Starting a gym can be as intimidating as walking out of your house butt naked and many times folks fall into the same newbie pitfalls that brings unsolicited attention to them, and makes it worse in the long run. Prior to going into the gym I would advise you to find a good resource whether it’s through a gym rat friend (of the same sex), online or in a fitness magazine. Read and learn a bit about gym routines, what they are made to do and structure a plan based on it – this is if you want to avoid the price (and general trial/error of scoring a good one) a personal trainer costs.
When you have your plan together, go into the gym and take it slowly and work your way up. If you have never been to a gym before, pull aside one of the monkeys working there (the border people in all black) and have them show you the proper movement for whatever it is you have on your list. Make sure to stress form over strength and work on getting the movements down before trying to go heavy. Remember form is everything and will make the difference between you breaking down muscle to have them grow back stronger and sexier or breaking down joints and muscle to where you will be on the couch nursing a sore shoulder.
The Poser and The Egotist – Trying to Impress while Looking Bad
One of the things I see quite often is the newb who didn’t do his/her homework, in the gym doing horribly bad movements assuming it’s a workout while the mainstays look on in awe. Gym people see this daily, the fat guy on the treadmill with some heavy dumbbells swinging them, the skinny old man who has too much pride to ask so he’s in front of the weights swinging the living hell out of 10lbs in some sort of flail (I assume it’s meant to work the whole upper body #rollingeyes) and the former athlete who is now fat, benching 135 lbs on the bench 20 times because that’s all he remembers from high school. Of the lot the most pathetic and annoying are the guys who come in there, see me (a guy that has been in there nightly for 7+ years) figure they are about as big as me and stack the hell out of the weights to secretly compete with me. While this makes for some good private laughs as a check out their failing from the corner of my eye, that fool will either hurt himself or give up on the gym.
The Killer Newbie – The Real Champion of The Gym
There are newbies who come into a gym silently, take a personal trainer for a bit or follow a plan and show ridiculous change. Some guys come in skinny and soft-bodied, do their weights low and follow the advice of the pros in the magazines or on websites and get their diets correct. You see them 3-4 times a week doing their thing, not trying hard to be seen by slamming the weights and putting on too much in order to look strong to nobody (seriously nobody in the gym gives a shit how much you lift outside of yourself and a few kids). They stay the course and after about 6 months or so you see a huge change in their build, their attitude and their workouts. They develop a warrior’s stride, you can tell their confidence is boosted and they begin to sow the rewards of their dedication.
The Losers – People who are out to impress instead of excel
While the killer newbie grows into a steel machine of kick ass muscle and enviable work ethic, the posers who came into the gym to impress will look the same. I see it all the time, guys who come in and out of the gym sporadically for damn near a year, always lifting super-heavy and making as much noise as possible in order to be seen, don’t look at all like they belong to a gym. Some of these losers will try to use anabolic steroids to help their cause, but their crappy work ethic and lack of education will lead to them not looking like what you imagine a roid user to look like. See unlike real roid users who bang the weights hard and supplement an awesome diet, this guy just wants to be one of them the easy way. For that you will see them beefed up for a few (a soft version of beefed up) and then a few months later they are magically small. These guys are a detriment and a stain on the canvas of fitness.
So remember education is as important as dedication when it comes to being a good gym rat and letting your body flourish from your sacrifice. It’s not about impressing equally hard-working people in the gym, it’s about impressing the fat bodies who don’t go to the gym. So do yourself a favor newbie gym-goer, have a plan, make it all business when you go there and set some goals. This will keep you out of the corner with the losers, trying to be big man on campus in a gym that will only reward those who take it seriously.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.