Well I finally made the move from a small town to a much larger one on the west coast of Florida. One of the many reasons I decided to move was the fact I enjoy living in an area that has the population to handle a multiple numbers of large gyms along with other assorted fitness centers in the area.
Also, I like an area that is health conscious with its multiple food choices, restaurants, and medical facilities.
But let’s get to the topic at hand here, making sure you do not get caught in the trap of wasting your time and effort when going to the gym.
One thing that does not change however no matter where you work out either at a large or small town gym is seeing people that have walked in with good intentions to start an Exercise program but are going about things in the wrong fashion. Either you are there to get fit and strong or not.
I have to admit I see a a lot of time wasting going on and it appears that many use the gym as a social hour event.
Also, you will see some of the craziest things where someone got some hot tip off the internet and then try to mimic the movement in the gym opening themselves up to injury or leaving many to ask, what for?
Now I understand when it comes to training, what works for one, does not work for another along with the fact that everyone has their own style and more than likely have also got just enough information to stay completely confused when first starting out. I went through the same learning curve myself. As a young guy I came from the old school, ” the more the better” and also I am sure Lacked Proper Technique with many of the exercises.
I went through the same learning curve myself. As a young guy I came from the old school, ” the more the better” and also I am sure I lacked proper technique with many of the exercises in my earlier days.
What I am getting at here are new members and some not so new that come in and you can see that their form on the equipment, how much weight they are using to start with and, their exercise selection is something that spells out the word injury and just not making good use of their time.
Now I firmly believe that the personal trainers that are working the floor in these gyms and fitness centers rather then just walk by these individuals, should stop and help these members with not only their form to avoid injury but, for newcomers, get them started on a basic full body workout that uses compound movements that will build basic Strength and develop a good foundation for the future.
Rather than seeing someone who is older and frail to begin with, jumping on a cable machine doing chest flyes and haphazardly at that, they may want to consider working on something like light dumbbell presses or modified push-ups to help develop a strong foundation to build from and, to help with their functional strength and core development. This is not the time to start with isolation exercises.
Remember, the important thing to remember is that strength is built from the center out. In other words your trunk strength needs to be strengthened and that strength will be carried out to the limbs later.
Rather then seeing someone who has never trained a day in their life walk into the gym and start doing triceps push-downs because they see someone else doing it, maybe the personal trainers who again are present at the time, could instruct these individuals on using a close grip triceps press while using their body weight for example. These are just examples and there are many more.
Now in the majority of cases but not all, the trainers generally help correct this and most make themselves available on the floor to spot cases where someone might be better suited for another type of exercise or something that is scaled down to prevent injuries.
Watching these people day after day come into the gym I attend and work the same muscle groups every day on the same equipment is not beneficial when it comes to making progress and seeing results. Again with older adults, look into something that will help with your functional strength that will increase your strength and stamina and help with your quality of life.
Now I have found over the years that some are happy to receive some instruction and I have seen others that agree with what you are saying but, revert back to what they know and feel comfortable with.
Sure there is contradictory information in the world of fitness and everyone has to learn their own bodies and how it responds, but to avoid wasting your time in the gym and increasing your chances of getting injured, seek the help of the staff about getting a weight training program designed for you especially if you are a newcomer to strength training.
There are certain laws in biomechanics and physiology that we all should follow to assure a safe and effective injury free exercise program.
Most of the big commercial gyms when you initially join may come with an introductory training session with a trainer that gives you a chance to learn some basic movements and exercises along with a question and answer session, take advantage of it.
No doubt if you are first starting an exercise program, there is a learning curve you have to go through and in fact, and if you have been weight training for years, there is always something new out there to learn as well. No one knows it all! Never stop learning and growing.
The most important thing is to keep things simple and avoid chasing the latest fitness craze or routine.
The Take Home Message is if you are just starting out, seek help from the personal training staff and, make sure you begin to self educate yourself on strength and cardiovascular training. There are tons of books and information on the internet that can help you.
With the proper knowledge and personal instruction, you can save yourself time and wasted effort not to mention unnecessary injuries. When it comes to fitness make sure you keep it simple, what worked 30 years ago will work today, there is no need to complicate things.
Making every exercise repetition count and avoiding injury is the best way to assure you have a successful outcome and a healthier mind and body when it comes to completing your exercise program.
Richard Haynes PTA, CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC
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