5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Going To The Gym

So, you’re kinda new to this whole working out thing?

You’re confused about what you should and shouldn’t be doing and you don’t know how to create a program that’s actually going to work for you?

We’ve all been there. I’ve made the mistakes so that you don’t have to.

 

When I first trained back when I was 18, there were so many things that I believed to be true and I trained certain ways because that was the advice that was available to me at the time. Just this whole sea of information that I never researched and just followed without question.

At the time I was still young and was in the mindset of “Let’s get big and eat pizzas!”

I stopped training for a few years due to starting a family and recently got back into working out. Being a bit older this time around I wanted to learn and understand more about how taking the right supplements and following the right regimes can maximise my efforts and help me achieve my goals.

I can’t believe some of the things that I used to do or information that I believed.

I’m older and wiser now so I know better. Seeing as you are here reading this then you’re clearly ready to learn more and keep improving.

 

So here is a small list of things that I wish I had known when I first started training.

 

  1. Compound Movements

 

Focus on Compound Movements. This mainly applies to guys or girls that are really new to the gym.

The main idea is to build up a strong base with these compound movements and focus on getting strong to start with. When I first started I just did whatever I felt like for that muscle group, which is fine, but I never focused on those big bench presses, the incline bench, squats, close grip press or overhead presses.

I did these movements but not how they should be done and definitely didn’t do them often enough. This time around I’ve seen more growth and more strength gains from doing these.

 

  1. Find a Programme

 

The first 2 points on this list go hand in hand with each other.

When I first started going to the gym I went with a buddy and normally he would come up with a plan of what we we’re going to do and I just tagged along. So when it came to me training on my own, I just sauntered around the gym going from one exercise to another with no real purpose (because I had no plan!).

If you don’t have a plan, especially as a beginner, you will constantly be thinking about what you’re going to do next and not really be 100% focused on the workout or in that mindset to go in there and go balls to the wall for your workout! This kind of thing will obviously take time, I know it did for me, but once I found my routine and I knew what I was doing and what I had to do, it made my training so much better and consistent. So don’t go in there thinking about what you’re going to do, go in there KNOWING what your going to do and what you want to achieve!

 

  1. Hydration

 

You’ve heard it everywhere “Stay hydrated!“ right? Well they ain’t lying. All I do is drink water now. I fill up my big water jug and just drink that bad boy all day. It’s fairly obvious why you need to stay hydrated but I never used to. I would never drink enough during my training days or just enough in general.

It will help you feel a lot better. It helps with fat loss, digestion, absorption and transportation of nutrients. If you are taking supplements these are all definitely things that you want to promote in your body. It’s an obvious point to make but a lot of people just don’t drink enough water especially when they’re training and I used to be one of them.

 

  1. Train each muscle group twice a week

 

At first I just did the same old thing that most people do and that was just a 5 day split of single muscle groups.

I’m not saying that these splits are bad but if you are a beginner and wanting to build up some size and strength then you need to train each group 2x a week focusing on one session being strength and the other hypertrophy.

When I did a 5 day split I just fell into the rhythm of doing 3 sets of 12 for every exercise and each muscle group focusing on just getting to rep 12 with or without a struggle. Like me, a lot of new people that go the gym just fall into this rhythm as well.

There are different splits that you can do that allow to you to train twice a week. You’ve just got to research them and find what works for you.

For example, I’m currently I’m doing a PPL split which is Push, Pull, Legs as strength based workouts for 3 consecutive days, then rest day and then Push, Pull, Legs hypertrophy based workouts for the next consecutive 3 days.

 

  1. Learn to Meal Prep

 

This one I’m still working on and haven’t got it down to an exact science but I’m miles better at it than when I first started.

I work 12 hour shifts and I don’t always get chance to eat. When I did eat it was usually something quick and shit because it’s easy, right? Then I learnt to meal prep 2 – 3 days worth of meals in one go. What that did was allow me to keep up with eating my meals during work hours. It allowed me to understand and see how much I was eating and if I needed to increase or decrease the amount of meals.

Another thing to add is that when you are doing your meal prep, don’t over complicate things. Just keep the meals simple and find a way to make them taste good. What I mean by don’t over complicate it is don’t think “Oh shit! How can I make 6 meals a day and eat every 2-3 hours? I don’t have time!”. The body can absorb more than you think so you don’t need to keep it to 20-30 grams of protein per meal and eat that 5-6 times a day. Just decrease the amount of meals and increase the amount of protein etc in each sitting to suit your needs.

 

Those are some of my top things that I wish I had known when I was a beginner.

I know that some things in that list might seem a little bit obvious to some people but for a lot of new people first stepping into the gym, it won’t be. There are loads of other things I could put in a list like this so If you want to know more then I’ll gladly do that for you guys.

I hope that this info is useful to some of you and will help you out!

For the more experienced people out there, what are the things you wish you had known before starting in the gym?

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