat so that it is in line and level with your underarms. Smooth motion breathing out as you push away then in as you pull the handle toward you.
    – do three sets of 15 repetitions with a small rest in between.

  •  Lat pulldown machine: Strengthens shoulders, biceps, and back for pulling and lifting movements. Adjust the seat so that your legs are supported, not too far away or close, you can sit frontward or backward starting on a lightweight aiming for a gentle but thorough motion and workout.

  • Leg press (seated): Strengthens and builds muscle mass in the legs with the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes toning them at the same time. Depending on whether the machine has a seat that moves on these cabled machines or the footplates, you will start in a seated position with your knees at a 90-degree bend and feet set apart, at least hip-width. Turn your toes out to the 11 and 1 O’clock position and knees over your feet, keep your toes in line not turning in. Smooth and controlled movements and breathing too.
    – Aim for 3 sets of 15 repetitions going a little harder toward the end.

Hydrate through the above machines and warm down with stretches and gentle motions to relax your muscles, ligaments, and tendons after the session. Record your sessions on pen and paper or a smart device like a mobile phone or tablet, this way it will be easy to track your progress and work toward goals once you get more confident and your body is used to the extra loads.

Remember to have fun while you work away, you can use the above listed machines as a start but there are others to learn and use efficiently, they should have guides on how to use them safely – if in doubt ask somebody.

Don’t forget you can carry on the fitness at home with sit-ups, push up and thrusts, again, start off slow so you can get used to the extra workout and can build up in time, aim for 5 at a time with a little break in between.