Advice for Gym Noobs!

7 watchers
31 Mar
12:04pm, 31 Mar 2022
23,354 posts
  • 0
Dave A
Yes. If that's a possibility, I would take it.

If it’s a decent enough gym/sports centre they should make sure you either know what your doing, or have someone do an induction with you, to make sure your safe.

I’m sure that if you do continue then the instructors, or Katie will be able to help you with specific exercises that will target any weaknesses (not chocolate or cake I’m afraid) and anything that will help with your targets. Be it a running/swimming/cycling goal.
31 Mar
12:13pm, 31 Mar 2022
19,668 posts
  • 0
Homeless Kodo is a qualified and knowledgeable PT. He's been very helpful on our Ladies who Lift thread. His advice is always sound.

Any decent gym should give you an induction before letting you loose on the machines. As others have pointed out. It's vital the 'big' free weights exercises - the Olympic Lifts - are done with good form. But they are GREAT to do. I'm an elderly, titchy woman and I love Olympic lifts - and my coaches from the age of 52 onwards have all encouraged me to do them.

If you are really unused to weight training then definitely start low and please get someone to check your form. Katie is probably ideal! Yes goblet squats are a good start point before moving on to back squats deadlifts and the like.
31 Mar
1:00pm, 31 Mar 2022
21,882 posts
  • 0
Do what I do, find the piece of equipment with the best view, and stay there.
31 Mar
1:01pm, 31 Mar 2022
21,883 posts
  • 0
The view being, in my case, my daughter's swimming lessons, and not anything else. I'm not a grubby perve, you know.
31 Mar
1:25pm, 31 Mar 2022
11,166 posts
  • 0
Thanks for the clarification DeeGee :-)
31 Mar
11:31pm, 31 Mar 2022
1,434 posts
  • 0
Make sure that you check in with the bodybuilders by the weights and benches and let them know of any defects in their deadweight and bench press techniques.

In my experience they're always happy to receive feedback and explanations of what they're doing wrong.

You're welcome.
1 Apr
9:36am, 1 Apr 2022
18,253 posts
  • 0
"All of it, really. I would like my calves and hamstrings to be less shit. And I'd like to strengthen my arms/shoulders for swimming."

The swim bit a think I can help with, one developed a couple of exercises over the years using the adjustable weight machine, that pulls the weights in cables (no idea what it's called) so with the height set to the top and using the loop grips first stand facing the machine, arm up (*you* could do this alt arms) holding the grip, pull down, with bent elbow (like your swimming) and rotate to the side your pulling on from the hips as if you're breathing over that shoulder making sure you replicate a full stroke.

Second, face away from the machine still at max height start work arm out to the side elbow bent work have up, thrust arm forward , again rotating from the hips as if you arm thrusting into the water.

Essentially you are looking to use the same muscles you use to swim but don't so with extra resistance. What weight you use is unique to you, I'd suggest you start with minimum and see how it feels.

I tend to do sets of 15 reps X 3 doing 10 squats between sets as opposed to looking at my phone. Also I do a load of other non specific bits on the machine before moving on to free weights.

Hope that helps/makes sense
6 Apr
1:57pm, 6 Apr 2022
41,950 posts
  • 0
Lol at Mutt. Scary looking blokes (and women), but they're always really friendly if you do want to ask a question. Or so I have found.

Copy of my "advice" from comment on Fetch's blog of question on how to start.

"One thing I do to fit things in is do a different body part in the rest from another - eg if I'm doing arm curls, I do my no weight squats in the rests! Well done. I also don't change at gym - just go in gear and shower and change at home. I do light weights and higher reps, 15 or more. I wouldn't bother with PT or induction. But then, I'm arrogant! :-) G"

I agree with generally 15 or more reps and lower weights (or no weights). Just doing 20 squats with no weight, x 3 sets, 3 or more times a week, will make a difference, imho.

Core. Don't seem to be many folk talking about core - planks, side planks, sit ups (obv). There is a crunch machine too - never bothered with that. Core very useful and important for runners (presumably swimmers too?). I do all my dumb bell exercises on a wobble board because I think that helps core and balance too. Also anything single leg - squats, calf raises etc. will work your core. Anything unstable - lunges etc.

I do quite a bit of "vanity" stuff, so upper body, arms, shoulders, upper back etc. But again, if you do them with free weights, and on unstable platform and concentrate on form, I tell myself that I'm doing core and balance etc. at same time.

I also do foam roller and stretches as part of my gym routine. I think foam roller is great - like massage but free. Maybe Fetch already gets free massage with Katie being a phys pro? And I consider foam roller to have "warmed up" my muscles, so do some gentle stretches as part of that bit too.

Bit of a mish mash, but mostly works for me! :-) G
7 Apr
11:44pm, 7 Apr 2022
4,325 posts
  • 0
For the main thing is doing something you enjoy or can be consistent with.

I prefer to be in and out quickly, so do compound lifts - which basically mean multi-joint exercises rather than machines. This gets a lot done in a short amount of time. Probably best to start with no weight and build up slowly.

1. step-back lunges

These are kinder on tired or shin splinty runner legs than step forward. When adding weight, I use a kettlebell which will pull me off balance slightly (which is a good thing)

2. Over-head press. Standing, push dumbbells or kettlebells over your head. You can stand on one leg at lighter weights for some balance on lower legs.

3. Chinups

Ideally without assistance bands or counterweight. If you can't yet pull up, start at top position with a step and lower yourself for count of 4. This is a great core exercise as it works your lats and your abs work hard to stabilise your pelvis. Chinups are easier to get a full range of movement not cheat yourself (vs pull-ups)

4. Squat.
You can start with no weight, then add a kettlebell for a "goblet squat" or 2 dumbbells depending on what's available. As you get confident, you can progress to barbell squats

5. Deadlift
Like squat, you can start light and progress to barbell. Once you can lift your own bodyweight on the bar you really feel the benefits. This works almost the whole body

For barbell, I would strongly recommend getting someone to show you and coach your initial form and lifts. An excellent book is "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe - there is also a training plan of the same name that most phone gym apps will allow you to track

Unilateral work is good for runners and will stimulate the core - like high bench step ups, using one weight on one side at a time, lunges, etc. At home you can use bands of ankle strength - eversion, dorsiflexion etc

Like running, no one really cares what you look like or what you are doing - although it can feel like that at first.
8 Apr
2:55pm, 8 Apr 2022
41,991 posts
  • 0
I'd second Kieren's "enjoy" ethic too!

I *like* going to the gym. I always have. From the age of about 13 or 14 I had weights in my bedroom and used them almost every day.

As an adult, I've always been happy going to the gym. As an old man now (!), I know I'm just pootling about, but I don't care what anyone else thinks (I don't think they're even looking - I don't really look at anyone else and judge them, so I don't think they are judging me.)

When I had membership of a "nice" gym, I'd combine it with a swim, steam room and/or sauna. Now I'm at more of a warehouse, I still go anyway. For years I just used the council gym and it was fine, great actually.

When I run, I don't run with headphones, prefer to hear the outside world, nature, my surroundings. In the gym, the last think I want to be able to hear is my surroundings, so I *do* wear headphones. I listen to radio, podcasts, music and I love that too. An hour or 90 mins just listening to what I want to listen to is great - news, current affairs, education, fiction, comedy (yes, I have snorted at a News Quiz or other joke, when trying to do squats or whatever - sosumi!)

So yeah, find a way to enjoy it, fit it into your routine. Doesn't have to be big weights - in fact, as a runner/multi sport athlete, it should probably be more strength and conditioning. So stretch, roller, body weight exercises, floor exercises, balance and core. And enjoy! :-) G

Got something to say?

To join the discussion, sign in or join us.

About This Thread

Maintained by fetcheveryone
When my calf popped last October, and Katie was gently telling me for the millionth time that I might want to consider strengthening work, I was considering joining a gym. Instead, I went and did a load of biking instead until my calf got better.

Today, Katie has a swim booked at a busy pool. I was hoping to join her, but there were no spaces left. So instead, I have booked a session at the gym. If I like it, I might go a bit more often.

The trouble is, I haven't really got a clue wha...

Related Threads

  • advice
  • crosstraining
  • gyms

Track Your Exercise Reps

Press ups, sit ups, dips, squats - track it all here

The Ultra League

See the longest runs, rides, swims and walks from any given year on Fetcheveryone


Use your credits to buy and sell runners to make a profit. And 14 Fetch Virtual Badges up for grabs. Just for fun!

Are you doing the right training?

See typical mileage, pace and long run stats for every distance and goal. See a comparison with your own training.

Back To Top

Free training & racing tools for runners, cyclists, swimmers & walkers.

Fetcheveryone lets you analyse your training, find races, plot routes, chat in our forum, get advice, play games - and more! Nothing is behind a paywall, and it'll stay that way thanks to our awesome community!
Get Started
Click here to join 109,549 Fetchies!
Already a Fetchie? Sign in here