(For ease, here's Part One)
- If you use a plate-loaded machine or dumbbells, etiquette demands you put back the weights. That said, you'll inevitable encounter a machine that you want to use where someone has left their weights on the machine. Inevitably, the folks who leave them have left behind 100lb plates or other large-ish ones, never a 5 pounder. Do feel okay asking for help moving them...I do it. Most people (okay, I mostly ask men b/c they are more likely to be able to help) are happy to help. I will admit I scope out the right person to ask to be sure: 1) they can lift them w/o getting hurt (or would be honest instead of macho) and 2) they will get that I genuinely need help and am not hitting on them.
- If you are new, you might worry about stepping into a gym. Here's the truth -- I do notice new folks, especially folks clearly new to the fitness front. But I am NOT thinking anything bad. In fact, I'm often wondering if there's a polite way to say "Go you!" and express my admiration. I also know that it is harder to start at a higher weight...I admire those folks even more. So I do notice you, but you should be PROUD to be there.
- When I do weights, I'll switch between exercises rather than rest between sets. For example, I'll do a set of biceps, then a set of shoulder presses, and then back to bis. The experts will say this technique is good because it gets your pulse up and adds a cardio element. Honestly, I like it because it gets me done faster!
- There's no need to be fashionable, unless the cute clothes provide you with motivation. I do, however, find it helps to where clothes made for fitness rather than an old tee. The tech clothes will help wick away sweat and are less likely to get soaked and heavy. I sweat a LOT. Target has great deals...especially if you can get away with a Girls L or XL (not much shape to them, but I don't care at the gym).
- If you run, get fitted for shoes at a real running store. Sports Authority isn't going to do this. Look for something specifically aimed at runners where the staff will examine your gait and help you find the best shoes to keep you injury-free.
- I was initially scare by the machines that say "Hammer Strength". Don't be! They are GREAT, especially for newbies. All it really means is the left and right each lift their own weight. This means your strong side can't cheat and help the weaker side. These are often "plate-loaded" machines (you put the round weight plates on them)...those look scary but really are the same as the other machines, just with more options in weight load.
- In the last post, I mentioned that you shouldn't fear bulking up (if you are a woman). Along with this goes the fact that you should lift weights that are heavy enough that you are tired after 10-12 reps and don't feel able to do much more. This does mean you need different weights for different exercises...your biceps are likely stronger than your triceps so you need different weights for each. Push yourself....stay safe, but a workout is WORK. I often want to go over to a healthy young woman using 5lb weights for a bicep curl and hand her 10s...I bet she could do it. And get better results.
- I'm a treadmill addict. I know running outside has bio-mechanical benefits and has even been shown to be mood boosting. But, again, it's about what works for you. Frankly, I need the TV on to help me keep going...and the fact that I'd fall off the belt if I didn't keep moving. I also like the feedback. Calorie counts are HORRID on machines, though better on treadmills than others, but the distance and speed are helpful markers.