How did you start lifting?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 09, 2009 2:29 AM GMT
    I'm really new to working out in a gym. I don't really know what to do or the proper way to begin. However, after discovering the website and it's 12 week workout plans I really want to get into focusing on building up my body and trying them out.

    However, I'm really intimidated to be lifting weights. Maybe part of it is cause I don't know a set routine, maybe part of it is the people that are there also. I feel awkward.

    So what helped you just get out there and "do it" so to speak? Any encouraging words? And I worried over nothing? If I've never really lifted before, what's the best weight to begin at so I don't look foolish? icon_lol.gif

    Thanks in advance!
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    Jan 09, 2009 2:49 AM GMT
    In my opinion, the best way to get acquainted with a gym is to hire a trainer, even if only for a few sessions to get a routine and learn some proper form. A trainer will make the experience a lot less intimidating than if you go there alone, not knowing what the hell to do.
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    Jan 09, 2009 3:08 AM GMT
    i thought about that. i might just do that too. i'm just worried about getting what i pay for.

    i'm pretty blessed that my body reacts to change very rapidly, i noticed a big difference just doing the basic stuff the trainers showed me when i signed up. i just wonder how much of it is really helpful, and how much is them being gimmicky just to get your money.

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    Jan 09, 2009 3:14 AM GMT
    I gotta agree with paradox, if you can afford it, get a trainer, they will take you through everything, answer any questions, teach you about proper form, some simple do's and Don'ts help you get settled and feeling more comfortable in the gym and the environment.

    However I can tell you, most guys when they see a newbie don't think anything bad, they either remember how they started out OR they think its excellent you've gotten your self to the gym.

    If you can't afford a trainer, all the realjock stuff usually has video's (and I think text descriptions) read and watch it all a few times until you have the stuff in your head..

    Stick with weights that are light at first, let your self focus not so much of how much weight you are lifting but how well you are lifting with correct form.

    Use the mirrors in the gym for more then just looking at whats around you, watch your self do the movement, making sure to not rock back and forth, not getting your hips into the movement or doing other cheating moves, which although not bad comes later when your more advanced and can put it to good use and have learn correct form.

    Most importantly though, leave your ego at home, no one cares how much weight you lift, no one cares what your doing, some may look in briefly in interest but for the most part, your ignored and people are uninterested.. your there for you..

    OOH and try to keep outta other guys way when they are lifting too, I hate it when someone trys to walk a path through my little spot on the floor and have to stop mid movement!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 09, 2009 3:38 AM GMT
    sound advice. icon_biggrin.gif

    i'll keep it in mind.
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    Jan 09, 2009 4:30 AM GMT
    lilTanker said
    Use the mirrors in the gym for more then just looking at whats around you, watch your self do the movement, making sure to not rock back and forth, not getting your hips into the movement or doing other cheating moves, which although not bad comes later when your more advanced and can put it to good use and have learn correct form.



    Maybe I should start a new thread on this, but this does bring up a question: What you write would seem to be common knowledge. And yet . . . why do so few guys seem to follow those basic rules?

    I know my form isn't always perfect, but early on I learned what good form is and I think anyone watching me can see that I'm at least trying to use good form. I always feel that perfect form something you strive for but can never truly achieve.

    And then you always see some guys with great bodies but whose form is terrible. And I don't mean cheating moves to get another couple of reps at the end of a set. I mean they just generally have what is considered bad form from the beginning to the end of every set.

    So I suppose it's not too surprising that other guys use terrible form.

    Sometimes I reach the point of wondering if my body would be better if I used bad form.
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    Jan 09, 2009 6:16 AM GMT
    lilTanker said
    However I can tell you, most guys when they see a newbie don't think anything bad, they either remember how they started out OR they think its excellent you've gotten your self to the gym.


    Well I can't completely agree with this mainly because I think it should be compulsory that if you have no idea on what your doing either get a personal trainer or do not try. I see so many people going to the gym and just wasting their time because they are just copying other people with little effect.

    When I see a newbie I think, oh oh here comes another accident waiting to happen.

    Seriously, if you want to keep fit, go jogging, jump on a bike, use the great outdoors. If you want to bodybuild, then get the right information and then go to the gym.

    A gym can't tell you how to workout only a trainer or someone with experience.

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    Jan 09, 2009 6:31 AM GMT
    theatrengym said
    lilTanker said
    Use the mirrors in the gym for more then just looking at whats around you, watch your self do the movement, making sure to not rock back and forth, not getting your hips into the movement or doing other cheating moves, which although not bad comes later when your more advanced and can put it to good use and have learn correct form.



    Maybe I should start a new thread on this, but this does bring up a question: What you write would seem to be common knowledge. And yet . . . why do so few guys seem to follow those basic rules?


    Because as basic as they are they all seem to think that heavier weights mean faster progress which is just not true. They try to lift weights that make them look great feel sore but have no effect. To this end they lose form and struggle then give up in a week or two.

    theatrengym saidI know my form isn't always perfect, but early on I learned what good form is and I think anyone watching me can see that I'm at least trying to use good form. I always feel that perfect form something you strive for but can never truly achieve.

    And then you always see some guys with great bodies but whose form is terrible. And I don't mean cheating moves to get another couple of reps at the end of a set. I mean they just generally have what is considered bad form from the beginning to the end of every set.


    You will find they are either:
    a) Been training for much longer than you think
    b) On the juice
    c) Totally out of shape because they do not workout consistently

    It's very easy to overwork one part of the body and make it stand out but the supporting muscles can easily be neglected. Why are they neglected? Because they are not immediately recognised. For example, your rotator cuffs are just as important to your bench press and overhead press, but do you think many guys know how much it would help by working these muscles?

    I have a workmate who has a fantastic upper body because that is all he works out. He has no arse, legs are like matchsticks and has so many joint problems from his focus on his chest that he has had to take time of the gym.

    theatrengym saidSometimes I reach the point of wondering if my body would be better if I used bad form.


    Never think that. Form is important or else you can end up injuring yourself.

    It takes time to build your body, there are way too many myths out there on building your body in 12 weeks. I'm not saying it can't be done, but you have to have some foundation in place to build it up (or down). Look at that film The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke. His body looks fantastic and it probably took him 8 weeks to look that good. Why? Because he has always had it and had to hit the gym again to tighten up what he already has.

    IF you want to have a decent body then you have to be persistent and patient. You can only make some magic transformation if you within reach of that transformation.

    Working out when your really thin means you first start to show more definition, your muscles won't double overnight. If your slightly heavier you need to lose some fat before you will see any kind of musculature at all. Again you muscles will most likely develop at the same rate as the thin person but you have a different challenge to achieving the same results.

    Workout regularly, workout properly and eat properly and you will make progress.


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    Jan 09, 2009 9:05 AM GMT
    sydney_cider said
    lilTanker said
    However I can tell you, most guys when they see a newbie don't think anything bad, they either remember how they started out OR they think its excellent you've gotten your self to the gym.


    Well I can't completely agree with this mainly because I think it should be compulsory that if you have no idea on what your doing either get a personal trainer or do not try. I see so many people going to the gym and just wasting their time because they are just copying other people with little effect.

    When I see a newbie I think, oh oh here comes another accident waiting to happen.

    Seriously, if you want to keep fit, go jogging, jump on a bike, use the great outdoors. If you want to bodybuild, then get the right information and then go to the gym.

    A gym can't tell you how to workout only a trainer or someone with experience.


    I'd agree, although, I'd prefer to see someone in the gym trying then sitting on the lounge doing nothing...

    You are right on them going in without information, but hopefully they will keep at it long enough to develop a desire to learn more to get the results they want.

    We just gotta hope.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Jan 09, 2009 9:41 AM GMT
    Don't ever worry about what other's think especially in the gym. Be concerned with lifing the right way and keep a program and a goal in mind. If you are new to a gym they will have someone show you how to use each machine. They do not want a lawsuit. If you can afford it get a PT for a few sessions. If you go to free weights ask for a spotter!

    I started lifting more seriously at around 24-25. I worked for a company that had a gym membership as a perk. There was a security guard who signed up for the gym the same day I did. He asked if I was gonna lift at least 3-4 days a week. I was planing on it and we were able to work out a time schedule. He started off being able to lift alot more than me, but after a year and a half I caught up to him on most exercises. He could always bench more than me, but I could curl more weight and do more dips and pull/chin ups. It was good to have one other person as a motivator. On days I wasn't into it he'd push me and on days he was less motivated I guilt him into going.

    Good Luck!! icon_smile.gif

    mike3
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    Jan 09, 2009 9:56 AM GMT
    I was 18 and so skinny my chest literally indented. I should have taken pics cuz I've come a LONG way since then.
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    Jan 09, 2009 11:43 AM GMT
    I agree - it is essential for a new guy to get a trainer - or at least a buddy who will show him right vs. wrong lifting techniques in the gym. I started at 17 - our high school water polo coach had weight lifting as part of our workouts. I had been too thin & the weight lifting (plus protein shakes) helped me bulk up.
  • jc_online

    Posts: 487

    Jan 09, 2009 12:25 PM GMT
    When my relationship ended I realized I was nearly 40 and I had let myself go - more than 25 pounds overweight and flabby. I knew if I wanted to feel more attractive and worthy of dating again, I had to look more attractive, so I decided to atart exercising. A buddy of mine gave me the book Basic Training by Jon Giswold. He had ordered it online and didn't want it because the pictures were"too gay". It is a great basics book, and pictures are flippin hot! What I learned from that book was basic form and functions of exercise. Then I joined a gym. After a month or so, I hired a trainer - absolutely the BEST thing I ever did for myself! I started by maikng friends with the lead trainer and telling him what my overall goals were, and he recommended one of his staff that he thought I could work well with. From my trainer I learned a great deal about form - and there is NOTHING more important than form! I also continue to learn from the individual exercise videos and pics on this site - the RJ team have put together a great resource for us. Good luck bud - and ask your new RJ buds when you have questions.
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    Jan 09, 2009 1:28 PM GMT
    I first tried when i was about 23, but I did too much too soon and hurt myself. I tried again 8 years later and it stuck.

    I sometimes wonder how badly someone has to do something before I step in and suggest they don´t... this guy yesterday had the most massive lumbar lordosis I have ever seen and was using the incline bench press on the machine with NO support for his back and was slamming the weights down on EVERY rep. It was horrible: annoying to for and dangerous for him (lifting what was clearly too much weight with his back in a vulnerable position). His crunches were more a neck and elbow exercise than anywhere remotely near his core.... and so on.


    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=998224

    even if you don´t follow his routine, then there´s a lot of good general information here... We really need a "sticky" on 10 things that you should know before you go to the gym with proper advice (and no fool comments) for people who are starting out.
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    Jan 09, 2009 1:36 PM GMT
    I know the feeling. I started about 20 years ago and knew nothing. Perhaps purchase a magazine like Men's Health or Men's Fitness as a guide. You also may choose to work out at a time less crowded, perhaps over lunch or early am. Finally, don't be shy, we all remember the beginning. Be friendly, Feel ask questions and watch the guys who know what they're doing. Good luck.
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    Jan 09, 2009 1:53 PM GMT
    theatrengym (that's me) wrote:

    I know my form isn't always perfect, but early on I learned what good form is and I think anyone watching me can see that I'm at least trying to use good form. I always feel that perfect form something you strive for but can never truly achieve.

    And then you always see some guys with great bodies but whose form is terrible. And I don't mean cheating moves to get another couple of reps at the end of a set. I mean they just generally have what is considered bad form from the beginning to the end of every set.


    sidney_cider responded:

    You will find they are either:
    a) Been training for much longer than you think
    b) On the juice
    c) Totally out of shape because they do not workout consistently

    It's very easy to overwork one part of the body and make it stand out but the supporting muscles can easily be neglected. Why are they neglected? Because they are not immediately recognised. For example, your rotator cuffs are just as important to your bench press and overhead press, but do you think many guys know how much it would help by working these muscles?

    I have a workmate who has a fantastic upper body because that is all he works out. He has no arse, legs are like matchsticks and has so many joint problems from his focus on his chest that he has had to take time of the gym.


    Response from theatrengym:

    Well, I said nothing about how long I thought the kinds of guys to whom I was referring have been training.

    I'm sure some of them are on the juice. I'm fairly sure that some of the guys to whom I was referring aren't on the juice.

    And I do see guys training who seem to have consistently bad form but have no particularly noticeable weak points in their bodies. I imagine that those who aren't on the juice have really great genetics.

    theatrengym (that's me again) wrote:

    Sometimes I reach the point of wondering if my body would be better if I used bad form.

    sidney_cider responded:

    Never think that. Form is important or else you can end up injuring yourself.

    It takes time to build your body, there are way too many myths out there on building your body in 12 weeks. I'm not saying it can't be done, but you have to have some foundation in place to build it up (or down). Look at that film The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke. His body looks fantastic and it probably took him 8 weeks to look that good. Why? Because he has always had it and had to hit the gym again to tighten up what he already has.

    IF you want to have a decent body then you have to be persistent and patient. You can only make some magic transformation if you within reach of that transformation.

    Working out when your really thin means you first start to show more definition, your muscles won't double overnight. If your slightly heavier you need to lose some fat before you will see any kind of musculature at all. Again you muscles will most likely develop at the same rate as the thin person but you have a different challenge to achieving the same results.

    Workout regularly, workout properly and eat properly and you will make progress.


    Response from theatrengym:

    Believe me, I don't really think that my body would be better if I started using bad form. And if I haven't done it after training for 30 years, I don't think I'm going to start now.

    But if I continue to work out regularly, as I've done for 30 years, perhaps some day I will have a decent body. Thanks for the encouragement.

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    Jan 09, 2009 6:31 PM GMT
    thanks everyone for the words of encouragement!

    in high school i was really skinny, like 150 and i'm about 5'11''. after 7 years and some relationships i start to really fluctuate in my weight.

    so now i'm about 165, same height and personally i HATE being scrawny, i'm tired of it.

    so i will take your advice. i'll get a few personal trainer sessions. (they actually set me up with someone that was about my height and build, he was muscular, but leaner and we had about the same body frame so i think they understood who would probably be able to teach me best.)

    it's just hard for me to find a buddy. i'm a shy guy when it comes to certain things and working out is one of them. however, i would talk your ears off about anything tech savvy icon_biggrin.gif

    i'm blessed though that my body changes rapidly with any kind of workout. i'm looking forward to this!

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    Jan 09, 2009 9:17 PM GMT
    Don't worry, I was shy when I first started at the gym, especially in the free weights area, it was intimidating and uncomfortable, but, I get through it by just going there and doing it, I felt like an idiot, I was nervous and I wanted out of there.

    However come to now a year and a half later and I'm fine in the free weights or any other part of the gym..

    Your shyness will fade away eventually, just keep at it and if you have any problems, post here, ask questions, ask for a little encouragement anything that will keep you going.
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    Jan 09, 2009 11:03 PM GMT
    i'm also concerned about eating right with this change. I'm in IT. I sit in my cube all day. I'm slim now because I know not to eat like a little piggy cause I would balloon like crazy. icon_eek.gif lol

    Was it hard to get used to a "work out" diet? I normally eat pretty healthy I think, heavily healthy for the last 4 months.

    Everyone says eggs, but I hate eggs...lol
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 09, 2009 11:28 PM GMT
    Office jobs are the best. You can pack a mini ice chest with all your food for the day and have it in your cubicle. I think eating right is harder for people that work in outdoor environments.
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    Jan 10, 2009 12:59 AM GMT
    jaycen82 saidi'm also concerned about eating right with this change. I'm in IT. I sit in my cube all day. I'm slim now because I know not to eat like a little piggy cause I would balloon like crazy. icon_eek.gif lol

    Was it hard to get used to a "work out" diet? I normally eat pretty healthy I think, heavily healthy for the last 4 months.

    Everyone says eggs, but I hate eggs...lol

    You don't have to eat eggs if you don't want them..

    Lean meats, lots of vegetables, try to keep off the overly processed high carb foods, if your diet keeps you at the weight you are at and your happy with it and your not looking to become a body builder, then just adjust what you currently do, add some more protein rich foods (lean meats) and space them out better so that you eat a little more often 2 - 4 hours.

    as you work out more and more and keep at it and increase intensity, you'll naturally start wanting to eat more and as long as you don't start dumping on the fat your all good icon_smile.gif

    its when you start focusing on specific things like building as much muscle as possible that you need to focus on exactly what how and when
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    Jan 10, 2009 2:19 AM GMT
    If it's simply encouragement and motivation that you need in order to start making a habit of going to the gym, you could always recruit a buddy who's willing to either let you 'tag along' in the beginning or explore the weight room with you. When I started working out for the first time in college, my roommate and I got each other up at the ass-crack of dawn and stumbled our way through it together. After a while, we were pretty familiar with the equipment and routines, etc., and the motivation to keep going was fueled by a bit of friendly competition and rivalry between us.
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    Jan 10, 2009 2:37 AM GMT
    I started back in high school when it was easy because we were all tiny icon_biggrin.gif

    I did get off the beaten path for about a year, lost most of my gains, and started going back summer '07. It was a little weird getting back into the groove because it was a commercial gym and there were a lot of really big guys around, but I just turned up my MP3 player and stuck to it.

    You just have to keep your focus on moving the weight around and getting your exercises done. That is, after all, what you're there to do.