Without a solid frame of mind, all good intentions go to garbage. Following are some fundamental steps to consider before stepping into the gym for the first time (or for that matter, rejoining the gym after a certain time):
- Goal setting: An efficient ship without a navigation system is still inefficient. Think of what you want to achieve in both short term(3-6 months) and long term(1-3 years) periods. Stick to them. Do not let anyone hijack those goals, be it any personal trainer, the jacked training colleague whom you secretly admire or any fitness blog (including myself, although I will present a very strong case for a holistic approach to wellness). Remember: Listen to everyone but stick to your goals.
- Research: According to your goals, read on what are the possible ways to achieve them. Don’t fall for news articles or tips from your “fitness freak” cousin. For example, if you want to run faster, prioritize your program for proper activation of fast twitch muscle fibres and increasing your VO2 max and lactate threshold capacities. Build around the program according to it. Verify it with authentic sources or credible professionals. Anything and everything which helps you achieve your goals ought to be your priority. Do not focus on what others are doing. A majority of gym goers have no priorities.
- Focus on increasing strength: A lot of people start exclusive cardio training when they join the gym for the first time. A typical response being: “Well, I’ve just started so I think I will stay off the free weights for some time, increase my stamina on the treadmill…”. This may help you loose some weight (mostly water loss) but it is definitely not a very efficient approach. If you’re skinny, average, fat or morbidly obese, starting with resistance training is almost never a bad idea. This topic will need further elaboration and references to many studies which support this argument so lets keep it for another article.
By the way, for all those who are scared or feel conscious while lifting pink coloured 2 kg dumbbells, bodyweight training (involving all major muscle groups) is a great starting point. Even that pumped up dude in sleeveless t-shirt started off some fine day with a humble beginning.
In Lucem Scientiam,