If you’re just starting out with getting in shape, then a lot of the machines/exercises that you’ll find the gym can be a little intimidating.
Pretty much everyone goes through this first initial period of where they not only don’t want to waste their time doing exercises incorrectly but also not wanting to look like an idiot by using the machine in the wrong way.
This tends to lead to three main scenarios.
- Look into personal training
- Just use equipment you’re comfortable with
- Watch others and figure it out over time
There is no right or wrong option, these are just the main choices that I see most beginners go with (myself included when I started).
For the sake of this article #1 is off the table because we’re discussing alternate methods from hiring a personal trainer.
Download A Workout App On Your Phone
There are some really good workout apps out there that will actually show you what to do with each machine and even guide you through an entire workout.
This can be great because you pretty much get a personal trainer on your phone without the cost.
If you decide to go this route, then I would download an app that looks good to you then mess around with it over the weekend instead of trying to get everything setup once you get in the gym.
This option is not limited to just using gym equipment but can be for those who prefer just doing cardio or bodyweight exercises as well.
Watch Others Use The Equipment
This is sort of a combination of points 2 & 3 that I mentioned above.
With this, you’ll start out using equipment that you’re comfortable with. Even if this is just walking on the treadmill, that’s ok.
As you see enough people use a certain piece of equipment and you feel that you got a good idea of how/what/why it works then you might be able to start using it.
My only hesitation with this option is that make sure you watch more than one or two people use it to make sure it’s being done correctly.
I see plenty of people use equipment the wrong way, so don’t follow the example of the first person you see using it.
Tip: Most machines have a picture on them that give a quick overview of how to use them and what muscles that they are intended to workout.
Also don’t be afraid to ask someone in the gym on how to use something or if you’re using it correctly.
In my 10 years in the gym, I’ve only ever met like 2 people that probably would say no to helping.
99.9 % of people in the gym will most likely be cool with helping you understand something better because they were in your same shoes asking for advice at some point.
Home Fitness Programs
If you’re just looking to sort of tone up rather than looking to pack on some muscle, then using a home fitness program could be a good fit for you.
The good thing about these is that they are like having a personal trainer without the cost (except for the initial purchase of the program). You also get to save money by not having to pay for a gym membership.
Try To Find A Workout Partner
See if you can find a friend that is already hitting the gym around the same time you are that has some fitness knowledge to them.
This is good because not only are you getting someone to guide you through the workouts but this can also be a great motivation/accountability bonus for you & your partner.
Tip: Don’t jump at the first chance of anyone who will be your workout partner, make sure this is someone who you won’t mind spending an hour with multiple times a week.
Try not to look at having a personal trainer as a must to be able to get in better shape. Sure it would be great to have one but not having one shouldn’t keep you from working out.
When I started I had personal trainers and I learned lots from them. If I hadn’t of had them I would have spun my wheels in place trying to figure out what does what but eventually I would have kept at it till I figured it out.
Really it comes down to how bad do you want it. If you have the drive then there is plenty of free information out there to get started and you can continue to learn more as you progress.
I hope this article has helped some of you who may be stuck in the needing a trainer to workout type mindset.
Sterling is a writer, fitness junkie and loves all things technology. Sterling is the owner of ChainsToGains.com or over on his Tumblr, which is where you can get in touch with him if you have any questions/comments.