Never been to the gym, and looking to. Tips?

  • zalcland

    Posts: 51

    Mar 09, 2015 2:02 PM GMT
    Howdy! Up until this point I have worked out at home with push ups, pull ups, sit ups, and a dumbbell.

    It seems to work well, but I am not gaining mass. Id like to bulk up a little, but not sure where to start since Ive never been to the gym.

    Tips on finding your weight for bench press for starters would be cool.

    Work out plans for beginners would be helpful also. Thanks, gentlemen.
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4433

    Mar 09, 2015 4:41 PM GMT
    Nothing wrong with what you're doing but yes, to gain mass you'll need a gym. How you structure your time there will depend on how many days/week you're ready to commit to and for how long. But for starters, try this.

    First, get yourself a good, low cal whey protein powder that gives you 35-40 grams of protein and no more than 100 calories per shaker cup. Drink two of these/day, one immediately after working out. Have a clean, balanced diet including healthy fats and some carbs. You need all that to grow muscle. And if you want, you can add a pre-workout creatine drink.

    In the gym: To start, keep it simple. Do 20 minutes of cardio to warm up. Then stretch. Work on one body part/day and do 4-5 different exercises doing three sets of 10 reps for each. I divide the days into Chest, Shoulders, Arms, Back, Legs. Look online at this site or Bodybuilding.com and pick out the exercises you want to do and get a book to keep a log of what you do. On each of the three sets, I raise the weight. Start low, develop good form, and raise the weight as soon as you can. (You'll see some guys start heavy and then "drop" weight each time- that comes later.) You'll find your maximum weight on the bench press soon enough BUT while you're learning, either use dumbbells or ask someone to spot you. Always use a spotter with the bar when doing bench press. Always. Don't be afraid to ask someone in the gym to spot you. No one minds.

    Finish with some more cardio, a bit more intense.

    If you can't commit to 5 days/week, and 1-1 1/2 hours/day, you'll have to combine some of the body parts like biceps and back and triceps and chest. But try giving the gym a commitment of time. I bet you'll love it.


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    Mar 09, 2015 5:22 PM GMT
    From your profile pics you are starting a gym program with a good amount of muscle from your program at home, so no need to feel like a "20-pound weakling" on your first visit.

    When you hit the gym ask for assistance, either from the gym staff [that's part of their job] or someone who knows what they are doing with the equipment. Definitely keep a record of your exercises/amt of weight/reps. You will be glad you did as you look back over time and see how much you have progressed. As mentioned previously work different muscle groups on consecutive days, that way the group you worked the day before gets to rest and recuperate, part of a proper workout program.

    Check out the workout plans on RealJock, they're a great starting place and should help you understand your goals. They're at the top of the page above your "mail" tab, if you haven't noticed previously.

    Enjoy your time at the gym, think of it as 'time you deserve, just for yourself'. Post some progress photos on your profile as well, you'll be glad you did when the muscle mass starts to improve and you get definition.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Mar 09, 2015 7:13 PM GMT
    Well I might have a slightly contrary, but carefully considered suggestion:

    First, general information should be all that you should expect from those of us on this site. We don't know you, your past, health issues, adherence and stats... but I do think the following is prudent:

    Decide on short term and long term goals, the shorter ones need to be more specific. Long term goals can be more general, but to sharpen those short term goals, I think it wise to speak with a trainer or two and get some input on what would be the best avenue to consider considering your health and current wellness.

    A) Review several gym(s) based on cost, professionalism of staff, offerings and condition

    B) INVEST in time with a trainer or two and get professional input based on an individual assessment. Fitness isn't generic, its an individual journey and the best way to succeed is to craft a route that is best for you and your situation.

    C) Once you have defined your shorter term goals, assess your nutrition currently and adjust in a way that makes sense. Don't dump a bunch of needless protein or other supplements into your diet unless you really need it and a professional advises you (and it may not be the trainer, he or she may not have the credentials). You may be allergic to something you are taking... get input from a doctor or registered dietician before you screw with supplements.

    D) Evaluate your time and what you can control to make this reality. Implement your plan based on sound reasoning and goals.

    I have no doubt you can be successful, you are a self starter, the BEST kind there is! I worked out at home first before I joined a gym. Good luck and keep us informed!

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  • FRE0

    Posts: 4864

    Mar 09, 2015 7:37 PM GMT
    There are widely varying opinions on how much protein is necessary or desirable. At one time, 100 grams per day was recommended for a man of average weight. That has since been reduced to approximately 60 grams. There is no benefit to having more than a certain amount of protein and, at least for some people, excessive protein can cause kidney damage over a period of time. There are many very well-built guys who have never taken protein supplements and never ingested more than the recommended amount of protein. For more information, do google searches.

    One can do very well exercising at home with minimal equipment. You could do your pushups while wearing a weighted back pack, and you could do chin-ups with a weight strap. Of course there are other important exercises too. However, you are likely to achieve better results by working out regularly at a gym so I highly recommend doing so. It would be a good idea to have a trainer help you get started and set up an exercise program for you.

    Some trainers will recommend having perhaps six small meals per day rather than three big meals. That is controversial and many medical authorities recommend against having more than three meals per day or snacks between meals. For more information, do a google search on "meals per day"; you will find conflicting information and little or no proof for anything.

    Although many guys feel intimidated the first time they go to a gym, there really is no reason to feel intimidated. There are even very overweight and seriously unfit guys at gyms in addition to guys who are perfect specimens of fitness. So, if you do feel intimidated, most likely that feeling will go away within 10 minutes of arriving.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Mar 09, 2015 9:22 PM GMT
    FRE0 saidThere are widely varying opinions on how much protein is necessary or desirable. At one time, 100 grams per day was recommended for a man of average weight. That has since been reduced to approximately 60 grams. There is no benefit to having more than a certain amount of protein and, at least for some people, excessive protein can cause kidney damage over a period of time. There are many very well-built guys who have never taken protein supplements and never ingested more than the recommended amount of protein. For more information, do google searches.


    Absolutely and well said. We covered this on my weekly webradio fitness program early this season. Show 2.2 "Nutrition myths ... debunked" I have learned much and with my ACE personal training certification.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 11, 2015 6:41 AM GMT
    HndsmKansan said

    B) INVEST in time with a trainer or two and get professional input based on an individual assessment. Fitness isn't generic, its an individual journey and the best way to succeed is to craft a route that is best for you and your situation.

    icon_biggrin.gif

    + I second that. Great advice, HndsmKansan! Consulting 2 professional trainers offers me new ideas in addition to what I know (from having taken exercise science courses).
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Mar 11, 2015 2:23 PM GMT
    There are people on Craigslist that would give you their used work bench for free or practically free. As far as finding your weight you need a spotter to see what your max is right now, so you know where you can begin.
    There are so many home work out tips in Men's Health Mag. Also this site right here on RJ has good info as well.