GYM 101: Where to Start

How many times have you walked in the gym not knowing what to or where to start? How many times have you walked from machine to machine in the weight room like a sheep without a shepherd? Many doctors and experts say to get 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week, but never say what to do!

Before Starting

·      Before beginning any exercise program it is important to get medical clearance from you physician. Talk to your doctor about your interest in exercising and make sure that there is nothing that can hold you back.

·      What is your current fitness level?

§  Is this your first time ever in the gym? Have you been previously in shape, but have strayed off the path? Do you consider yourself an athletic person (athletes, frequent exerciser)?

·      What is your goal?

§  Lose weight, burn fat? Build muscle? Improve overall health?

Getting Started

1.    START SLOW - Many people

do too much, too fast when it comes to making a lifestyle change. It’s hard for the body 

     and mind to automatically flip a switch and adapt to a new habit. If you’re not sure what to do enlist the help of a personal trainer, or take a group exercise class at your local recreation center or gym.

2.    INCREASE THE INTENSITY- An individual who started by walking around the block every other day can increase the intensity by walking at a brisker pace, increasing the distance, or increasing the frequency of exercise. 

On a scale of 1-10 moderate activity exercise rates at a 5 or 6. If you were exercising at this intensity you would be able to carry on a conversation.

Vigorous intensity exercise rates at a 7 or 8. At this intensity it should be hard for you to carry on a conversation.


·    Lifting weights will not only help you build muscle, but also increase bone density, and assist in weight loss.

·    Master bodyweight exercises before advancing to resistance based

     exercises (ex. pushups before bench press)

·    Practice good form- improper form can be counterproductive and cause injury if an exercise is performed in an unsafe manner. Don’t lift with your ego!

·    Be sure to incorporate all body groups: legs, back, arms, core. Focusing on one body part too much can lead to muscle imbalance which can lead to injury.

·    Perform 8-10 repetitions, and 3-4 sets per exercise.

4.    TRACK YOUR PROGRESS- note changes not only in body composition, but also your workouts. If you are performing the same exercise routine at the same intensity, your body will adapt to the demands placed upon it and you will see minimal progress.