Just started going to the gy: questions.

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1,426
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MN
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As the title states, 3 weeks ago I started going to a local gym. I didn't do it for any particular reason, although I know I need to exercise, I just decided one day off work to go sign up. Anyways, I've never been to a gym before, or worked out on my own. Well, ok, I've hit a few hotel gyms when I was bored, but that's it. I'm truly enjoying it so far, I'm using it as an excuse not to go to happy hour after work. So far, my game plan has been 30 minutes on the elliptical doing one of the "hill climb" programs. At the beginning, I struggled to do 20 minutes at 5 mph without my heart rate flying through the roof. I'm now breezing through 30 minutes at 6.5-7 mph steady. Beyond that, I spend 30-45 minutes just roaming around and using different machines. I don't know enough about using free weights to not hurt myself. The diagrams are helpful, and they seem to encourage doing the exercise in the "correct form". However, I could be wrong on this since I have no frame of reference. For the record, I'm not trying to "lose" any weight or turn into The Rock. I'm going more for health/strength training than body building. I've been attempting to go a minimum of 4 times a week, preferably 5. However, if I feel I'm going too hard I will skip a day to let my muscles heal a bit. I'm trying not to skip consecutive days, so far so good on that one. Physical stats: 30 years old 5'10, 155-158 pounds Relatively slender build, however I have been a full time auto tech for... 15 years and stay fairly active in my free time. Not hikes and bikes and all that, but active. I have a rotator cuff injury from this past Super Bowl (drinking and ice-covered driveway aprons don't mix, as such) and I've had several severe back spasms over the years. Core strength and back strengths are a definite focus. Diet is basically garbage, but at least I get home cooking now. Not really healthy home cooking, but not fast food as much. So, that being said, here's a couple questions for those on here more knowledgeable than I: 1. In general, do I have a decent plan here? Anything I should be more focused on? 2. I'm trying not to load my shoulder too much as it still gets sore at extreme loads and range of motion. Not painful, but sore. What can I do to help this area in particular? 3. This one is COMPLETELY irrelevant, but how long should I think to expect some "visible" results? I was thinking 3 months should provide some decent improvement, as long as I can keep the diet in check. It's hard to not snack during MN winters (I detest the cold, and basically hibernate). Thanks for any input! I'm kind of surprised I'm digging in with this, I've just never had the ambition to work out. Winter is a good time to start, however. I can't see myself doing 30 minutes of cardio after working in a 100 degree shop for 9 hours!
 
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259
Location
kansas
Going 4-5 days a week you could even see results within a month, at least in endurance and strength (maybe not so much appearance). One huge thing you can do is STRETCH. In any way you can, before and after working out. If you can spare a little more time maybe take a yoga class on the side. Flexibility is something that will diminish over time and starting now can make your life a lot easier into your 40s-50s-60s. All I can really say is do not overstress your injuries but focus stretching on those areas. They're probably still tender from recovery. But if something becomes super easy (and its not to your detriment) lift more, run more, work more.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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44,287
Location
New Jersey
I'll start off by saying that doing something is always better than nothing, so don't take my comments as overly negative, just my opinion. Personally, I wouldn't waste time on an elliptical. Yes, heart rate goes up, but I've never been a fan. Would prefer a brisk walk outdoors, IMO healthier in every way. Machines can be useful, and again, something is better than nothing. Certainly you can stress your muscles, and there are some movements where there's nothing better than machines. But there's a certain necessary balancing that you get from free weights. Go slow, but consider easing into other movements and getting off of machines. Stretching is key, going slow and considering how to strengthen core muscles is important. But the best thing is that you're doing something. Congrats. It's more than 75% of the population....
 
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8,806
Location
MA
Been going for years. Now I take the classes because my regular routine got boring. Usually the fitness classes are pretty intense, always covered in sweat afterwards. For your shoulder, you should try some physical therapy, but a lot of it is just specific exercises so you could look it up to see what exercises are good for shoulder injuries. There's probably about a half dozen or more you could do. You might also ask the staff for a program. You don't want to focus on one thing too much, if you build it up too much, you'll have instabilities in other muscles that you don't exercise. Usually start with large muscle groups then move to smaller ones. No real knock against elliptical, but try the treadmill. If it doesn't bother your knees, it's better overall although going outside and running is better than a treadmill. Elliptical is when you can't do the treadmill. The impact is good for bone building.
 
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2,943
Location
wi
Diet Diet Diet is key first foremost did you get that diet first limit sugar refined carbs all junk. Eat grean leafy vegetables lean meats fish healthy fats and carbs learn it. No need to drink calories you don't need to start of on shakes or anything learn to eat first. Cardio I'd do more 20 min HIIT over anything 3 days week if you want to walk the rest day ok. Lifting and lift correctly is important you seem hesitant it's normal for a beginner best advise I'd give you is find some help a trainer at the gym pay for some sessions if need be it will be worth it. Good luck long term is key not 30days 3+years and lifetime is key many quit it becomes more mental attitude long long term. Not everyday is great many are some suck but you keep moving on you learn it.
 
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4,273
Location
OK
Think of going to the gym as taking vitamin supplements rather than getting surgery. It's something you just do now.. be it 1x a week or 7x a week, but doing it regularly wards off a lot of bad stuff. You don't ever stop doing it, OR you replace it with the equivalent of outdoor activity, but never again will you go 10 days of living without some amount of exercise that is equivalent to a gym session. You don't necessarily have to hit it 110% each time you go, but simply going and doing something is the road to redemption. Don't worry about gainz -- those will come. Focus on good form and being respectable and friendly to the other people there. Make sure you rest -- be it going to the gym every other day or alternating upper/lower. Going to the gym is not surgery. It's not a one-time shot you do to fix all your previous mistakes. Doesn't work that way despite humanity's insistence that it works that way every January once those resolutions have been set. Also don't be any of the things mentioned in this article: https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/worst-people-gym-etiquette/ And buy this book to learn good form. Take the book with you to the gym and reference it until you master good form.: https://www.amazon.com/Strength-Training-Anatomy-Frederic-Delavier/dp/0736092269
 
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1,907
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NY, USA, etc.
Focus on whatever will get you to 150 minutes of cardio per week. Try to add at least two days of strength training. Your diet is going to be important. Check out my plate.gov to figure out what you need to be eating. Avoid alcohol, 1-2 drinks max. It'll help to track your BP regularly as well. I take mine at home and go to the doctor annually for the usual checkup, bloodwork, etc. These days, I just walk or bike, and own a set of 30 lb dumbbells for strength training. Keeping active is the most important thing, whether it's going to the gym, walking, gardening, etc. and also eating a proper diet.
 
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4,432
Location
Connecticut
4-6 days of heavier weights a week might work for intermediate or pro body builders, not for you and I. All you need is 3 days a week with basic weights for muscle building and tone - 30 to 45 minutes. Without adequate rest you will over-train and gain very little. Better to train properly 2X a week than someone doing it 4X to 6X a week who burns out. Your usual 3-6 exercises per workout at 1-3 sets each....at 8-15 reps depending on your goals. Bench presses, flys, seated presses, pull downs, up rows, bent rows, rowing rows, squats, leg presses, curls are some of the basics. Work bigger body parts for more body mass. Super sets combine opposing body parts that provide further stimulation....such as tricep presses combined with curls.....or leg presses combined with leg extensions. Working the muscle while the weight or bar is moving down is as important as on the way up. I've read that you need 45 seconds per set to stimulate peak muscle growth. That means 8-15 slower reps while focusing on the movement and your breathing. Those doing heavy 3-6 rep lifting on 10-20 seconds will get stronger, but not so much bigger/cut, and they have a higher risk of injury with the heavier weights. Probably can find a ton of exercise routines on line for barbel, dumb bells, machines, and just your body weight (push ups, pull ups, bar dips, lunges, etc.....in incline or decline or level modes). You can work out in a hotel room with a couple of chairs, a desk, bed, etc. Check out the Five Factor Fitness by celebrity trainer Harvey Pasternak. Common sense diet, great routines for most anyone, and it's only 25 minutes per day - 6X a week - one day off. It's not heavy weights and there is plenty of variety. You never go stale. You make gains for 3 months. Then it's time to try something different for a while. After doing heavy weight lifting for 40 yrs I tried the FFF program at age 55....and got shredded for the first time in my life while losing 10 lbs of excess fat. My conditioning was excellent. Best shape of my life....even better than what I had at 18 with my peak weight work outs. I had never seen my abs before. I did on that program. And with only 25 minutes you looked forward to it. Generally it was a 6 min cardio warmup, 12 minutes of modest weights with minimal rest between sets, then a final 6 min of cardio. Jam packed and you're huffing and puffing by the end. As I recall it was only 4 weight excercises per workout. And you did different excercises on each of the 6 days of that week. Constant muscle confusion - no staleness. Generally 2 exercises for upper body and 2 for lower body. Everything is done with lighter dumbells and/or body weight....no bars or machines needed but they be utilized easily. Not plugging buying the book....just the principles they apply. Some Libraries carry this book. A good routine should stress confusing you muscles so you never let them get used to the same thing. Routines should probably be varied every 1-4 weeks. You don't need a lot of time like an hour straight. Intensity is more important than duration. Less rest between sets aids intensity. And it's great cardio. Cardio can be as simple as walking up a hill, swim, biking, jogging for 10-15 minutes, jumping jacks, etc. In that FFF program you only need 25 minutes of cardio....which includes 15 min of intense weight training with modest weights. Most anything beyond that is just training you for endurance runs or contests. 20-30 minutes 2-3X per week is all you need. You can walk 1-2 miles the other days. Extended cardio just tears your muscles downs....right after you built up. Makes no sense. A modest mix of cardio and weight training with stretching is ideal. Too much exercise is stressful on the body as is eating too much or too often. Plenty of article and books on the subject to form your own opinion. If FFF can get you ripped and stronger with 25 min per workout in 90 days....you don't need an hour if time is precious. Intensity trumps duration. And you can recover faster from a 25 min workout than you can a 60 minute one. Hence FFF can go 6 days a weeks. Just read a muscle building article on Nutritionfacts.org. They injected proteins into trainers and actually found out when muscle was being built. They found that getting 20 gms of protein in general within 30-45 minutes of your workout built the most muscle. If you pound down a carb drink after a workout that won't do.... nor will waiting 2 hrs. Without a good quality protein at the right time with your workouts, your gains won't be very good. Pounding down hi carbs or sugars with your proteins will impede their digestion. So being smart with food is critical. Start slow with your routines. You'll figure it out in a few months. Everyone responds differently to different exercises. Do what works and feels right to you. Your shoulder injury may limit what exercises you can do. A rotator cuff could make bench presses or rows difficult....and you might restrain it. I did some heavy upright rows once and pulled my rotator cuffs (10 yrs ago). Took a year to recover fully....and I've never been quite the same since. Can't throw a ball for beans any more.
 
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4,165
Location
WA
It would do you well to make an appointment with the gyms personal trainer. A good trainer will define your goals, discuss diet, take you through a series of workouts designed to identify strengths, weaknesses and physical limitations you may have (like your shoulder). From there he/she will design both a strength training and cardio routine to help you hit those goals. When you begin that relationship you'll be able to check in regularly to make sure you're staying on track, getting the most out of your membership and not wasting your time and money. Make sure the trainer has all the requisite certs. The value of a good trainer can not be overstated...if of course you're someone not simply looking to go through the motions but rather looking to get the most out of your gym time.
 
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6,039
Location
Florida
Eat better. Sleep. Learn how to properly execute the big compound exercises. Do them. If you're worried about using weights do push-ups, lunges, pullups(gym should have a machine that can assist you to start), dips(same machine), situps, planks, etc. That will get you started. Don't focus too much time on cardio machines.
 
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2,009
Location
New York City
The most important thing is to get your heart rate pumping. Hill climbs, repeat quarter miles at speed, sprints, etc. Walking is good and lots better than nothing, but the hard and short workouts to the max are the thing to really get in shape, if that is what you want to do. My take is that you should continue to do what you are doing, stepping up the pace of the hill workout gradually over time.
 
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1,325
Location
texas
rest is equally important. if you hit a good one and your muscles are sore. allow them to rest a day or so while gently stretching and working the lactic acid from them. gently encourage blood flow through the sore muscles with light movements that flex and release them tomclear them out. your body is rebuilding stronger muscle fibers durng this time so it is just as important as the workout itself, Think of it as active rest. smile
 
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5,667
Location
Tn.
A simple up hill grade will get anyones heart pumping...walking is cheap...no rides to a gym....no fancy work out clothes, just leave the house and go walk if you can...not all of us are healthy due to age and genetics...we ride bicycles....while we still can..
 
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2,841
Location
Florida
I would take it slow the first few weeks. Do a warm up on the treadmill or bike then stretch for 5-10 minutes. I would plan for 3 days a week minimum. Shoot for 2-4 sets within a 2 month time period. The key is consistency and mixing the routine up every 2-3 months. Make sure you take some quality supplements and avoid sugar. You will also need to stretch after your workout. I would plan to see initial results after the first few months. The next period is years not months. I have been working out now consistently for 5-6 years and wouldn't have it any other way.
 
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8,876
Location
Marshfield , MA
Complained of chest pains narrowed down to a blocked artery feedingLF of heart. Stent didn't work. Choice is a by-pass or vessel dilators and LDL flush along with 3 hrs a week of cardio-machines. I'm pedalling 5miles at 80 watts for 20 minutes, My range is 78- 94 Bpm . Then I do 20mins on the treadmill @ ~ 3mph and have BPM 95-101. A bit stronger every session. I'm losing weight down to 209 from 234 and still losing weight. eat more salads, beans and fish,Oatmeal, Very occasional booze. I work hard enough to get a buzz from it. Lungs are shot from 60 yrs of smokes. Thinking of doing the south side roof of the addition. as home schooling. grin2
 
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13,970
Location
...
I had to read the thread to see what the gy was. My first thought was that the op was going to the geedunk.
 
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3,016
Location
America
Visible results will vary based on what you do and how your body responds. In any case, try to build up fitness gradually. Don't forget to warm up prior to the workout and stretch after you are done to minimize risk of injury. Whatever you do, mind your food intake. With workouts you will need proteins to rebuild muscle cells or muscle fiber depending whether you do strength training or muscle sculpting. Use vegan sources like legumes so that you are not inadvertently harming your arteries and putting yourself at a risk or stroke or heart attack.
 
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