JOINING A GYM
// Written by Mark David –
Joining a gym can be very intimidating. Often, members quit going because they feel too clueless and embarrassed. They know the body that they want, but they don’t know what they should be doing to get it. Having the right workout program is essential to reaching one’s goals.
Before designing a workout program, it is important to know how many days of the week you are able to commit to going to the gym. Ensuring your body gets the rest that it needs is crucial for results. I usually try and give my muscle groups at least 48 hours between each session. Does that mean that I go ever three days? Usually no. That means I work out only certain muscle groups on certain days. If you are only able to get to the gym two or three times a week, then full body workouts would be ideal. If you are able to get to the gym more frequently, consider doing splits.
And no, I’m not talking about the stretch.
A workout split is when you only work certain body parts or movements on certain days. I am a big fan of the push/pull split. As the name suggests, one day at the gym is spent pushing things, while the other day is spent pulling things. A third day is usually spent on legs.
I know some that like to work their chest and their biceps together on the same day. While it may seem appropriate to work our favorite beach muscles together, this type of split is not a good one. Why? Because it’s not allowing our muscles the proper time they need to repair. When you do chest, you’re most likely also doing triceps. When you do back, you’re most likely doing biceps as well. So a day at the gym doing chest and biceps followed by doing back and triceps is not ideal. As mentioned before, it’s good to let our muscle groups have 48 hours in between sessions.
When designing a workout, try and ensure that you are giving each muscle group equal attention. Every gay man wants a beautiful well-sculpted chest. Failing to work for an equally strong back can lead to severe problems, affecting posture and causing neck back and shoulder pain. If you plan on doing five chest exercises on Monday, you should also try and do five back exercises on Tuesday. Keeping a gym notebook to keep track of what you’re doing and what you plan to do can help avoid this problem.
Another important thing to consider is if you are overtraining or undertraining. While common sense says that not enough time in the gym is bad, it may be hard to believe that one can spend too much time working out. Overtraining can lead to various adverse effects, such as loss of sleep, illness, injuries, and moodiness. It’s extremely hard to get those gainz with a torn rotator cuff. Sticking to about 24 to 30 sets per workout is good (think 3 sets of 8 exercises).
The amount of reps per set is going to correlate with the weight and your goals. Obviously, the lower the weight, the more reps you can do. But is doing more reps always better? It all depends on what you want. If you want power, you want heavy weights, low reps, and a higher set count. For muscular endurance, use lower weight with 12-20 rep counts. For strength, higher weights with a rep count of about 1-6. And if your just trying to get swole, do 8-12 reps 3-5 times at about 75% of your 1 rep max.
Whatever your fitness goals are, making sure that you have a plan is important, While it is fun to wander around the club aimlessly (especially in the sauna), knowing what you are doing will greatly increase your gym experience (which in turn increases your sauna luck). Make sure you get adequate rest and nutrition, as well. Work out smart. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Lou Ferrigno.
Mark David is a NASM certified personal trainer. He advises that you talk with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements or starting a workout regime. You can find him at New Orleans Athletic Club, Downtown Fitness Center or behind the bar at Oz. He can be reached at MarkDavidFitness@gmail.com.