What to ex­pect when you start out at a gym

The Sunday Independent - - HEALTH -

YOUR first time at a gym can be an over­whelm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, hav­ing to learn how to use ma­chines and get­ting used to other gym-go­ers.

At this time of the year, gyms of­ten see their num­bers soar as many are try­ing to get their bod­ies in shape for sum­mer.

But Sa­muel Bor­sah, a per­sonal trainer from Ig­nite Fit­ness, warns new­bies to first get pro­fes­sional ad­vice.

“It is im­por­tant for them to com­plete a gym assess­ment. The assess­ment in­cludes a med­i­cal check, fit­ness level, blood pres­sure and skin­fold check.”

He says you must know your body and ex­er­cise goals so that you know which equip­ment to use.

Ian Pien­aar, com­mer­cial prod­uct man­ager at Vir­gin Ac­tive South Africa, says the big­gest mis­take first-time gym mem­bers make is not ask­ing for help at clubs.

He sug­gests that new­bies must use fit­ness in­struc­tors and must start their ex­er­cise rou­tine slowly and do what is com­fort­able to them.

Pien­aar says adults should look at a mod­er­ate train­ing ses­sion of 30 to 60 min­utes five times per week or 20 to 60 min­utes of vig­or­ous ex­er­cise three times per week.

Peo­ple who want to lose weight should do at least 150 min­utes of mod­er­ate to high-in­ten­sity ex­er­cise per week, com­bin­ing re­sis­tance and car­dio­vas­cu­lar train­ing.

Those who want to build mus­cle should start by learn­ing how to do the fun­da­men­tal ex­er­cises cor­rectly.

Train­ing with a part­ner who has the same goals as you will help you to stay mo­ti­vated and keep ses­sions fun, adds Pien­aar.

Bor­sah says there are a few ba­sic gym eti­quette rules to fol­low, like per­sonal hy­giene, what you wear and how you treat peo­ple.

“Fun­gal in­fec­tions of the skin can be com­mon at the gym. Try and wash your hands fre­quently. Try and wash them be­fore and af­ter your work­out ses­sion.”

You must also wipe your sweat off the gym equip­ment when you are fin­ished ex­er­cis­ing, he adds.

Bor­sah says you should dress ap­pro­pri­ately for the gym.

“We have seen peo­ple run­ning on a tread­mill with jeg­gings or jeans and I of­ten think that might be very un­com­fort­able for them. I wouldn’t ad­vise peo­ple to do it.”

Lastly, be kind. Don’t laugh, mock or take photos of peo­ple who may be go­ing there to lose weight. It takes brav­ery to make a choice to be fit. Don’t be a de-mo­ti­va­tor at the gym.

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