As it’s now the second week of January a lot of people will be starting a new fitness regime (if you haven't already!). Unless you have experience in training, you have hired a personal trainer or you have someone to give you advice the chances are you don't know where to start. Most commercial gyms will offer you an induction which shows you how to use the most basic bits of equipment in the gym.
Whilst this is useful to someone who has never stepped into a gym it doesn't help them to understand what they need to do in order to make continued progress in the gym. If I gave you bricks and cement I couldn't expect you to build a house if I haven't shown you how to do it. I’ve posted before about the importance of having a coach and in my opinion everyone should hire a coach at some point in their training career. However not everyone has the ability to do that right now, so I am going to give you three basic things to consider when trying to design your own simple gym programme.
Stick to machines
If you have no experience in using free weights the risk to injure yourself is increased. I would highly recommend getting someone who knows how to perform free weight exercises to show you how to do it before you try performing them. The machines in the gym are always fairly easy to use. Most of them will work in one direction and you should be able to feel the target muscles working. They will also have instructions on them.
Think about the areas of your body you want to improve
For example if your goal is to improve or “tone” your legs you should make sure one or 2 of the exercises you do incorporate the leg muscles. Look for machines such as the leg press, leg extension and leg curl and make sure you use them. This rule may not apply for every single area you want to improve but it’s a good place to start. This rule will definitely not apply to stomach exercises. Doing lots of crunches will not improve you abdominal definition if you have body fat to lose.
Work on bigger muscle groups first
It’s a good idea to try and work the muscles from big to small. So you may want to start with leg and glute exercises moving on to back, chest, shoulders, and arms for example. The reason for this is because you want to work the bigger muscles while you are fresher. Doing a hard set of 10 on the leg press is not the same as doing a set of 10 on the arm curl. These tips are only an introductory guide to people who are starting the gym with little to no experience. This is by no means an optimal guide on training. Feel free to contact me if you need more detailed help.