Tips for Beginners
by Sebastian Mok
What To Wear:
Comfortable clothing that you feel comfortable in and that are suited to the needs of movement and are practical for the gym. Stable footwear is recommended, do not wear boots or shoes with a significant heel unless they are weightlifting shoes. They will affect your stability and balance when lifting weights.
Unless you are doing high rep chin-ups, pull-ups, muscle-ups and intense calisthenics (bodyweight) bar stuff you will not need gloves. You hands will adapt to using weights by growing harder skin, for high rep deadlifts use straps as to not mangle you hands but generally in other cases just use your hands, no need for gloves.
Do not wear casual clothes like jeans, you’re exercising and it can restrict movement and cause you to sweat even more.
Do Not Feel Awkward:
You have to start somewhere, every athlete did. It will take time to get used to the gym environment and feel more relaxed and confident there. Take comfort in knowing that most people in a commercial gym have no idea of what they are doing, yes even a lot of the slightly bigger guys that rely on the bro-science and many years of impulsive lifting with no real program or nutritional plan or knowledge that has given them the above average size/strength. You will learn this over time as you progress in the gym. You must have the right mindset to believe in yourself and do not let anybody affect your progress.
Drink lots of Water:
Particularly during exercise, muscle consists of 75% water and in order to maintain optimum performance, you must stay hydrated. Bring a water bottle with you if there are no drinking fountains available. The average male adult should drink 3.3 litres of water a day, and the average female adult should drink 2.2 litres a day.
Do not attempt weights for the first time without anybody spotting you. Never be afraid to ask for a spot if you are unsure or do not feel confident with the weight. It is recommended that you tell the spotter how many reps you are going to attempt and whether they should help only a bit or support you to do forced reps. Make it clear what you will try and what you wish for them to do. In this way you avoid risks of injury and miscommunication.
Do Not Over-Train:
Usually overtraining is rare but you should be aware of it as working out using sore muscles where the muscle fibres are already torn will not result in stronger muscles but can actually cause damage to the muscles requiring recovery. Training to failure where you do fail on the last rep is detrimental in that it will take your central nervous system (CNS) longer to recover from than training until a rep that you know you can manage and are likely to finish.
Especially when you are starting off and your body is not used to the training you should avoid over-training. Give your body time to adapt to the training. Later on when your body gets used to it, over training can have its uses.
How To Speed Up The Recovery Process:
When you lift weights you tear your muscle fibres, which then heal back bigger and stronger.
That next day after the gym, the muscles you worked on may ache and you may be experiencing ‘delayed onset muscle soreness’ (DOMS). In order to recover from this as fast as possible and have your muscles heal to become bigger and stronger, you will need sufficient –
- Nutrition (muscles require protein to recover and grow)
- Stretching (do not forget)