To ask you to talk me through this as though I were a complete idiot?(18 Posts)
I have literally never been to a gym in my life but I am currently about a stone and a half overweight and eating sensibly /swimming and walking don't seem to be helping like they used to when I was younger (I'm 37). I have decided the gym is the way forward and we have one in our apartment complex so there's no excuse!
However I am terrified of going in and don't know what to expect at all. Also we live in China and there doesn't seem to be an induction or anything I was wondering if you could literally talk me through what to do when I go? Like how long to spend on each machine etc? I can see there are running machines and exercise bikes there but there are also those weight lifting machines (sorry don't even know what they're called) and DH says there are free weights, whatever those are.
DH has offered to take me and show me, but I'm too much of a novice, had bad experiences in PE at school and am even embarrassed to go with him so was wondering if any helpful gym bunnies on MN could help me or give me tips please?
Go with your DH, he knows the gym and unless he is not trustworthy, why wouldn't you let him show you?
I just feel self conscious alternative honestly I prefer doing exercise type stuff on my own, hence why I like swimming!
My friend has set up a personal training business that also does remotely/online. Look her up, Huntforfitness - she's absolutely lovely and will definitely help you, tell you what to do and what machines to use. Sorry no actual advice from me!
Ooh thanks Mooey, I didn't even know remote personal trainers existed! I will definitely look that up
I'm in a similar boat to you OP. Just moved abroad and now have no excuse as there is a gym in our apartment complex.
Personally I've decided to try and improve my running so am just using the treadmills at the moment.
When I go to our gym, I need to sign in with name, time and apartment number at the desk. Then once I'm on the treadmill there is a 'quick start' button which starts the treadmill going at walking pace (about 5km). There are then lots of fancy options on the screen. I ignore those and just use the 3 buttons that say walk, jog, run or the up/down speed arrows. I start of walking to warm up and then when I'm ready up the speed to a comfortable jog. You'll find what pace suits you best.
Most treadmills will have a red emergency stop button if you need to stop quickly. Otherwise there might be a cool down option that reduces the speed slowly at the end of your workout.
Free weights are just hand held weights, not on a machine.
Spend maybe 30 - 40 mins on aerobic exercise machine.
You could maybe have a Google for a plan.
I don't do gyms but totally understand the whole hating not knowing what to do in new situation.
Find out what machines they have you think you might like to use and then google them for instructions, keep a screen shot on your phone - they are pretty straight forward usually but that might give you a bit of confidence about how to use them.
I actually understand not asking your DH, it's something new to you, it's something you want to do on your own and sometimes even with the best intentions our loved ones can be (especially when they are good at something) not the best people to teach us new things.
Ask a member of staff just to show you how to use the machine and then say thank you I'm good from here and go for it, I'm sure they will be helpful and understanding.
I'd start off with some cardio (treadmill, bike, rowing machine to start with), aim for around 45 minutes combined. Fwiw when I started in the gym I'd do a 10 minute brisk walk on the treadmill (set to 5.5km), 5 minutes on the rower (you can move the resistance on the big wheel at the back, I'd start with maybe a 4/5), and then 30 minutes on the bike.
You can press the quick start button on most machines which will start at minimum resistance, speed and incline then you can increase until you feel like you're actually doing something.
I've just started doing C25K which I downloaded on my phone and I do on the treadmill at the gym. It alternates walking and jogging, aiming to get you running 5km in around 8 weeks. I've done week 2, 3 times until I feel completely comfortable with it you can go at your own pace.
I wouldn't worry about any of the weight machines or free (hand held) weights until you've got your cardio routine sorted.
As a beginner I'd start with 10 mins walking, 10 mins cycling, 10 mins jogging. Add a few minutes to the cycling and jogging each week. I'd end with some arm weights. Whichever you chose complete it 8 times then have a rest and repeat until you've done 3 sets. Disclosure: I am not a fitness expert but I remember doing that in the early days. Good luck! You'll feel confident after a few weeks of being in a routine
Good for you Poll
Firstly do you have any medical conditions?
Any weak joints etc?
Are you pregnant?
As a bog standard beginner gym visit. I'd familiarise yourself with the machines.
Ideally go with DH - you don't have to even go dressed for the gym, just walk through with him and he can show you it all.
It's easy to feel intimidated, but really, all of those people will end up sweaty and not caring what's going on around them.
Even if there isn't a full induction - someone will be able to show you how to set the weights. It's usually a case of a stack of rectangular metal plates with holes in and you move the pin up or down to make the weight heavier or lighter.
There are generally diagrams on them to show which muscle groups you're working.
The running machines etc are cardio - fat burning and raises your heart rate.
You could start off by doing between 6-12 minutes on these.
If you just press 'quick start' it will start the machine, you can then press the 'level' or 'speed' to increase the intensity.
E.g. the cross trainer.
You stand on it.
Press quick start
Get into a rhythm
After a couple of minutes you can press level/up/increase and it will make it slightly more difficult to do the movements.
I started doing: (many many years ago so forgive me if I'm rusty )
12 mins on the treadmill, 6 fast walk, 6 running.
12 mins cross trainer
Sets of weights: set of 3 lots of decreasing 12
Eg leg curl.
Sit on the machine,
Adjust the pin at the side so your body is in the correct position as shown on the diagram.
Check the pile of metal kg weights is low enough for now.
Do 12 leg curls.
Wait, or stand and stretch
Do 10 more, repeat.
After a time, you'll increase the weight you're pushing against for the last set of reps, but that's for once you're more familiar.
Then back to cardio,
Maybe 8-10 mins on the rower.
Make sure you do some stretching to warm up and don't forget to cool down.
Well no expert here but I'd say the cross-trainer is a must to start with as low impact - put it on a lower setting and see what's comfortable but not too comfy! The aim with everything is to increase difficulty when it becomes too easy.
Your DH surely will show you how to use the machines. I start with x trainer for cardio, about 10-15 mins then a mix of everything else. You must have rest days in between for muscles etc to benefit from the exercise, apparently.
You'll learn by watching others of course. This should help : munfitnessblog.com/6-reasons-you-should-exercise-with-cross-trainer-or-elliptical-exercise-machine/
I know you're really worried about your DH showing you, but when you're at the gym almost everyone is very carefully not looking at everyone else, and as long as you're not doing anything dangerous they'll probably just ignore you.
Some basic gym etiquette-
-don't hog machines for hours if it's busy, do your 30-40 min and move onto something else. If it's quiet then it's fine to use a machine for as long as you like. Don't sit on a machine drinking water/resting for ages, you're better off keeping moving even slowly walking and you won't be stopping someone else using the machine then.
-take a towel, there may also be paper cloths in the gym. Use them to wipe machines where you have sat/touched them after you use them. Even if you don't feel you've sweated onto them it's just nice to give them a quick swipe before you move on.
-look up proper form and how to use machines if you can. Treadmills and bikes are fairly easy to use but rowing machines are a bit trickier to get the right form (most people don't know how to use them so don't just copy someone else there) and weight machines/free weights can be really dangerous if you don't use them properly. Most machines have instructions on them but they're pretty basic.
Everyone has to start somewhere so don't get too nervous. I've also found everyone I've approached in a gym to ask how to do something have always been really helpful and kind. Just don't interrupt someone when they are part way through a set, wait until they are having a rest/drink.
Good luck! I miss going to the gym so much.
Could you arrange a personal trainer for a couple of sessions, (or more if you can afford it!) - they will make sure that you're doing the exercises properly but will also make sure that you're following a routine that will help you achieve whatever goals you set.
Thanks everyone. I have looked into a personal trainer but I am quite anxious about anyone being there at all!
Advice to start on the treadmill sounds good- I might try that. Love the detail in people's responses- thank you all so much
If you google something like 'my gym routine' there will be loads of videos on youtube of people explaining their full routine, some of them including basic instructions on how to use machines. Watching a few of those might help you feel a bit more familiar with the gym environment.
That's a great idea farmers, thank you
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