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Heading into the gym? Whether you’re a first-timer looking to get into the world of fitness or a regular who’s looking for tips to improve themselves, here’s a detailed list of things you should consider in order to not seem like a newbie.
1. You’re Not the Hulk
When you’re about to start your workout on a machine that has weights, please don’t think you can take on more than you actually can. The best way to go about this is to start off with small weights, whether it’s the smaller dumbbell or even an empty barbell. Your gains don’t depend upon the weight you can lift or bench press.
This is for everyone who thinks that they just might be the next Arnold or Ronnie Coleman. Most probably, you’re just another person who’s looking to get yourself in shape and if you assume at any given moment that you can do more than you really can, you’re paving the way for nasty injuries.
There are countless examples of people getting injured just because they thought they could lift or bench a weight that’s twice their own. Remember that you’re not a strongman or the next Mr. Olympia looking to compete in worldwide competitions. The gym doesn’t reward people for lifting weights and most gyms discourage putting up records of people just because they know others who can’t do it can end up injuring themselves in the process of trying.
2. Nobody’s Looking
Whether you’re the type to get anxious when you think you’re being observed, or the type to take it as a challenge to perform impossibly better, just know that nobody’s looking. You might exchange a few glances here and there, but you can be sure that everyone has their own body to work on and that’s what they’re in the gym for.
A lot of people get anxious when people are looking and they either stop doing what they’re doing or start getting nervous about it and end up making mistakes, later feeling embarrassed. You must understand that unless you have hired a professional or someone’s waiting for you to finish up on a machine, you’re not the center of attention. And even if you do find yourself under the spotlight, just know that none of the people around you are actually going to matter in your life.
Another crucial recommendation made by experts is to find a fitness trainer in the gym and even if you don’t pay them, request them to see if they’ll monitor your moves for a while or answer a few of your questions. Whether it’s related to your workout exercises, their duration or intensity, or their order, you can refer yourself to a professional at any time and have your concerns met. It’s always better to ask questions rather than become the long-term fool.
3. Haste Makes Injuries
There are two types of people who make haste. The first type is the people who’re really excited and after noticing how their bodies are slightly changing, they want to up the ante and increase the intensity of their exercise. This isn’t just wrong, but it’s also dangerous as the faster or stronger you go in, the more will be the chances of you injuring yourself.
The second type of haste-making people is those who want to get in and out of the gym really fast. To these people, expert advice is to skip a day if you need to because hastening the gradual process of working out is going to work against you rather than for you.
You compromise the integrity of the workout process by lifting, pushing or pulling faster than you should be. This can result in mild problems such as twisted or sprained ankles, cramps, muscle soreness or something much worse like weights falling off your barbell or having the smith machine bar come down on your throat or chest.
It’s also possible to be hasty about your workouts overall without being particularly concerned about individual exercises. For example, people who are always trying to go for HIIT workouts every day need to understand the need for recovery after an intense workout.
Even if you’re sure that your form and posture as well as weight distribution is perfect every time, you can’t ignore the possibility of developing DOMS or other serious physiological or musculoskeletal problems later on.
4. It’s a Gym, Not Tinder
This is for all the gym-bros and gals that enter the gym and try to check out people. Firstly, it’s disgusting and creepy. Secondly, you are compromising the integrity of not just your workout, but also affecting the people around you. There are many situations such as the one illustrated in the first point in this list, where people can get anxious, nervous, or even overly excited. This can cause frustration and serious consequences like accidents and injuries that could’ve been avoided.
Nobody should consider a gym a place to play matches. It’s not to say that the idea of finding a friend in the gym is wrong. But if you’re going there and staring at people to check them out, it’s disrespectful, disgusting and very wrong because you have no idea what the people there are going through. Since many people are working out to relieve anxiety and stress, you could be triggering someone’s paranoia or making someone very uncomfortable.
5. Hygiene is For All
Hate when you have to work after someone who left sweat on the bar or the dumbbell? Don’t be that person. You need to observe hygiene not just for yourself but for others as well. If not drying things up with a towel every time you use a machine, wear gloves that can reduce the amount of perspiration you are liable to leave behind.
Similarly, especially considering the pandemic crisis, it’s important that you take care of even the slightest cough that comes out of your mouth. Whether it’s you or anyone else, nobody can be sure of having contracted the infection until it’s too late. While most gyms have mandated a mask policy, you should still be careful to not sneeze or cough directly on someone or someplace anyone can sit or a piece of equipment anyone can use.