What Is The Best Way For A Beginner To Kick Off Their New Year's Resolution?

What is the best way for a beginner to kick off their new year's resolution? Our forum members put their collective knowledge together for beginners with resolutions and tips to keep them going.

TOPIC: What Is The Best Way For A Beginner To Kick Off Their New Year's Resolution?

The Question:

We all know that many people have claimed they want to lose weight, be healthier, build a better physique, etc., but actions speak louder than words. Now that we've decided what we want to achieve this year it's time we take action.

What is the best way for a beginner to kick off their New Year's resolution?

What is the best training environment for this person to start their New Year off with (home, commercial gym, etc.)? Why?

The first time in a gym can be nerve-racking for anyone. What should a beginner do to settle in and feel comfortable in the gym environment?

What are some diet tips they can use to get them eating healthy without being turned off?

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1st Place - Blink41
View This Author's BodySpace Here.


So you want to build a better physique and live a healthier life; good for you. But, what was your new years resolution last year, was it the same? If so, did you actually go achieve your new year's resolution or did you wait for the next year.

If you actually reached your goals, then congratulations to you. If you are like many, then you probably didn't. Chances are if you are reading this article, you probably need a little jump start to kick you into the gym. So, without wasting anymore time, let's get started.

Kick Off The New Year
What Is The Best Way For A Beginner To Kick Off Their New Year's Resolution?

The best way to kick off your new year's resolution is to actually go through with the first step. It can be absolutely nerve racking to first step into the gym, seeing all those muscular people and wondering what they are thinking about you.

Those glares that you will be getting when you first step into the gym will not be those "I'm laughing at you" glares, but they will be glares of respect. They respect your guts to first step into the gym and they also respect you because you are honoring your new year's resolution, unlike many people.

Here are some rules you should always follow if you want to live a better healthier life.


    This is probably the number one reason why beginners fail to reach their resolution. Living a healthier life starts one day at a time; you will not have an amazing physique in a week, a month or even a year. However, you will have an improved physique as each day passes, but not the physique you have in mind. You must understand that it takes time and determination to achieve success.


    You must have a passion for living a healthier life. You will not go anywhere if you lack determination in your resolution. A strong determination will help you through all those days you are at the gym, on the treadmill, or on the dinner table when you finally decide to eat healthier.

    Sure you might feel like you are pumped for the gym and ready to complete your resolution today, but will you still have the same drive one year from now?


    The old saying "Knowledge is power" has never proved more true. In order to see results, you must know what you are doing. There are two simple solutions to this. The first solution is easier; get a personal trainer.

    A personal trainer can show you all the things you should eat and all the things you should do in the gym. However, a personal trainer can be quite costly. A cheaper and smarter solution is to finish reading this article; because I will tell you all the things the trainer will tell you and more for free.

Should Personal Trainers Be Dispensing Nutrition Advice? Should Personal Trainers Be Dispensing Nutrition Advice? Who is the most educated when it comes to providing nutritional advice? Personal Trainers, Sport Nutritionists? Get answers to that and more right here!
[ Click here to learn more. ]


    You must be ready to drive to the gym 5-6 times per week, for a long time. You must alter you schedule to find time for the gym. It might seem difficult at first, but you will learn to love the gym and more importantly, love your body.

    Not only will you look and feel better than ever, you will live longer and happier than you ever thought possible. These benefits are all achieved if you are consistent, never missing a day in the gym and not cheating on you diets.

Trial & Error:

    So you read a muscle and fitness magazine and find a routine that guarantees you 5lbs of muscle in a month. You try it and it doesn't work. Why? The reason why it doesn't work is because every body is different. Each one responds in a different way.

    What works for others might not work for you. The only way to really determine what works for you is to try it for yourself. If you don't see only results, maybe that routine isn't right for you. Keep searching and I guarantee you will find the perfect routine for you.

Enjoyable Exercises:

    During your workouts, choose enjoyable exercises. If you don't like to do chest flies, simply do alternatives like standing cable crosses or chest dips. If you don't like running the treadmill for cardio, simply go play football or basketball to burn those calories.

    If you force yourself to do exercises that you despise, chances are that you will quit and break your new year's resolution. Concentrate on the exercises you enjoy doing and find alternatives to the ones you don't like doing.

Smith Machine:

    As a beginner, familiarize yourself with the smith machine before you start to use barbell. The smith machine is a machine in which you can latch the bar to the machine just by rolling your hands. It is very safe and you don't really need a spotter's help.

    Asking for a spot can be embarrassing if you can only bench the bar. By using this machine, you can develop good form on your big three lifts â€" bench, squat, and deadlift. As you become more experienced, start experimenting with the barbell and with dumbbells.

Improving The Big Three! Improving The Big Three!
In the following series of articles I have discussed some of the most effective way of improving these lifts. However, this article is going to be a little different than previous articles you may have read.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Take A Tour Of The Gym First:

    Before you sign up at the gym, ask the salesman to give you a tour of the place first. Decide if you like the environment and the type of people there before you sign the contract. Notice if the gym is clean or messy and if the weights are in good shape or not. Most importantly, you must know where each machine is first before you start your first workout. Knowing the area might make you feel more at home and therefore safer.


    Comparing yourself to those senior members will often discourage you. They are bigger than you because they have lots more experience and knowledge than you. That does not mean that they are better than you, because you will develop those muscles in due time. Comparing yourself to others often result in animosity as well. You don't want to start an argument with anybody in the gym. Instead, try to make as many friends as you can.


    I would say that Bodybuilding.com is a more essential supplement than protein itself. I say that because the site provides tons of information for regular people like you and me about the sport of bodybuilding for free.

    If you feel like you don't understand something about this sport, feel free to post a question so senior members can answer it for you. Keep searching the forums and reading the articles for all the information you need, the information that personal trainers won't give you for free.


    People at the gym are usually friendly and knowledgeable. If somebody gives you advice on working out, take it into consideration. Don't just jump to the conclusion that he is trying to make fun of you, because he is actually trying to help you.

    They can see if you are doing an exercise with bad form and tell you about it before you get injured. As a general rule of thumb, when I was a beginner, I would shut my mouth and open up my ears. To this day, that rule has not failed me yet.

Busy Hours:

    Busy hours are the absolute worst time to have a serious intense workout. The machines are always taken up by a group of friends and the weights are always gone. To avoid busy hours, you must first know the busy hours are. Usually, they are at night, around 7pm and after.

    If you can, go between 12 p.m.-5 p.m. because usually there are fewer people. A loud noisy environment can be very scary for a beginner and might make you not want to come back.

The Diet

Living a healthier life doesn't only involve going to the gym, but it also involves eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones. This can be hard for some people because they are so used to eating junk food that they eat it subconsciously. Here's a list of all the healthy snacks and the unhealthy snacks.

Healthy Snacks:

  • Whole grain crackers with some cheese.
  • Whole grain bagel/bread with some peanut butter.
  • A Granola Bar with 1 cup of low fat milk.
  • Cottage Cheese.
  • Low Fat Yogurt.
  • Whole Grain, low-fat muffins.
  • Dry cereal with some dry fruit.
  • Here's a list of the top 10 unhealthy snacks that we should avoid (from askmen.com)

    1. Deep fried Mars Bar
    2. Potato Chips
    3. Ben and Jerry's Peanut Putter Ice Cream
    4. Big Mac
    5. Pork Skin (I know, disgusting)
    6. French Fries
    7. 1 chicken thigh from KFC
    8. Starbucks Frappuccino
    9. Nacho with cheese
    10. Krispy Kreme Doughnut

    For additional information, please visit www.askmen.com.

Have Fun

Don't think of getting healthy as a boring day-by-day chore. If you think of it like that, you might quit after a week or you will lack the intensity you need in the gym.

Getting healthy doesn't need to be all about tiring trips to the gym and eating bland food, but it can be about making friends and feeling really good. Working out can give you a natural high feeling if you give it a chance. Working out has been scientifically proven to release large amounts of endorphins, a happy hormone, giving you that natural high feeling.

Training Environment
What Is The Best Training Environment For This Person To Start Their New Year Off With (Home, Commercial Gym, Etc.)? Why?

I say the best training environment for a beginner to start their New Year's resolution would be to join a gym, hands down. Let's look at the pros and cons of each:



      Joining the gym gives you additional motivation and additional tips from fellow gym members. You feel like you are in the proper environment to start getting healthy. The gym has all the machines you will ever need and the environment is usually clean.


      The bad thing about joining the gym as a beginner is obviously because you feel scared and nervous. Joining the gym when you are so unfit is nerve racking, believe me, I know. Another con about joining the gym is that it can get pricey. It is expensive if you buy a month to month membership, so buy a year's membership if you believe you have the dedication.

Home Gym:


      A home gym gives you the privacy of working out in your own home. Another pro is that you don't need to drive all the way to they gym and back, the machine is already in your house.


      A common misconception is that a home gym is actually cheaper than membership at the gym. A typical year membership to a regular gym usually costs around 300 dollars a year. A typical home gym costs about 1000 dollars, with weights being an additional 150-300 dollars.

      A five year subscription costs around 1200 dollars in a typical gym. Do the math, you will only start to save money after the fifth year of owning your machine, assuming the machine doesn't break or you get bored of it.

      Another huge con is that you might seriously injure yourself when benching or doing other heavy exercises. If you don't think you need a spotter and go for ten reps and fail, you might end up at the hospital because there is nobody around to lift the weight off your chest.

      If you plan on purchasing the crossbar or the Bow Flex, don't bother. Personally, I think they are a bad choice because they never worked for me. I felt unmotivated in my dark dirty basement and stopped using it after a few months.

Fancy Machines Seen On Television:


      Cheap and Easy to use.


      They don't work. They use your own bodyweight as resistance. The machines break easily and you will start to get bored with the machine in only a few weeks, if not a month. However, this is simply my opinion. See trail and error rule above.


    The best environment to begin your resolution is in the gym. The gym is highly motivating and you have the opportunity to meet new people there. You could ask them for advice and/or compare your routine to see which ones work better. There are a variety of machines there and you will probably never get bored. Some gyms actually have basketball courts and swimming pools.

Feeling Comfortable
The First Time In A Gym Can Be Nerve-Racking For Anyone. What Should A Beginner Do To Settle In & Feel Comfortable In The Gym Environment?

I remember my first time stepping into a gym, I felt terrified. I quickly hid in the dark corner just watching what the senior members were doing. I was in shock at how much they could lift and how healthy these people looked. If I could do it again, I would definitely make some changes.

Go With A Workout Partner / Friend:

Ask If You Need Help:

    Don't be shy when you are at the gym. The people around you WILL help you if you ask them. Don't just think that you are doing the exercise with good form; know that you are doing it with good form. Ask somebody that looks like they know what they are doing or maybe even a trainer off duty.

    Even if you don't really need help, just make some friends with the people at the gym. Many times they will help you out and teach you a thing or two.

Having A Routine:

    Don't go to the gym without a routine. You must first know what you are going to do before you step foot into the gym. Here's a very basic routine beginners should follow:

    Basic Beginner Routine:

    • Monday: Upper body (Push and Pull)
    • Tuesday: Rest
    • Wednesday: Cardio
    • Thursday: Lower Body (Push and Pull)
    • Friday: Rest
    • Saturday: Cardio
    • Sunday: Cardio

Being Prepared:

    Make sure you have the proper equipment before you go to the gym. Here are some of the essentials:

    Proper Attire:

      Bring shoes that you are comfortable working out in. Don't wear casual shoes with a pair of jeans. Bring some mesh shorts with some basketball shoes along with a thick white T-shirt. Also, bring a jacket in case it gets cold outside.


      If you forget your gloves, your workout will suffer because you won't lift to muscle soreness, you'll lift until intense hand pain. Gyms usually sell gloves, but they're far too expensive. Buy workout gloves around 10-15 dollars, you don't need anything fancy.

      View Lifting Gloves Sorted By Price Here.



      Nobody wants to lie down on a bench, covered in somebody else's sweat. Wipe off your sweat and unfortunately the sweat of others when you are using the equipment.

    iPod / Mp3 player:

      Sometimes, the music they play at the gym is not motivating enough. They might play Pop music when you need heavy metal. Unfortunately, you cannot change the station because maybe somebody else likes the current station. The best solution is to simply bring your iPod or mp3 player with you to the gym. I recommend buying an iPod sport arm band for your iPod so it doesn't drop or get into your way.

    Water Bottle:

      Intense workouts require lots of water. Instead of wasting time and precious energy by fetching water from the water fountain every 5 minutes, bring a water bottle. I'm not talking about those tiny 20 oz. bottles, I'm talking about those 1 liter bottles or those 1 gallon bottles. Keeping hydrated is extremely important.

    Energy Drink?

      This is optional because some people can do just as good without. I recommend consuming energy drinks only when you know you don't have enough energy for that day. Continuous consuming will dull the effects of the energy drink. However, energy drinks can get quite costly at times.

      As an alternative, consume your multivitamin before you go to the gym for additional energy. A good effective cheap multivitamin is Centrum Performance. It can be found at your local drug store or at Costco for about $20.

Diet Tips
What Are Some Diet Tips They Can Use To Get Them Eating Healthy Without Being Turned Off?

  1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Try to aim for 10
  2. Cut down on soda, chips, candy, beer and other junk food
  3. Avoid fast food as they are very unhealthy
  4. Eat more healthy home cooked meals
  5. Avoid excess condiments like mayonnaise on foods
  6. Consume 15 times your bodyweight in calories to maintain weight. Ex: 100-pound man would consume 1500 calories


  1. Consume at least 1 gram of protein per body pound. If looking to add muscle, consume 1.5-2 grams per pound

Weight Gain

  1. Eat 5 servings of fruit a day to maintain high fiber
  2. Instead of 3 large meals, consume 5 small-medium sized meal spaced at the interval of 2-3 hour
  3. Consume 1 multivitamin daily

Above are ten tips to help you eat healthier. However, do not force yourself to uphold all ten immediately. Try to get used to the first tip during the first week and then progress to the second tip during the second week, remembering the first tip still.

By the tenth week into your journey, you should have all ten tips remembered and done. Nobody can stop all bad habits cold turkey. These tips, with the aid of a good routine, will help you reach your New Year's resolution in due time.

Habits: Your Month-Long Guide To Change. Habits: Your Month-Long Guide To Change.
Here is a four week strategy plan I've put together that you can use to pick up or break a habit. It will ease you in and make you feel more comfortable. Read on and learn more about this strategy!
[ Click here to learn more. ]

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.


With hard work, determination and the information found on this article, your New Year's resolution can be a reality. Knowledge is power in this sport. A smart healthy diet alongside a good routine will give you the body of your dreams. However, this ideal body takes time to achieve and cannot be achieved in a matter of months, depending on how YOU view an ideal body to look like. It's not rocket science; it's simply a matter of consistency. Good luck on you journey and may you enjoy your new and improved body.

Thank you for reading my article. If you have any questions on this or any other of my articles, feel free to contact me on bodybuilding.com at Blink41. Thank you again.

"A Journey Of A Thousand Miles
Must Begin With A Single Step."
â€"Lao Tzu

2nd Place - lionelxxl
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

We all know that many people have claimed they want to lose weight, be healthier, build a better physique, etc., but actions speak louder than words. Now that we've decided what we want to achieve this year it's time we take action.

But at the back of your mind, are there thoughts about 'What makes this year so different from the rest?' and 'How can I make sure I actually succeed in doing what I set out to do instead of failing and going back to square one?' Let us take a look at how best one can go about kick starting a whole new chapter in his/her life and make a change, for sure this time.

Kicking Off The New Year
What Is The Best Way For A Beginner To Kick Off Their New Year's Resolution?

Somebody just starting out with a weight program and a healthier diet would most probably have several questions and problems along the way without proper guidance.

That said, several would drop out almost after a few days/weeks after seeing the immense amount of information available in magazines, newspapers, websites and on TV. Coupled with the fact that there are also several conflicting pieces of advice from different people, this makes things much more confusing.

A good example would be cardio. ABCfitness.com may say that doing it at 65% of your Max Heart Rate (MHR) upon waking up everyday would be a good way to burn fat but XYZscience and health magazine may preach otherwise with scientific journals to back it up at that.

Enter Your Age
Max Heart Rate
65% Max Heart Rate

I have not even scraped the tip of the iceberg with the amount of information available today. The key here is to know what is important, what is backed up with a good amount of studies and filtering the good advice from the bad.

Let me now go through what I feel would be excellent tips in helping a beginner start on a good program (weights/diet/healthy living) and to stick to it.


    OK, so you have made the decision to live healthier, get your 6-pack ready for this year's summer etc. But what makes you so sure that you will be able to stick to your resolution and not veer off course like all the previous years?

    One thing a beginner has to know is that like everything, there is a learning curve. The one present in healthy living is a slightly steeper one but nonetheless extremely conquerable. So do yourself a favor by not letting ANYTHING, nothing at all, stop you this time.

    The fact that you're reading this article means you care about it and you want it. I will continue listing tips that would help beginners see things much clearer and lessen the learning period needed. I will repeat this again, consistency and determination in your resolution and sticking to a program would win you half the war.


    There are tons of information everywhere. With the internet as an example, fitness/bodybuilding websites are sprouting up everywhere. That said, information about issues like chest training 101 or 6 meals per day keeps you lean are easily attainable.

    However, one must be extremely subjective when the read and digest these pieces of information. Special care must be taken to avoid believing every single word somebody writes without any prior knowledge of his qualification and/or training experience. True, certification doesn't make or break one's credibility of being a contributor to this industry but having one would be a plus point.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Ronnie Coleman.
View More Pics From The 2005 Olympia Here.

    However, the most important aspect of a writer's credibility in my opinion is his training experience, both on his own or with clients, and his ability to back up what he says when questioned. A good writer is able to back up his points both scientifically and with substantial amount of 'on the ground' experience from clients or fellow bodybuilders in the gym.

    A good starting point for beginners would be the Bodybuilding.com SUPERSITE. The SEARCH button at the top right hand corner of the page should be most beginners' best friend. Type anything you would like to find out more about in the search column and the search engine would churn out several excellent matches of articles that may aid you in your quest for knowledge.

    Another excellent link on the site is the Topic Of The Week and Workout Of The Week pages. These 2 pages are heaven sent for beginners as they contain several commonly asked questions like What Supplements Are Best For Sports Athletes or What Is The Best Mass Building Workout For Skinny Beginners. The information on Bodybuilding.com should quench your thirst for knowledge and put you in very good stead, information wise.

Topic Of The Week. Topic Of The Week.
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Workout Of The Week. Workout Of The Week.
Welcome to the workout of the week. Where we will be choosing new winners each week.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Speak To Experienced Lifters/Trainers:

    Words coming from somebody's mouth sometimes just hits you that much clearer and simpler than something you read in the latest fitness journals. Speaking to somebody face to face is excellent for beginners struggling to grasp basic concepts that may not seem so clear in articles.

    Having somebody actually teach you the correct techniques of exercising cuts down time needed to learn these exercises by a lot. This beats looking at pictures in magazines or online or stationary models TRYING to teach you how an exercise is performed.

    Beginners may be intimidated by the huge buff guys in the gym to approach them to ask for advice. So what I suggest is to accompany a buddy who works out and has done so for a good number of years and has a fair physique to boot or the gym's friendliest looking trainer (lol).

    Ask them questions you may not be clear about after reading it elsewhere if you'd like or get them to show you things like exercising safely.

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Watch Jim and Josh cover everything a lifter needs to know about the exercises ranging from how to properly perform the exercise, injury prevention tips, what muscle groups are worked, what kind of athlete it will benefit and much more.
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Watch & Experiment:

    Before I elaborate on this, watching somebody performing a lift is not a replacement for my point above, actually speaking to them and getting tips from them. With that said, watching and experimenting is an awesome complement to speaking to people.

    Watch the bigger more muscular guys in the gym and how they go about with their routines and exercises. A point to take note, how Lifter A may do an exercise MAY not be similar to how Lifter B does his. This is where experimenting comes into place.

    With the prior knowledge that ALL lifting should be done in a CONTROLLED MANNER, you may try and duplicate LIFTER A's form with a light weight and then Lifter B's. Now, ask yourself which one exercise did you feel targeted the muscle more? That is how one can pick up little tips and tricks just by watching.

Engage A Personal Trainer Or Online Trainer:

    This is something I highly recommend but is not compulsory. Having a reputable trainer (make sure you do your research prior to making a decision and find out as much details about him/her as possible) by your side bringing you through the learning process of all the dieting strategies, workout routines and cardio plans is very helpful.

    These people take the question marks out of any routine or query you may have and are there guiding you through every step. Trainer are the most beneficial to a beginner as they are qualified, they are obliged to answer your questions, you're paying them so it helps you to want to stick to the plan; they answer most queries within a day and they can be tremendous confidants/counselors if need be!


    This point I'm about to bring up will be a crucial plus point in helping beginners stay on their resolution. What I mean by accountability is to be able to be responsible for whatever decision you make during the course of your quest for a fitter, healthier you.

    This may be done by entering a Transformation Contest or something similar that is one several magazines/newspapers/online forums. These contests usually look for people to take part in to see who has the most remarkable transformation (putting on muscle or losing weight) within a fixed amount of time.

    BodySpace 2007 Transformation Contest
    Create your profile, start a BodyBlog, meet others with similar goals, upload photos, and share effective workout diet and supplement programs with others - quickly and easily!
    [ Click here to learn more. ]

    Another way is to make a small wager or something like that with your boss/colleagues/family that you will be able to lose/gain X number of lbs by a certain time. This may also be done with an event in mind.

    Say your best friends wedding in 3 months time or a high school gathering and you want to look your all time best. Having such events that 'lock' you down to something would make you think twice about quitting or half @ssing a workout or cheating on a diet. They hold you accountable to your actions and also serve as encouragement for you on your journey. Imagine the number of people who would be gawking at your insane physique after one such a wager or bet you made.

Training Environment
What Is The Best Training Environment For This Person To Start Their New Year Off With (Home, Commercial Gym, Etc.)? Why?

The best training environment is one that is the most conducive and comfortable to the person. A good start may be at home or at the nearby park where the absence of heavy metal equipment and ego filled buff guys may not be so intimidating.

One may start off with simple exercises like bodyweight pushups or sit-ups and even go on to sprints/bleachers in these areas. These exercises are excellent in helping you build a mind-muscle-connection with the muscle group you're working, aiding you in future more advanced exercises in the gym.

A more challenging workout may be a circuit one which comprises of a few bodyweight exercises and sprints or long-distance running. These military like training would put you in shape in the shortest possible time and help you build up a good conditioning level for future workouts.

But, beginners must realize the fact that such exercises would only help THAT much and going to a gym and actually doing resistance exercises like squats or bench presses are much more helpful.

What I would suggest is to look up simple bodyweight exercises one can do without complicated equipment and together with jogging/running, carry this out 3-4 times a week for a month. This would put you in relatively good shape for the gym sessions that will follow.

Feeling Comfortable
The First Time In A Gym Can Be Nerve-Racking For Anyone. What Should A Beginner Do To Settle In & Feel Comfortable In The Gym Environment?

The first visit to the gym would most probably see you people watching and dancing around from station to station. Reading the instructions on the machines and just trying them out, getting a feel of it. This is perfectly fine. Actually, I'd recommend EVERY beginner to do it.

Quite a number of people are afraid of being looked or laughed at or called a newbie (but hey, everybody has to start somewhere right?). Don't be! Know that you're going there to learn and embrace the fact that you have the chance to step into a gym.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Dexter Jackson At The 2004 San Francisco Pro.

Take in as much as you can in your first few visits, be it things like how somebody psyches himself up for a big lift, how another sways and cheats his side laterals up. The gym is something foreign to you and strange at the same time, so take some time to get used to the environment and people.

Here are a few pointers I think may help with that first few visits:

  • Go with a friend, it'll help with the questions and keep you at ease with somebody to talk to
  • Get a tour of the gym from the trainer or manager about its facilities and machines/free weights
  • Do your homework before going to the gym so you wouldn't be appalled if you see somebody grunting during a set of squats or throwing 150lb dumbbells around on the gym floor
  • Read up on proper gym etiquette (you may check with the gym's management if there are any specific set of rules pertaining to your gym) to ensure a fun and purpose filled trip to the gym
  • Ask questions if you must but do not pass off as a prick and ask every single question that comes to your mind and keep the other person from working out.

I hope the points above would help in the acclimatization process. Once you get used to it, it'll be your second home. Trust me on that.

Diet Tips
What Are Some Diet Tips They Can Use To Get Them Eating Healthy Without Being Turned Off?

I will not go into diet strategies of the pros or anything here. We'll leave things like carb cycling and ketogenic diets for another chapter, but what I'll list here are BASIC diet tips for beginners that are extremely useful and easy to employ and follow with minimal, if any, cost incurred.

  • Decrease consumption of junk food by 1/2 - 1/4. If you can cut it out completely, by all means, do. But I would rather you slowly weed out these nasties than cut them all out at once and suffer and go on a binge.
  • Drink MORE than 8 glasses of water per day and replace sodas with diet sodas and water. Either way, keep diet sodas down if possible and remember, water is your friend. It helps with the detoxification processes in your body, keeps you hydrated and fills you among many other benefits. A good way to monitor water intake is a good number of visits to the loo and clear/pale yellow colored urine.
  • Decrease number of times you eat out and increase the amount of packed food prepared before hand from home. Home cooked food is far from bland especially with the right herbs and condiments.
  • Decrease the amount of junk food you have in your refrigerators and cupboards. Just having them in there would increase the possibility of eating them.
  • Decrease your meal size by 1/2 - 1/4 and increase the number of meals per day. Eating smaller but more frequent meals speed up metabolism and discourages big meals which do no help. A good start would be 4-6 meals a day with a 3-4 hour difference between meals.
  • If you must eat not-so-healthy meals, it'll be good if you could have them after a workout/cardio session.
  • Eat most of your carbohydrates in the day and around your workout and subsequently decrease them as the day goes by, consuming the least amount or no carbohydrates at all in your last meal before bed.
  • Consume as little processed foods as possible. Processed foods go through several extraction/filtration processes that weed the nutrients and good vitamins/minerals from the food.
  • Consume a serving of vegetable/fruit with every meal and keep fiber intake up.


With all the tips and pointers above, I hope I was able to provide beginners with a good START to their plan. Something to actually know and have to embark on their program and to help them, most importantly, stick to it. Good luck to all and thank you for reading!

3rd Place - TinyMan
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Kicking Off The New Year
What Is The Best Way For A Beginner To Kick Off Their New Year's Resolution?

With the year 2007 just starting, every year it is the popular time to begin the new resolutions: lose some weight, tone up, building muscle, or going for the next new promotion in the company. However, for many of us who are just starting in the gym, there are some ways to make the process go smoothly, and some ways that are just asking for problems.

Every year at about this time, the experienced members of the gym roll their eyes as "the fresh crowd" crowds into the gym, and smirk two weeks later as the numbers drop just as fast as they rise. In this article, hopefully the reader will gain some tips on how to avoid being one of the many who just get nowhere fast.

We all start out, continue, and finish with goals. Those goals are divided into two categories: the short-term, and the long-term.

A real long-term goal may be 2 years, 4 years, or even more years down the road; it is a finishing point for what we set out to achieve.

A short-term goal may only be a weekly goal, or a monthly goal. Even though a month may seem like a long time, working in the gym has a longer timeline than most of our other activities. When building a house, you would not want to try erecting it all in a day; similarly, building the body and soul in the gym doesn't happen in a day, a week, or even a month.

Bear this simple tip in mind: don't over exaggerate your goals. Losing a pound in a week may be reasonable, but losing five pounds in a week is a bad idea for more than one reason (depriving the body of nutrients, and the undue stress, just to name a couple).

By doing some simple research and choosing reasonable goals, it helps to keep the motivation up, as you are able to put check marks by the small, manageable goals towards the end result; the body you want. Building muscle is the same way; nobody is going to become Arnold Schwarzenegger in a day, a month, or a year. However, given a year or two, you will probably be more impressed with your looks than you expected.

Training Environment
What Is The Best Training Environment For This Person To Start Their New Year Off With (Home, Commercial Gym, Etc.)? Why?

I do encourage people to start in a commercial gym, for a few reasons. The primary reason is simply safety; when you are at home, it is possible to trap yourself under a piece of equipment and be unable to get out (it has happened, and the results can be fatal).

Which Is More Beneficial: Training At Home Or Training In The Gym? Training At Home Or Training In The Gym?
Many people enjoy the privacy of training in their own home gym. There is no wait to use a machine and they can play whatever music they want- and it's open 24/7. But some enjoy the social atmosphere and variety at a gym.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

When around other people, if you get into a tight spot, there is someone who can assist to get the weight off of you, such as pulling off an Olympic bar off your chest if you fail; a situation we are all familiar with.

A second reason is for the experienced people. Among the good and the bad, there are the few individuals who are genuinely interested in you meeting your goals, and when they know you are doing something incorrectly (such as bad form), will approach you and try to help you correct it.

It is vital to start off with the correct way to exercise before adding the weight, and will make all the difference! Should you be lucky enough to get the offer to workout with someone who really has experience and is sensible, I encourage you to do so.

There is also going to be bad advice mixed with the good, so do what would be sensible to you; often it is easy to tell what bad advice is simply by considering how reasonable the advice seems.

Finally, there is always the motivation. When you're at home, you have nobody to compare and aspire to look like, and many times the only visual models we see are professional athletes and bodybuilders. Quite frankly, these are often poor models to use, as we will never truly achieve the level that they are at, and the goals seem so far off in the distance.

Setting your goals to someone at the gym is far closer to home, and loses the disconnected feeling. And worst comes to worst, you can always ask what worked for them!

Feeling Comfortable
The First Time In A Gym Can Be Nerve-Racking For Anyone. What Should A Beginner Do To Settle In & Feel Comfortable In The Gym Environment?

As a personal opinion, my biggest tip would be to avoid the 'rush hours' of the gym. Usually between about 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. are the busiest times in a gym, where everyone wants to get through their cardio, and the gym floor is packed.

Unfortunately, between just two or three people acting rudely or being disrespectful of others (talking on cell phones, hogging equipment), the gym experience can be unpleasant for everyone at the gym. Compound that with the heat, sweat, and noise, and it's enough to spin a gym addict's head, let alone a beginner's.

Cell Phone
Click Image To Enlarge.
Very Disrespectful.

Instead, pick a quieter time. Go at 3 p.m. before everyone gets there, or go later at night around 8 p.m. Generally there will be fewer people (including those ever-popular people who are going to crash and burn!), and it's less overwhelming to start with.

On your first day, I suggest that you don't even work out at the gym. Take a walking tour of the gym, find some weights and machines for you to use (have a list of exercises you need to do), and match your exercises with the equipment. By doing this, you won't just walk into the gym and be lost on what to use. There is an imbued sense of confidence of knowing what you're going to do, what you're going to use, and how to do it; a battle plan for the gym, of sorts.

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If all else fails, remember that you are going to be virtually exposed to a sea of knowledge and experience. Find someone who is doing an exercise you are interested in learning, and ask if they would have a moment to show you how to do it, when they finish. The worst they can say is no, and everyone has been a beginner before; it's not a feeling that leaves easily.

A workout partner is a great idea to have, and if they are experienced, even better! Working out with a friend is a good idea, just make sure that he or she is a reliable and dedicated person, and that you spend more time in the gym working than talking (don't be the 'chatters' at the gym!).

Diet Tips
What Are Some Diet Tips They Can Use To Get Them Eating Healthy Without Being Turned Off?

Time and time again, I see the classical failure in the diet. There are two things people do, and both are equally dangerous to your goals. The first is the more obvious one, and that is not to concentrate on the diet.

To make a good effort at the gym, I stress a regular, reasonable diet. This means no excessive weight loss, gain, or trying to make enormous changes within a week. However, many go to the gym, work as hard as they can there, and forget to put the same amount of effort when they are out of gym. Without a solid diet, the results won't come.

However, increasingly I see a more concerning aspect: over analysis. Example: If you ask yourself or others how many peanuts you may eat (I have been asked if it was alright to eat a single peanut), or whether it is alright to go out with friends instead of eating every two hours, it may be time to reconsider how important your diet is.

The gym is an activity, and I sincerely hope it will be a life-long pursuit, however the gym should not override the rest of your life. The results you gain are yours and being proud of them is a right earned, but when it interferes with normal everyday life, the diet has gone too far.

Lastly, healthy eating does not necessarily mean that you only eat the absolute healthiest foods, and I do not encourage making drastic changes to the diet, especially to start with. Your first month's goal may be to cut out eating frozen foods (the bane of all dieters), or to stop drinking soda. Two reasonable goals which allow you to get accustomed to not having them anymore.

Set the sights high, but keep the steps moderate; by taking smaller steps at a time, you'll find yourself progressing far faster than you would by leaps.

Additionally, your diet can (and I believe should) allow for you to have indulgent foods once in a while, typically called a 'cheat meal'; many people have them weekly. These meals aren't a breakdown of will, they are the enjoying of foods we like, and helps to keep us sane through the rest of the diet. The variety of foods in the world is absolutely stunning, and depriving ourselves entirely of them is a rather bleak existence.

Keep everything in moderation, and enjoy the journey to the results; rather than suffering the existence merely to meet the goal. In the end, if the time spent in the gym while following a regular diet was a drag (a pain, or just pure agony), then was it really worth it for that ultimate physique?

I encourage anyone to start with the small steps towards their goals, instead of trying to take a running leap over a cliff side. You will be more pleased with the results!

3rd Place - NoNameNecessary
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

We all know that many people have claimed they want to lose weight, be healthier, build a better physique, etc., but actions speak louder than words. Now that we've decided what we want to achieve this year it's time we take action.

It's the New Year. You have decided to make a change, whether it is to lose weight, tone up, eat healthier, or quit smoking. However, many "resolutionists" may not know how to go about making these changes. Hopefully, through reading this article, some questions can be answered and you can avoid being one of those people who quit just as quick as they began.

The term "Resolution" is ugly. Resolutions are most often associated with crowded parking lots, treadmills, and lifting equipment. People who make resolutions often work towards their goals for a short while and end up quitting as quick as they started. They often end up regressing to a point where they are worse off then when they began their journey. THIS IS NOT YOU! You are dedicated and you will not allow yourself to quit.

Kicking Off The New Year
What Is The Best Way For A Beginner To Kick Off Their New Year's Resolution?

1. Setting Goals:

    Setting goals is a great way to kick things off. Giving yourself something to reach for will surely help you to begin. Make yourself a list with both short and long-term goals. Set your goals high, in a manner so that you must work towards them, but keep them reasonable. DO NOT set a goal that you know is impossible. This can lead to you becoming discouraged and may ultimately lead to you ending your pursuit of physical fitness.

2. Begin Immediately:

    DO NOT set a date for yourself, as a time when you will begin. If you are truly dedicated to change, you will not set a date for yourself. This often leads to people "pigging-out," so to speak, and may make it harder for one to begin. If you truly want to change, the time is NOW.

3. Begin Slowly:

    Going at physical fitness and health in a "gung-ho" manner is not necessarily the best. Begin dieting slowly, that is, examine your diet and realize the negative aspects of it; from there, slowly begin to remove them.

    DO NOT stop everything "cold-turkey," or all at once. Again, you could become discouraged and eventually, regress to a point worse than where you began. Also, DO NOT pick a routine that is for the advanced lifter. Chances are you will not be able to properly execute many of the movements and you may end up injuring yourself. Furthermore, they are for advanced lifters for a reason; one who is just beginning does not need a complex routine.

shoulder injury knee injury
Click Image To Enlarge.
You Don't Want To Injure Yourself.

4. Keep It Fun:

    Going to the gym can become arduous and boring. However, by keeping your activities fun, one keep themselves motivated. Look for alternatives to simply going to the gym. For cardio, play basketball, football, or your favorite sport; go for a run outdoors in the elements; go hiking, etc.

    Instead of lifting, go outside and chop some wood, work on the house, etc. The weekly routine can often become boring and by switching it up and keeping activities fun, one can remain dedicated and motivated, two keys to physical fitness.

Training Environment
What Is The Best Training Environment For This Person To Start Their New Year Off With (Home, Commercial Gym, Etc.)? Why?

A commercial gym, such as Gold's Gym or Work Out World (WOW) is the most popular choice and for good reason. These gyms contain the widest range of people, from beginners to advanced. A range such as this is an added comfort that is great for everyone, as anyone will be able to find his or her niche.

Comforts, such as this, are great for motivation. Having someone around that is at the same level can help keep you confident in yourself. On the contrary, having people that look better or worse than you can act as motivators.

Gyms, such as commercial ones, have the widest range of equipment. There is something for everyone, from the hardcore bodybuilder to the gym bunny. There will always be something there you can utilize.

I feel machines are great for beginners and these usually will not be found at your typical iron den. However, there are tons of bright, shiny machines at commercial gyms. Do not become dependent on these machines. While they are your friend in the beginning, you want to slowly venture away from them.

Safety is key. When lifting at home, one is prone to injury. We have heard the stories about people lifting at home and dropping a bar on themselves. At times, injuries such as those have been fatal. This will not occur at a crowded commercial gym. There will usually be a helping hand, if you decide to ask for a spot. If not, someone will always rush to lift a bar off the chest of someone who is struggling to push the weight upwards. If you are going to lift at home, be sure to have a spotter AT ALL TIMES.

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Feeling Comfortable
The First Time In A Gym Can Be Nerve-Racking For Anyone. What Should A Beginner Do To Settle In & Feel Comfortable In The Gym Environment?

There are many ways that a person can begin to feel comfortable in a gym environment. Below are just a few examples.

1. Join With A Friend:

    Joining with a friend can be very beneficial until one becomes accustomed to the gym environment. However, your time in the gym is not social hour. Going with a friend can have its positive sides but it can also have its negative sides. If you can avoid those negative sides, working out with a friend can be a great and useful tool.

2. Research:

    Do as much research as you can before setting foot in the gym. Being confident in your routine and your ability to perform exercises properly can help you be more comfortable in any gym setting. If you still have any questions, there are always tons of helpful people at any gym.

3. Ask Questions:

    Remember, knowledge is power. The more you know the better you can shape your routines and diets. DO NOT be afraid to ask questions. There are no stupid questions (for the most part). If you are afraid to ask a fellow gym-goer, there are many other great outlets for knowledge.

    Forums, such as the one found on bodybuilding.com, are great to find people like yourself and to have your questions answered. Trainers provide a great, hands-on method for gaining useful knowledge, though they can become expensive.

Personal Training
Click Image To Enlarge.
Ask Questions.

4. Avoid Busy Hours:

    The gym is usually most crowded when people are getting off from work (around 5-8). If possible, I suggest going to the gym when it is not crowded. A loud, crowded, and noisy gym can be startling for someone who is just beginning to work out.

5. Familiarize Yourself:

    Take a trip to the gym, prior to your first workout. Knowledge of your surroundings and where a particular piece of equipment is helpful when working out.

Diet Tips
What Are Some Diet Tips They Can Use To Get Them Eating Healthy Without Being Turned Off?

Most people know the basics behind healthy eating. Eliminating empty calories, such as regular sodas and fast-food, are basics. You can replace soda with diet soda or seltzer, two great alternatives. If you have the urge for fast food, instead of taking a trip to McDonald's, go to Saladworks, until you become accustomed to cooking your meals at home.

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Replace starchy carbohydrates with whole wheat, oats, brown rice, etc. Be sure to increase your protein intake. Some great (and common) sources of protein are chicken, fish (tuna, salmon, tilapia), steak (moderation), egg whites (yolks in moderation), and protein powders. Those are just a few examples.

There is no need to worry about advanced techniques, as this can make things too complicated. You can worry about them later on in your journey, when you become more acclimated with your lifestyle.

Below are a few diet tips that will help you begin.

1. Slow:

    Slowly reduce the amount of junk food you find in your daily diet. Work towards a healthy diet, rather than stopping "cold-turkey." People who stop "cold-turkey" can find it harder to become accustomed to eating healthier. They lose the comfort of the fatty, sugary foods that they were used to. If you do so, you may become discouraged and quit.

2. Taste:

    Making foods tasty is a great way to stay dedicated. Foods like chicken and tuna can often become boring and bland. Experiment with different, healthy recipes to spice things up a bit. A personal favorite of mine is hot sauce. Hot sauce is calorie-free and is a great way to add a bit of flavor and spice to even the most bland of dishes.

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3. Variety:

    Switch your daily menu up. Eating the same thing day in and day out will surely become boring and can lead to one's ultimate demise. Do not be afraid to add some variety to your diet. There are many different foods out there. I suggest you try them all.

4. Cheat:

    Having a cheat meal every now and again helps to keep you sane. Constantly eating healthy is hard for some of us and having a cheat meal will help you from going insane. Also, a cheat meal can prevent someone from going nuts and raiding the refrigerator and eating everything in sight.

5. Healthy Snacks:

    Be sure to keep healthy foods in the refrigerator and cabinets. Thus, if you have the urge to raid the fridge, you will find tons of healthy snacks, rather than unhealthy foods. This is a great preventative measure.

    Hopefully, this article has provided you with some information and inspiration to get you started on your journey to physical fitness, 2007! There no excuses any more, this time is your time to make a change. Be sure to stay motivated, dedicated, and have fun! Good luck everyone!

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3rd Place - HerveDuchemin
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Start The New Years Resolution Off With A Bang!!!

The whole idea behind a new years resolution (NYR) is a little funny, because the very nature of a NYR is founded with the wrong mindset. Let me explain.

When you TRULY make the choice to get in shape, you set the goal in your MIND, and it has to be backed by a BURNING desire. If you set the goal in late November or early December, and say "I'm not going to start until January 1st," you are really stating that you are too lazy or that your desire is not strong enough to start NOW.

You push it off and use NYR as an excuse to not start immediately. If your mindset was right, and the desire was TRUE, you would begin as SOON as possible, because you would have an ardently self-lit DESIRE FLAME UNDER YOUR BUTT which wouldn't go away, or allow you to "push off starting" your lifestyle change until January 1st.

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2006 Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler.
View More Pics From The 2006 Olympia Finals Here.

You would be DYING to wake up early to get your meals ready. You would be DYING to get into the gym early and get a head start on things. If that internal, burning motivation isn't there, then you are not in the correct mindset and are likely to fail.

If you knew that you could make 1 million dollars by working for 2 months, would you start 2 months from now, or TODAY? This being said, the BEST way to start a NYR would be as soon as the thought enters your mind, even if its BEFORE the new year! But of course, the BEST way isn't the only way.

What Is The Best Training Environment For A Beginner?

Commercial Gym.

Diet Tips

As for diet tips, there is something that must be understood about food. A large percentage of the country has absolutely no control when it comes to the foods they choose to put into their mouths.

In a mental battle between right and wrong, the mind is a funny thing, and will almost always push you toward the wrong choice. Hence, you must master your mind, and direct it to "proper" action. You must do what needs to be done in order to achieve your goals, for no other reason than "because that's just how it has to be."

You must do the right thing, "because it is the right thing to do," and because you made a conscious choice to do what is right. Then, and only then, will you be able to walk with the sheer, honest confidence that radiates from within the individual who sets inviolable standards for him or herself.

If you can maintain these standards 90% of the time, then the remaining 10% of the time where you falter, will be attributed to human error. We are not God. We are only human, and will occasionally falter as humans do. But the true test is how you pick yourself up and recover from your mistakes, as well as what your attitude is both during the recovery process, and thereafter.

Regaining Your Focus After A Day Of Indulgence. Regaining Your Focus After A Day Of Indulgence.
What happens after you have a cheat meal or cheat day where you choose to indulge in whatever food you desire? Don't stress and follow these great tips to stay on track with your training goals!
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Food can be compared to a drug. It has an effect on chemicals in our brain, and throughout our bodies, thereby affecting our mood and behavior. If we constantly make poor and unhealthy food choices, it will almost always be evident in the way our body looks, as well as in our behavior and attitude as well.

If, on the other hand, we curb our "addiction" to unhealthy food, and "train" our brains to desire to function off of healthy foods, we will look better, feel better, sleep better, and have a better mental disposition overall.

Going back to the percentage analogy, if a healthy diet is in place 90% of the time, our bodies will be properly fueled to go through life the way they were designed to, and the remaining 10% of the time will have a nearly negligible impact on us.

As with cessation of drug or alcohol use, the decision to "quit" eating unhealthy foods on a regular basis, begins in the mind. YOU have to make the conscious decision to change your eating habits, and YOU have to have a burning desire to do so, because you know that it will get you closer to your end result of having a fit-looking and healthy body.

YOU must train your mind to eat for nutrition and NOT for taste 90% of the time. And YOU must UN-train your brain to desire junk food, except for 10% of the time, where it won't matter. This is NOT an easy task, and may be even more difficult than quitting cigarettes. But the end result, is that you will change the "internal chemistry" of your body.

Eventually, you will desire only healthy, nutritious food, and so will your taste buds. Your brain will be re-wired to support eating habits conducive to maintaining a lean, healthy-looking physique.

Finally, after changing the internal chemistry of your body, the most important thing to understand is that the 10% of the time that you DO eat garbage, you will know how bad it is for you, because you will literally feel SICK to your stomach when you indulge in such foods! It may take you a while to get to this point, but once you are there, you will be forever thankful that you made the change!

Feeling Comfortable

As for feeling comfortable in the gym, it helps to get a mentor and support group and ask as many questions as possible. Use the BB.com forums, read the stickies, and post questions when you are in doubt of anything.

Myself, and many others will be happy to answer any legitimate questions you might have, and we have a lot of experts on this forum ranging from trainers, to expert contest prep people, to ketogenic diet experts! In addition, seek out people at your gym who have a good reputation amongst fellow members, and do your due diligence.

Stay informed, and your apprehensiveness will disappear!