You just made it into the gym; you are pumped and ready for an explosive workout. You're wearing your favorite cut up t-shirt and sweat pants. Your iPod is exploding some hard core rap music and you pound down the last few drops of your favorite energy drink. In one hand you're carrying your special abdominal contraption and in the other you're carrying your favorite exercise magazine with this month's top workout.
Motivated by the amazing model on the cover you're psyching yourself up as you walk towards the weights. You pick up the dumbbells and secretly glance at the bodybuilder next to you and mimic his moves. When you're finished throwing up the sloppiest curls known to man, you puff up your chest and proceed to crunch away at your abdominals and run as fast as you can on a treadmill for eight minutes and call it a day.
After four weeks of doing this same ritual you eventually get bored and tired and give up. As a personal trainer and well known gym junkie I have witnessed this a dozen times. Most people usually give up after weeks of struggling with the battle of weight loss, muscle gain, or just to be a little bit healthier.
There are those who still hang around after a few weeks of trying and are very determined to look good. But certain individuals find themselves stuck in a corner of shame, guilt, fear, anger and envy. You have warped your minds and need an outlet. Your pride keeps you from asking for help, and curiosity to how others are doing it keeps you frustrated and questionable.
You don't have any money and you cannot afford a personal trainer and you would kill yourself if you got caught carrying an exercise magazine with you while training.
So what can you do when you limit yourself and isolate yourself in your gym troubles? You can always give up, quit and pretend as if you never invested half a grand on a gym contract. My purpose here is to help you find your own link and place in the gym and how you can be the creator and lose the role of being a victim.
1. Shut Up And Listen
My first tip is to shut up and listen. Humility can be very humiliating but it works. Now that I have your attention you can rest knowing that a guy on a computer is typing some suggestions that may work for you.
Here is my experience with finding my own spot in the gym. The word 'spot' is a symbol for your own notch in the continuous click in the gym. When I first started going to the gym all I ever focused on was machines and dumbbells. The reason I like working out on machines is because they come with your very own animated "how to" manual slapped on the side of the machine. Dumbbells were my next choice because everyone uses dumbbells and I believe curls are the first exercises we think of when it comes to the gym.
For the first few weeks I focused on using the machines, dumbbells and treadmills. My first split was Monday/Wednesday/Friday use machines and Tuesday/Thursday I would attempt to use the treadmill or bike. My first split after a few weeks of trying began to work. Going to the gym with a plan made my workout so much simpler and I felt better.
You can easily use my first split and incorporate it into your workout. Try to go through each exercise machine twice and try to complete 15-20 reps. Please be sure you read and understand how to use the machine before you attempt to try.
2. Be Observant
The second tip I will give you is about being observant in the gym. One of the ways we learn is through observation. As children we observed our parents and mimicked their actions, which became our own.
If you see any trainers working with a client, observe and listen to how they are training their clients, most trainers talk so loud and clear that anyone around them can pick up free tips. You will hear advice on form, reps, sets, what to look for, what this exercise is going to do for you, etc.
Also, you can observe and watch them as they perform the workout to get a glimpse on how to perform the exercise. I highly suggest you don't attempt to perform any workout you don't know how to do especially if it involves compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and presses.
3. Do Your Homework
My third tip... do your homework. A website like Bodybuilding.com offers a great variety of information on workouts. You can learn to be your own fitness guru by reading all of the articles, searching for workouts, reading success stories, and watching the free videos they offer for a particular exercise you want to learn.<.
I would try to stay away from any bodybuilding magazines because half the magazines are simply a supplement advertisement that can psych you into thinking you need a particular supplement to get the results you want. Supplements come to play when all else fails. Attempt the lifestyle before you go towards supplements - just a suggestion.
4. Keep It Simple
My fourth tip is to keep it simple. We can often make a mess out of nothing. Patience and tolerance are some words you should tell yourself every day before going into the gym.
The good old saying, "It doesn't happen overnight," is some advice you should throw out the window. Every action you chose to take today contributes to your progress in and out of the gym. Each set, rep, attempt, and thought contributes to your success.
One day at time, one step at a time... it adds up after a few weeks. Pennies add up to dollars if your patient enough. Just remember, you need to keep collecting pennies, because after five you have a nickel, then a dime, and so forth. Everything adds to your progress.
5. Use Your Imagination
My fifth and final tip for success in the gym is to use your imagination and throw out the rule book titled "Stigma." After I watched the movie 300, I was motivated to get abs and grow a beard. I read an article about the 300 workout and was inspired by the amazing results shown on the film.
I wanted to attempt the 300 workout, but I didn't have access to the right gym equipment and the current gym I was training at was the free one that came with the apartment complex. I liked the idea of the 300 workout, but my gym was crap and only had a few basic machines.
Luckily the basics included a Smith bench/squat machine, dumbbell & triceps machines, a pulldown and leg extension machine, and a shoulder press machine. This gym also contained a Step Master and a few treadmills. I loved the concept of "Gym Jones 300," so much that I incorporated the idea into my own.
I picked five machines and loaded up the weights. I performed a cycle of 1 set at 20 reps per machine. So basically it started out like this: bench press, 1 set x 20 reps; squat, 1 set x 20 reps; pulldowns, 1 set x 20 reps; biceps curl/triceps extension, 10 reps per each, for a total of 20 reps; and shoulder press, 1 set x 20 reps.
After a cycle of performing these exercises I would go back and start all over without rest; performing each exercise for a total of 3 cycles. At the end of my workout I completed a total of 3 cycles, 15 sets, and 300 reps, hence the name 300 workout. After a few weeks of doing this 300 workout and a few cardio sessions, my body fat decreased amazingly and I looked as shredded as the Spartans from the 300 movie.
If you made it to the final paragraph then you must be determined to get results and I applaud you for your determination. Finding your own spot in a gym can be very challenging, but once you lose the gym stigma, and become a creator for yourself, coming to the gym becomes less of a hassle and more of reward.
We all love to feel good and if you are leaving the gym not feeling good then take my five suggestions into consideration and keep pushing forward. Thank you and good luck.