New to gym- unsure what I'm doing and need advice

  • Edinburgh94

    Posts: 4

    Sep 16, 2015 8:35 PM GMT
    So I've always been quite lanky (I'm 183cm and 68kg) and lacking in confidence a bit, I used to run a lot but my main weakness is lack of strength (I can't even do a pushup). I've joined by university gym with mixed experiences so far, I'm getting a good workout from crunches, the leg press and especially the rowing machine (sore shoulders and triceps). I'm doing dumbbell chest presses too though only at 8kg each hand (any heavier and it's not even the weight but my form) and dumbbell side laterals at 5kg each. I was also able do to 15 pushups using a knee-height stool today. With the other machines and especially the freeweights, I don't have a clue what I'm doing and the gym charges for tutorials, I'm figuring I'll work it out over time. Does anyone have any advice on where I should go from here? icon_confused.gif
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4433

    Sep 16, 2015 8:52 PM GMT
    Buy a book. I know, that sounds antique but I got a great book in a used book stall put out by Men's Health. It describes how diet and hormones interact, breaks down the various muscle groups and has a section of recommended exercises for each group. I keep it in the trunk of the car and pull it out whenever I'm eating alone.

    Do this: Each day, work a different muscle group. Legs, chest, back, arms and shoulders. Do five or six different exercises for each group doing three sets of ten repetitions. And write it down in a log. If you work out five days/week, you'll hit each muscle group solidly every week. And get a good quality whey protein powder you can mix with water. 100 calories max. Glug down 30-40 grams immediately after working out, within a half hour. I keep mine in my gym bag.

    There are more sophisticated programs but this will get you started. Good luck! You should get good strength improvement quickly just by getting muscle tone but size will take longer. Expect to see visible results in six months. But it will take years to achieve major size. Just make it a lifestyle thing and enjoy it! The gym is full of hot guys.
  • Edinburgh94

    Posts: 4

    Sep 16, 2015 10:31 PM GMT
    Destinharbor saidBuy a book. I know, that sounds antique but I got a great book in a used book stall put out by Men's Health. It describes how diet and hormones interact, breaks down the various muscle groups and has a section of recommended exercises for each group. I keep it in the trunk of the car and pull it out whenever I'm eating alone.

    Do this: Each day, work a different muscle group. Legs, chest, back, arms and shoulders. Do five or six different exercises for each group doing three sets of ten repetitions. And write it down in a log. If you work out five days/week, you'll hit each muscle group solidly every week. And get a good quality whey protein powder you can mix with water. 100 calories max. Glug down 30-40 grams immediately after working out, within a half hour. I keep mine in my gym bag.

    There are more sophisticated programs but this will get you started. Good luck! You should get good strength improvement quickly just by getting muscle tone but size will take longer. Expect to see visible results in six months. But it will take years to achieve major size. Just make it a lifestyle thing and enjoy it! The gym is full of hot guys.


    Thanks for the response. The issue is because of lack of confidence is I've got a real intimidation issue. There's guys I know in the gym, I don't know how to use a lot of the machines and I'm scared to ask because I don't want to look like an ass haha. The hot guys thing is true but it adds to the intimidation because compared to them I'm a twig icon_redface.gif. At the moment I drink a half litre of milk after every workout and once my student loan comes in on Monday, I'll invest in whey powder. In terms of diet, I'm trying to eat ~3000 calories a day, that's working so far in that I've put on nearly 2kg since I started.
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    Sep 17, 2015 12:26 AM GMT
    Men's Health, has a tutorial in every issue. There are some good tips here on RealJock too. There are also some great Internet sites to check out, eg. Bodybuilding.com, or if you Google a certain excercise, Google will guide you as well. Make friends with someone at the gym who has been training longer than you, who can spot and give you advice. You don't need to pay for tutorials or Personal Trainers. Once you get to know all the excercises and which muscle group they focus on, then it becomes easy.
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    Sep 17, 2015 12:28 AM GMT
    I had confidence issues too when I first started to work out. I was as skinny as a twig.
    Don't be intimidated by heavy lifters/people bigger than you.
    You're there to achieve a certain goal, as are they.
    As for learning how to use equipment, I would try watching videos on youtube. I like to watch Scott Herman, Sean Sarantos and Steve Cook. (they're hot too, so why the hell not, right? lol)

    Just try your best and try not to worry about the people around you.
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    Sep 17, 2015 3:51 AM GMT
    No one is looking at you.

    They're too busy looking at themselves.
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    Sep 17, 2015 6:34 AM GMT
    When I started out at the gym I was nervous and I always felt in the rode using benches and stuff when all the massive guys wanted to use them. I used to hide away doing the weight machines and avoiding the free weights area so I wasn't in the way.

    Biggest thing I have started realising is try and find a work out buddy, someone who knows what they are doing and it will massively fast track your training because learning by yourself takes a lot of time and trial and error. Also if you are looking to build size stick to the big 3, squat, bench press and deadlift, increase your weight so you can do 6-8, go 8-10 on bench press if nobody is spotting you so you don't kill yourself haha and go for 4 reps, try and get at least one of those in each workout and your strength should increase
  • Edinburgh94

    Posts: 4

    Sep 17, 2015 9:12 AM GMT
    shawnyshawn3 saidWhen I started out at the gym I was nervous and I always felt in the rode using benches and stuff when all the massive guys wanted to use them. I used to hide away doing the weight machines and avoiding the free weights area so I wasn't in the way.

    Biggest thing I have started realising is try and find a work out buddy, someone who knows what they are doing and it will massively fast track your training because learning by yourself takes a lot of time and trial and error. Also if you are looking to build size stick to the big 3, squat, bench press and deadlift, increase your weight so you can do 6-8, go 8-10 on bench press if nobody is spotting you so you don't kill yourself haha and go for 4 reps, try and get at least one of those in each workout and your strength should increase


    Easier said than done, I know people who go to the gym but amongst my friends, it's just girls doing cardio etc- none of my guy friends use the gymicon_sad.gif I guess I've only been there two weeks so I can hopefully get the courage to ask somebody to help out a bit. On paper I know I'm being pathetic and nobody cares but in the actual situation, it's so different. In the meantime, I won't give up.
  • ABPinDallas

    Posts: 9

    Sep 17, 2015 2:26 PM GMT
    You are already halfway there just by showing up at the gym. Warm up on a treadmill for 10-15 minutes first. Keep a towel and water bottle with you. Like all the other guys said, do your research before hand and be prepared. You are on a personal journey and the only person you are competing with is yourself - ignore the others. Good Luck!
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    Sep 17, 2015 3:31 PM GMT
    eagermuscle saidNo one is looking at you.

    They're too busy looking at themselves.


    QFT. I feel completely invisible in the gym, which has its good and bad points.
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    Sep 17, 2015 5:32 PM GMT
    Ask the staff how to do specific things or use specific machines safely. I'd be shocked if they refused. Don't overdo it and ask different staff on different days. Chat with them. If they like you they are more inclined to offer up suggestions too. RealJock's muscle-building programs have fairly detailed instructions and video guides so you should also check them out for ideas.

    Don't waste time imagining what other guys in the gym are thinking. They really aren't as interested in the newbies as you probably think.
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    Sep 17, 2015 5:46 PM GMT
    I didn't start in the gym until I was 40....and so intimidated by the young fit dudes. After a while, you'll realize that most people aren't watching you and frankly don't care. Listen to the great advice here...don't be afraid to ask a specific question to someone about what exercise they are doing and how. Most dudes in the gym are pretty nice and have no prob answering questions.
    Bravo for starting young (...sure wish I did...)
    GET OUT AND LIFT !! and GOOD LUCK !
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4433

    Sep 17, 2015 7:42 PM GMT
    Ya, don't be embarrassed. Guys who are regulars know what you're attempting to do because they all went through the same learning curve. And they appreciate you for being there working. I can't tell you how many guys I see starting a gym routine and as long as they're serious about it, I'm cheering for them. One thing, though... A question now and then is fine, a request for a spot on the bench press is fine. Just don't start long conversations. Everyone is there to work, not talk. The ones who are talking are probably workout buddies. But the gym is not a place to start making new friends though over time, you will make friends.
  • joxguy

    Posts: 236

    Sep 17, 2015 7:47 PM GMT
    Start looking at going to the gym as a life style and a time to focus on yourself.

    Here is a simple starting workout routine:

    Always start the day with cardio: find if you like the tread mill, the bike, or the elliptical. Remember it takes 6 minutes for the average person to get their heart rate elevated and then at least another 20 minutes to do any good. With that in mind do a minimum of 30 minutes.

    The on one day concentrate on your upper body, arms, chest, abs etc. Whatever machine or weight routine you use try to find your top weight you can lift and then back off 5 pounds.You need to do three sets of 15 reps per routine. When that becomes too easy, add 5 lbs.

    Day two do lower body, legs and again abs. The core, abs-is the area that helps all others.

    Repeat the sequence. In starting I would go to the gym every other day to give your body recovery time.
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    Sep 17, 2015 10:00 PM GMT
    No need to worry. No one's really judging much. I used to be afraid of going to the gym because I thought the other guys would look at me and go, "Look at this loser, lol". But that's not the case. I started and now I'm kinda like a "regular" there. The people there are very friendly (for the most part) and aren't really paying attention to you.
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    Sep 17, 2015 10:45 PM GMT
    Talk to the hot guys for advice or for casual. Ask them to help you out at the last reps. Their body will touch you especially in the heavy exercises. Its heaven and very empowering. I know right.icon_wink.gificon_redface.gif
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    Sep 18, 2015 12:14 AM GMT
    Edinburgh94 saidSo I've always been quite lanky (I'm 183cm and 68kg) and lacking in confidence a bit, I used to run a lot but my main weakness is lack of strength (I can't even do a pushup). I've joined by university gym with mixed experiences so far, I'm getting a good workout from crunches, the leg press and especially the rowing machine (sore shoulders and triceps). I'm doing dumbbell chest presses too though only at 8kg each hand (any heavier and it's not even the weight but my form) and dumbbell side laterals at 5kg each. I was also able do to 15 pushups using a knee-height stool today. With the other machines and especially the freeweights, I don't have a clue what I'm doing and the gym charges for tutorials, I'm figuring I'll work it out over time. Does anyone have any advice on where I should go from here? icon_confused.gif


    First thing, is you have to come to like yourself. That means getting pictured, profiled, and stop being such a coward. If you like yourself, everyone else will follow. When you are a picture-less, and profile-less, it makes you look lazy, and inept. STOP. You wanna' be one of the cool kids? Then, stop being such a pussy. Man up, like yourself, and the rest will follow in a very good way. Cowards never get anywhere. PERIOD.

    Having just told you that, I'm going to tell you this: Learn how to help yourself. Use google. Use You Tube. You don't need to be spoon fed every last thing. Hire a trainer. Walk over to a person in the gym, introduce yourself with a first and last name, and ask for some tips. Cowards get nowwhere. Get a book. Shake some hands. Learn how to use Google. Watch some videos on You Tube. Make yourself better by empowering yourself.

    Empower. Lead. NEVER CODDLE.
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    Sep 18, 2015 12:18 AM GMT
    shawnyshawn3 saidWhen I started out at the gym I was nervous and I always felt in the rode using benches and stuff when all the massive guys wanted to use them. I used to hide away doing the weight machines and avoiding the free weights area so I wasn't in the way.

    Biggest thing I have started realising is try and find a work out buddy, someone who knows what they are doing and it will massively fast track your training because learning by yourself takes a lot of time and trial and error. Also if you are looking to build size stick to the big 3, squat, bench press and deadlift, increase your weight so you can do 6-8, go 8-10 on bench press if nobody is spotting you so you don't kill yourself haha and go for 4 reps, try and get at least one of those in each workout and your strength should increase


    This all wrong, and is old school false belief systems. While low rep work will help with your tendons, and does help with neurological conditioning, it doesn't pack on mass. Mass is a function of local muscular endurance and expansion of the fascia via "the pump" / fluid, along with calories. With most folks, too low reps, not enough volume, and way too few calories sabotage gains.

    Full range of motion, full recruitment (think isos and contractions on the endpoint), as well as copious calories make for a stud.

    You gotta' eat to get big.
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    Sep 18, 2015 12:24 AM GMT
    Eat, lift, sleep, repeat.

    Get disciplined, study, be consistent, be patient, EAT.

    I'm entering my 42'nd year of lifting, and invite you to follow me, Chuck Gudgel, online. I'm 55, 5'5", #190, nationally qualified, and the survivor of 3 CABG June 11, 2013.

    https://www.facebook.com/gudgel.chuck
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/gudgelcl
    Instagram: gudgelcl
    Twitter: gudgelcl
    SC: gudgelcl

    Empower. Lead. NEVER CODDLE.
    272c6d416efcbb7a46a430c9d532912a.jpg
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    Sep 18, 2015 12:35 AM GMT
    ABPinDallas saidYou are already halfway there just by showing up at the gym. Warm up on a treadmill for 10-15 minutes first. Keep a towel and water bottle with you. Like all the other guys said, do your research before hand and be prepared. You are on a personal journey and the only person you are competing with is yourself - ignore the others. Good Luck!


    This is old school non-sense and is counter productive. It deloads your glycogen earlier than need be. It you're going to do this, do it AFTER lifting.
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    Sep 18, 2015 12:38 AM GMT
    Swifterchris saidNo need to worry. No one's really judging much. I used to be afraid of going to the gym because I thought the other guys would look at me and go, "Look at this loser, lol". But that's not the case. I started and now I'm kinda like a "regular" there. The people there are very friendly (for the most part) and aren't really paying attention to you.


    Nobody gives a shit what you look like.

    1. Pick up your weights. Always.
    2. Never walk in front of someone who is looking in the mirror. It's rude.
    3. Learn decorum. First name, last name, shake hands. Many athletes understand social skills. Learn them. Shake some hands. Wear a smile.
    4. Don't stink. No perfume needed. Just don't reek.
    5. Don't be a creepy cruiser in the sauna. You COULD get smacked and if you do, it'll be because you were a creep. If you're gay, fucking so what. Many of the guys at the gym are gay; many are bi; many are ultra cool. Tell folks you're gay. Don't be a coward.
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    Sep 18, 2015 12:39 AM GMT
    musclesbuilder saidTalk to the hot guys for advice or for casual. Ask them to help you out at the last reps. Their body will touch you especially in the heavy exercises. Its heaven and very empowering. I know right.icon_wink.gificon_redface.gif


    Don't do this. It pisses folks off, and makes you a creepy cruiser. You're in the gym to workout; not to be a closet case creep. STOP IT. Get out. Get social. Good things will happen.
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    Sep 18, 2015 12:40 AM GMT
    Destinharbor saidYa, don't be embarrassed. Guys who are regulars know what you're attempting to do because they all went through the same learning curve. And they appreciate you for being there working. I can't tell you how many guys I see starting a gym routine and as long as they're serious about it, I'm cheering for them. One thing, though... A question now and then is fine, a request for a spot on the bench press is fine. Just don't start long conversations. Everyone is there to work, not talk. The ones who are talking are probably workout buddies. But the gym is not a place to start making new friends though over time, you will make friends.


    Right. Just don't be a cowardly creep. Shake some hands. Man up.
  • Edinburgh94

    Posts: 4

    Sep 18, 2015 5:14 PM GMT
    Firstly thanks a lot for all your advice! I feel like I'm getting good workouts and I managed to do an actual set of 5 pushups today icon_smile.gif I've looked up youtube videos but I'm still not sure what I'm doing with some things, I asked a guy at the gym how to use the cable machines and he told me to piss off (one of my friends changed gyms because apparently this one is quite macho, who knew) icon_redface.gif I'm just wanting to do the standing cable curls and the tricep pull downs right now but I'm worried if I touch it, I'll break the machine...

    And as to why I don't show my profile, I'm sorry if it's offended anyone but I'm within my rights, I'm not soliciting any of you guys for sex so I don't know why it matters:/
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    Sep 18, 2015 6:47 PM GMT
    Edinburgh94 saidFirstly thanks a lot for all your advice! I feel like I'm getting good workouts and I managed to do an actual set of 5 pushups today icon_smile.gif I've looked up youtube videos but I'm still not sure what I'm doing with some things, I asked a guy at the gym how to use the cable machines and he told me to piss off (one of my friends changed gyms because apparently this one is quite macho, who knew) icon_redface.gif I'm just wanting to do the standing cable curls and the tricep pull downs right now but I'm worried if I touch it, I'll break the machine...

    And as to why I don't show my profile, I'm sorry if it's offended anyone but I'm within my rights, I'm not soliciting any of you guys for sex so I don't know why it matters:/


    Ask someone who works there for help. They are getting paid to make sure people don't hurt themselves.

    The other possibility is, given that it's a university, if you have a little extra money, you might want to find out if there are exercise science/kineseology students who would be willing to spent a little time teaching you and watching to make sure you're using the machines correctly.