The world is full of possibilities. But how do you start training or learn a new skill? Our experience has repeatedly shown that the first steps towards something new are always the most difficult and exciting. The initial stage will undoubtedly remain the moment in which you can gain incredible speed and determination or fail and bang your head on the question “Where did I go wrong?”. Subtlety is how to enter this adventure with confidence.
I will try to put together a personal compass that will help you achieve the physical and mental self-improvement necessary for the gym from scratch. The road is difficult, branching, and offers many opportunities. Together we will look at the suitable ones, but the choice will be yours alone. Which path you choose is entirely up to you! Let’s start!
Step 1: Set clear goals for yourself
The most important step to take before you start is to ask yourself a few questions. The first question is – what fitness and health do I want to achieve? Imagine what you want to change in your body – even if it seems impossible, imagine the best figure to strive for. Most imagine a popular person with the thought: “I will never achieve this” or they will come up with an excuse such as:
But he uses steroids, without them nothing can be achieved.
Yes, it is a fact that most celebrities have used or are using steroids, but believe me, the work and hardships they go through are what they owe their success to. Your main goal in the gym should be definite. “A man is only as big as his dreams” – don’t forget it!
According to the goal you set, find your starting point, namely: I need to lose weight, gain weight, build muscle, be durable, be strong, be athletic, etc. If you are aiming to achieve the body of Tom Holland (the actor who played the last Spider-Man movie) for example, gaining a lot of muscle mass is not necessary, the emphasis should be on good nutrition, athleticism, and acrobatics, and an overview of exercise, to achieve such a body.
Of course, every body is individual and reacts differently, but give yourself a basic idea of how to train. If you want to be a football player – don’t emphasize having big arms (biceps, triceps, and forearm) as this will hinder you during the game.
Step 2: Choose a suitable plan
Once you have an idea of what exactly your goals are, comes the planning. You plan what exactly you will train: fitness, weights, running, martial arts, etc. You choose a sport according to your goals and interests. For example, if you want to be tough, but you’re not a fan of running, start with combat sports.
It’s important to have a consistent plan and regimen. It tracks your body, how it reacts to intense training, how well it recovers, how many times a day you should eat, how much rest you need between sets, etc. Don’t change your plan, even if you feel it isn’t working. It’s quite common to have shoulder pain when benching in the beginning.
This happens because you don’t warm up or you do the exercise wrong and in most cases both. Give the body some time to adapt, and if despite the adaptation something is not right, only then make the necessary change. It takes a long time before the body adapts to the changes, I still remember my first months in the gym – they were terrible.
The volume of exercise I chose was completely correct, but I still got very tired towards the end of the workout. Over time, the problems disappeared or decreased dramatically. Of course, when you have chronic pains, illnesses, or injuries, it is necessary to consult with a specialist whether the workload in the gym is suitable for you.
Step 3: Learning the basics
In the beginning, it will be really difficult, you will be much weaker than others, and most likely you will get discouraged, you will rush and look for quick results. These problems must be resolved. Don’t look at how strong others are, don’t be influenced by social networks full of people who have trained much longer than you.
Most photos on the internet are filtered and processed and distort reality. It is necessary to look only at yourself and follow the set goals. Focus on one opponent you have to beat every day and that’s you – from yesterday. Make progress every day, even if it’s 0.1%. Progression is vital not just for sport, but for all aspects of your life.
Take things slow and focus on good execution techniques. Even if your dream is to be the ultimate powerlifter (competitor in squats, bench presses, and deadlifts), you should spend your first steps in the gym learning the basics. The better you learn the technique and fundamentals of a given sport, the better results await you in the future.
Step 4: Recovery
There were times when I worked out every day in the gym. My workouts were brutally hard, had much more volume, and ended with cardio. I wondered why I was doing 2 hours of cardio when I had already done 1 hour 30 minutes of weight training. Not to mention I was on a low-calorie diet during this period as I wanted to lose over 10kg of fat and build muscle at the same time. But this approach is not correct, as the recovery of the body is the most important component of achieving the goals in sports.
Research shows that small muscle groups recover faster than large ones. Small muscle groups, such as the biceps and the shoulder, recover in 48 hours, but it is possible to observe muscle fatigue, especially if the body is in the process of adaptation. Large muscle groups such as the chest or hamstrings require about 72 hours of recovery. It’s important to listen to your body, it may have been 2 days since your last workout but your biceps are still tired. There is no point in training a tired muscle, replace it with another muscle group that you have recovered.
This is just a small part of the necessary knowledge, I hope it will serve you and start your adventure to achieve your dream shape.
Dumke, CL, Pfaffenroth, CM, McBride, JM, McCauley, GO (2022). Recovery of perceived soreness and maximal strength after resistance exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research