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Tips for new gym-goers

Tips for new gym-goers

Tips for new gym-goers
January 20
18:04 2020

While adding workouts to your everyday routine is a great way to start the new year, the process can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. Here are three tips for new gym-goers to help maximize your workouts and make your resolutions stick.

Establish your goals

The first thing you should do before you get into the gym or lace up the running shoes is establish your goals. Do you want to burn fat? Build muscle? Look better? Whatever it is, be specific about it. Don’t go into the gym in January simply wanting to lose weight. On the flip side, don’t start your journey off wanting to drop 100 pounds as quickly as possible. Instead, start by setting small, reasonable goals that you can obtain quickly enough so that you don’t burn out. Let’s say you can bench 135 pounds as your max and your goal is to get to 225. Instead of setting 225 as your goal, say you want to be able to bench 150 by February 1, 165 by March 1 and so on. Not only will the endorphins be flying as you cross off each goal, but you’re more likely to keep going whenever you track your progress this way. Do the same for your mile-time, weight and any other measurable number.

Be consistent and challenge yourself

Your resolution means nothing if you aren’t consistent with it. Now as a newcomer, you don’t have to spend six days a week at the gym, but going just when you feel like it or not going at all completely contradicts the promise you made yourself. Making big changes to your health is never easy and it’s never going to be fast. You have to stick with it, especially when it’s difficult.

Your resolution also means nothing if you grow to be complacent with your progress. If the weight you’re lifting is easy, increase it. If you can easily hold a conversation at the speed you’re running, run faster. Powerlifters use a system called “progressive overload” to increase the weight they lift. It looks something like this:

Week 1: Bench 225 4×8
Week 2: Bench 225 4×9
Week 3: Bench 225 4×10
Week 4: Bench 225 4×12
Week 5: Bench 235 4×8
Week 6: Bench 235 4×9
Week 7: Bench 235 4×10
Week 8: Bench 235 4×12

And so on and so forth. You can take this method and apply it to anything in the gym. For example, I run sprints twice a week. In the first week, I did six per day, followed by eight per day the second week and 10 per day the third week. You get the gist. Continue to challenge yourself and your goals will be accomplished.

Match the diet to the exercise

You can’t out-train a bad diet, as the old saying goes. The work you put in at the gym means nothing if you don’t eat properly for your goals. Avoid trendy diets, such as keto, low-fat, etc. The only scientifically proven way to alter your weight is to be in a constant caloric deficit or caloric surplus. What exactly does that mean? Well, it’s different for everyone. Use an online calorie calculator or an app such as MyFitnessPal to discover your maintenance calories (the number of calories you have to eat in a day based on your height, weight, gender and activity level to not gain or lose weight), then go from there. If you want to lose fat, try to stay 500-750 calories below that number. If you want to gain muscle, try to eat 500-750 calories above that number. For instance, when I started my diet, I was a 235-pound, 6-foot-3, very active male. My maintenance calories are about 3,200 calories, so the healthy daily caloric range for me is 2,550-2,700 calories per day. If I wanted to bulk up, I would eat 3,700-3,950 calories. Try to cut out fast food, added sugars, alcohol and second helpings. Find a macronutrient calculator online and calculate how many grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates you should take in to reach your goal. With all that being said, the best diet is the one you can stick to, so if this method doesn’t work for you, find what does.

Featured Illustration: Kylie Phillips

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Zachary Cottam

Zachary Cottam

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