Author Topic: 'How to use a gym' advice?  (Read 6616 times)

peliroja

  • Mrs Woolly
'How to use a gym' advice?
« on: November 30, 2010, 06:45:27 pm »
I now have access to a gym (unstaffed) on a regular basis and would like to start using it in a less-than-half-hearted way. I've never really used a gym before and don't want to throw myself at the machines and do myself a damage. There are steppers, bikes, treadmills, weights and mats.

Any tips for a newbie on how to use a gym safely (and keep oneself entertained while doing so)? I wouldn't want to do more than 40 minutes in there, max. Thank you!  :)

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2010, 07:00:45 pm »
There are steppers, bikes, treadmills, weights and mats.

I suspect it's very difficult to cause injury with the first 3; just apply your "cycling brain" - warm up, build up speed/effort gently, pace yourself.
No rowing machine? unusual. If they have one it's worth finding a rower to show you the basic technique, as I suspect one could do some damage with those.

I only do very conservative weight work, so wouldn't dare give any advice. Plenty of more knowledgable people on here  :thumbsup:

[A general strategy i used was:
- 5-10mins warmup on rower/treadmill/etc
- do some weights
- do flat-out aerobic stuff on rower/treadmill/etc
- warmdown on above
- if time, stretch!
]
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2010, 07:04:31 pm »
Sounds like you've got the kit you need.  What is your goal?

(the "throw yourself halfheartedly" mis-approach usually comes from an absent or vague goal)
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
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David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2010, 07:06:48 pm »
Got a spinning bike there? Here is a quick tutorial for a basic routine.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Rx9SIyFMfcY&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/Rx9SIyFMfcY&rel=1</a>
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2010, 07:19:10 pm »
Remember to look in the mirror a lot.


That's what I see people doing all the time at the gym.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

redshift

  • High Priestess of wires
    • redshift home
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2010, 07:22:13 pm »
I use the work gym sometimes.  I cycle most days, so that's about 80-100 miles a week depending on shifts.  Anything I ride at a weekend is on top of that, but is variable.  In the gym I:

1. Warm up in a way that I don't normally exercise, e.g. one of those Nordic elliptical jobbies.  I have a lower back injury that is a bugger to manage sometimes, and shifts have kept me away from Aikido for a long time now.  Elliptical warms up without impact, treadmill doesn't.  I have to be fitter than I am now to run any distance without my back going twang.

2.  I usually do a bit of flexibility stretching - nothing pushy, just trying to maintain range of motion with age.  I found two weeks of kayaking two hours a day did more than the last 6 months of trying to remember to stretch.  Moral: The Real WorldTM does it better.

3.  Aerobic rowing - middling settings on the resistance (it's a Concept 2 machine) and do 2500 or 5000m at about 30 strokes/min depending upon how much time I have to spare.  This helps the back.

4.  Multigym weights, fairly light, to keep upper back, shoulders etc. in reasonable fettle.

Goal:  To use it or lose it.  It's easy to decline once you're into your 40's.  All you have to do is let it happen...
L
:)
Windcheetah No. 176
The all-round entertainer gets quite arsey,
They won't translate his lame shit into Farsi
Somehow to let it go would be more classy…

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2010, 07:30:26 pm »
I hated the bikes - why would I want to use one of those when I could just go for a ride?  I didn't particularly enjoy walking on the treadmill (I don't DO running - there's only so much M&S can do for a girl!) given that at the time I was using the gym a lot I was also walking between an hour and 4 hours shoving a buggy most days.  The cross-trainer caused extreme hot-foot pain after 3 minutes the first time I tried.  The stepper was the invention of the devil and after less than 2 minutes I had to stop and put my lungs back in.  And the weights area was full of intimidating body-builder types.

I ended up going 5 days a week, for anything up to 2 hours at a time  ;D

Is there any chance you can get someone properly qualified to do an introductory session, either at that gym or somewhere else nearby?  Our council gym does a 'how to use the kit and here's a programme to get you started' session for £18.50 for PAYG punters (or for free if you sign up) but that's probably northern prices!  I found a bit of advice about technique very very useful, and the programme was a very useful starting point.

I found targets useful - "I will convince the machinery that I've burnt 2000 cals" which is surprisingly easy when you start off very overweight on machines that consider that info when they calculate energy usage, working up to 5, then 10, and eventually 45 minutes on the cross-trainer and then the same on the invention of the devil stepper.  Intervals worked well to give it a structure when it stopped being a challenge just to stay on the machines for any length of time.  And I ended up scaring the muscle-bound narcissists out of the weight area, because free weights are fun.

I miss the gym :(
 
I now have access to a gym (unstaffed) on a regular basis and would like to start using it in a less-than-half-hearted way. I've never really used a gym before and don't want to throw myself at the machines and do myself a damage. There are steppers, bikes, treadmills, weights and mats.

Any tips for a newbie on how to use a gym safely (and keep oneself entertained while doing so)? I wouldn't want to do more than 40 minutes in there, max. Thank you!  :)

peliroja

  • Mrs Woolly
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2010, 07:37:58 pm »
Sounds like you've got the kit you need.  What is your goal?

Goals: 1. to take some time out at lunchtime from working too hard (the gym is right next to my desk), 2. release a few endorphins to keep me going through the rest of the day and 3. maintain some base fitness during the winter.

Thanks for the replies so far! One more question: how does one 'do weights'? 

Jakob

Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2010, 07:56:55 pm »

Thanks for the replies so far! One more question: how does one 'do weights'? 

You shouldn't really do weights unsupervised and you can do a perfectly good workout using bodyweight alone, especially if you got a pull-up bar.

Toes-to-bar:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/dR94bQAoMhs&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/dR94bQAoMhs&rel=1</a>
Knees-to-elbow:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/kqOgtFcqWbE&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/kqOgtFcqWbE&rel=1</a>
Burpees:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/21dvQyNiTjM&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/21dvQyNiTjM&rel=1</a>
You can add some light weights to Turkish Get-ups relatively safely:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/0vhJza-2xiI&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/0vhJza-2xiI&rel=1</a>
Get a skipping rope and add some double-unders:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/2TfjmxeUsIs&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/2TfjmxeUsIs&rel=1</a>
Etc..

I think the key is to break it down into sets (similar to what we do at Crossfit):

Example:
5 push-ups (from the knees if needed)
10 knees-to-elbow (or as high as you can get your knees)
15 air-squats
20 double-unders.

Then do as many rounds as possible within a given time frame (max 20 minutes).
(And trust me, 20 mins is more than enough).

Combine that with a light warm-up beforehand and a stretching session afterwards and you can be in & out in 40 minutes and you will get a huge improvement in base fitness if you do something like this 2-3 times a week.


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2010, 10:01:11 pm »
Is it me, or has everyone missed the most important aspect of using a gym?

Step 0: You're supposed to drive there.   ;D
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

peliroja

  • Mrs Woolly
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2010, 10:15:58 pm »
Oh dear. I cycle there.

So there is also the problem of what to wear. I can't, quite frankly, get changed out of wet cycling gear, into work gear, only to change into dry gym gear, then back into work gear, then into soggy cycling gear to ride home (and then into lounge-about gear).

Help!

Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2010, 10:33:17 pm »
I only go in the gym to kill time while my daughter's in the pool so have no specific objectives - but I quite enjoy it, despite having never fancied gyms until I gave it try. 1.5 hours flies by and I have to keep an eye on the time. I do 15-20mins warm up on bike; circuit of most of the weights m/cs 3 sets of 15-25 each nothing heavy though; 10 mins row; some more weights, maybe 10mins on cross trainer or rarely treadmill (hate them); another 15-20 mins on the bike building up to an all out effort for the last 5 minutes; finish with some stretches.

redshift

  • High Priestess of wires
    • redshift home
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2010, 10:33:39 pm »
Thanks for the replies so far! One more question: how does one 'do weights'? 

'Do?'

Weights require repetitive operation - the muscles adapt in response to repetitive stress, so you alternately stress the muscle and then let it recover.  The amount of weight is entirely personal, and directly related to your current muscularity, along with your intent.  Was it Andy Gates who had a sig that went "Remember, somebody somewhere warms up using your 1 rep max...?"

So weights involves cycles of stress, relax, stress, relax. Usually, a series of a certain number of operations of the muscle, followed by a short recovery period, all repeated a number of times.  This is what's known as 'repetition' or 'rep.'
An example might be a cycle of 3 sets of 10 - i.e. ten operations of the weight (machine or free weight), then a short recovery period, say a minute or so, and then another set the same, and finally a third set.

The weights used, the number of repeats and whether you increase the weights between sets will all depend on what your goal is.

I would recommend that you find someone who knows what they're doing to give you a starter session.  You can easily injure yourself with poor lifting technique, and as Jakob said, free weights should really be with someone else around to act as a spotter.
L
:)
Windcheetah No. 176
The all-round entertainer gets quite arsey,
They won't translate his lame shit into Farsi
Somehow to let it go would be more classy…

Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2010, 10:37:05 pm »
Remember to spray and wipe down equipment after you've used it. No one wants scrum pox.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2010, 11:14:29 pm »
Remember to look in the mirror a lot.


That's what I see people doing all the time at the gym.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to look good naked. I still need a paper bag though so I can't see what it looks like!

peliroja

  • Mrs Woolly
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2010, 03:06:40 pm »
I just spent five minutes on an very easy setting on the exercise bike in my work clothes and feel soooo much better for it! I think I'll do this regularly!

Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2010, 03:11:19 pm »
As a number of people have said, some kind of introductory session with a trainer or knowledgeable person can be very helpful, especially if you want to get into a weight lifting routine. Stationary bikes and steppers are fairly self-explanatory, but it helps to have someone with a little knowledge devise a routine for you and give you some pointers before you start doing free weights.

Like Jakob said, you can do a lot with just body weight, you don't necessarily need elaborate machines.

Flying_Monkey

Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2010, 03:36:23 pm »
How to use a gym?

Change.

Laugh at people in gym as you go outside.

Go out for a 40 minute run or cycle - do intervals, whatever.

Laugh at people in gym as you return.

Use their showers.

Change.

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2010, 04:14:30 pm »
Monkey, that's as useful as the "How to do this in Windows?" posts that are answered with "Buy a Mac" or "Get Linux", you know.   ::-)


There are some actions that use lots of muscles, and some that use a few.  The ones that use lots are great time-savers, with the squat or lunge, and the benchpress, being good ones to include in a general list. 

http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html is an epic and bafflingly long list of exercises (a useful reference, if nothing else!). 
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Flying_Monkey

Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2010, 04:40:05 pm »
Monkey, that's as useful as the "How to do this in Windows?" posts that are answered with "Buy a Mac" or "Get Linux", you know.   ::-)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/-8KisK2zBWE&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/-8KisK2zBWE&rel=1</a>

is funny, no?  ;)

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2010, 05:55:25 pm »
Stationary bikes and steppers are fairly self-explanatory

Actually, that reminds me!  I was given Very_Stern_Warnings about the stepper, and how poor technique is not good for various joints.  Can't remember what I wasn't s'posed to do though because it was ages ago.  Sorry, that isn't very helpful....

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2010, 06:01:58 pm »
Monkey, that's as useful as the "How to do this in Windows?" posts that are answered with "Buy a Mac" or "Get Linux", you know.   ::-)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/-8KisK2zBWE&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/-8KisK2zBWE&rel=1</a>

is funny, no?  ;)

Depends where you are trying to view it from.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

peliroja

  • Mrs Woolly
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2010, 06:35:00 pm »
On the steppers, are you supposed to keep your feet flat on the 'pedals' or is it OK to go up onto the balls of your feet?

Flying_Monkey

Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2010, 06:35:09 pm »
Depends where you are trying to view it from.

Was just Father Jack saying 'I'm so, so, so sorry' incredibly sarcastically for being funny. Indirect way of saying 'it was a small joke'. Not funny when explained.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: 'How to use a gym' advice?
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2010, 06:38:47 pm »
Ah. That's why Channel 4 have banned it here.  :)
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.