Congrats on beginning your first gym journey! It’s often a big step that a lot of people take so you can be rest assured many other people have overcome the uncertainty of starting regular exercise. With this guide you’ll be sure to hit the ground running and be well on the way to a healthier, happier you!
It’s always best to start your workout with a quick 5 to 10 minute warm up. There is plenty of cardio equipment to warm up on.
If you’re new to the gym or haven’t been in a while, its always advised that starting on the pin loaded machines is a good way to get in to the groove of things. Why? Because the machines will take you through the movement so there is very little worry about with technique. In order to save you time we’ve complied a complete beginners workout based on pin loaded machines.
Everything that is yellow on the equipment is made to be moved. If the equipment does not feel comfortable, pull or press the yellow lever or button to adjust the machines until you find a comfortable position.
You may notice on some machines there is a small yellow 2.5kg lever. This is because it can be too difficult to move up your weight in 5kg increments, especially on the shoulder press! Pulling this lever takes off 2.5kg and pushing it back in adds another 2.5kg. This means you can increase the weight by a much more manageable 2.5kg increments as you get stronger.
Most people when exercising either want to lose weight or gain muscle. Either way it has been shown that performing strength based exercises between 10 to 15 repetitions is the ideal duration to maximise muscle mass (hypertrophy). This is because the more muscles cells created, the stronger your muscle will become. Creating new muscle cells also takes a lot of energy! So even after your workout is completed you’ll still be burning calories which is great for burning off those extra fat cells. Completing 10 to 15 repetitions equates to around 45 to 60 seconds of effort for each machine. Completing 10 to 15 repetitions in one go is known as a “set”. Try to aim for 2 – 3 sets for each exercise. Most of the benefit in strength based exercises is gained on the 2nd set and then progressively less for each set after this. You can think of completing your first set as the setup to reap the rewards of exercises in your 2nd and 3rd set.
You want to select a weight that is light enough for you to complete at least 10 reps but not so light that you can do more than 15 over 2 to 3 sets. Conversely you do not want to select a weight that is so heavy that you cannot do 10 reps. Finding a weight that is challenging enough to keep you in that sweet spot of 10 – 15 reps is your goldilocks zone.
Aim to stick at your new workout for 6 weeks, attending the gym twice a week and aiming to complete one aerobic or cardio activity during your week. This could even be a long walk on the weekend. If you miss a week or two, that’s okay, carry on until you have 6 weeks of equivalent training under your belt.
After your first workout you may experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) 1 – 2 days after your workout. DOMS in a dull ache sensation in your muscles and it is common to experience after your first workout. The best thing you can do to manage DOMS is to get back and repeat the same workout at a lower weight. This helps get the muscles pumping blood around the body again and can make that dull and ache sensation go away. As your muscles continue to adapt to exercise you will no longer be experiencing DOMS.
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