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Guide to Working Out for Dummies – I

by Co-Author Kay


This article is written based on my personal experiences.

For anybody looking to lose weight, the first thing that would come to their mind would be to join a gym. That sometimes would be ‘just walk in to a gym, get on to a machine and work it out’ (sometimes without even consulting a trainer). Sometimes  we plan our own work out. When our own plan doesn’t work as we would have initially expected, we then copy someone else’s (who seem to look better toned and in shape at the gym), and we would expect that to work for us too, and that could prove to be even worse. So read on, here’s a few good ideas on how to make the most of your valuable gym membership.

Some of the mistakes I made in the past –

  • Keeping unrealistic milestones (1, 3, 6 or 12 months) for weight loss. (Yes I know, there are people who really believe in losing weight in days :/)
  • Some times by the 3rd or the 6th month, if I don’t see a positive change I get discouraged and see the gym membership as a burden.
  • Most importantly, not speaking to a professional and seek help.

If you have still not noticed any need to lose weight, then you can get a good idea by going in front of the mirror and then taking a good look at yourself. (I did. And the first thing I noticed was that my arms were getting bigger and there was a bulge of fat deposited just below my elbow) After taking a good look at yourself, ask these questions from yourself. You can get the right results by answering these questions:

  • Are you happy with how you look?
  • Are you feeling healthy?Do you feel fit?
  • Do you want to lose weight or gain? (yes, trust me, I have come across both men and women who comes to the gym to gain weight)
  • Do you have any health issues, such as high or low pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol?

As for me, my answers were NO, NO, NO, YES (to lose weight) and NO. So I joined the gym (after many failed attempts) BUT keeping in mind that ‘I am going to be good and disciplined’.

So once you get your answers, there are few things you should consider when looking for a good gym to avoid disappointments and to take necessary precautions.

  • Find a gym close to where you live or work.
  • Closer to your kids schools (if you are working out after dropping them to schools)
  • Certified and recognized.
  • Properly trained and friendly staff.

Once you join a gym:

  1. Don’t forget to speak to a trainer who has enough and more experience than us. Explain your concerns. And get him or her to plan a workout for you. Speak to him about your lifestyle, your work and your diet. (please be honest, they know better than us :))
  2. Or get a personal trainer at least for a short period till you get comfortable with your routines. Although it’ll cost you, it’s still much better than getting injured and having to pay for the medical bills.
  3. And (please) stick to your plan.
  4. Always keep in mind it will take time. The Instructor is not a magician or a sculptor. He can’t do wonders. It’s all in our hands, and it depends on your dedication and motivation.
  5. If you find any discomforts, speak to the trainer who made the plan for you or another trainer and explain the situation.

A good trainer should be….

  • Your trainer should be knowledgeable enough to know your fitness level when planning your workout. (You could have engaged in any fitness activities or never been or have had some level of exposure to sports etc.)
  • He or she should also be knowledgeable when developing your level of strength.
  • Keep in mind that strength should be developed over time. It’s a step by step process. So let’s start with baby steps.

In fitness, one must develop Endurance, Strength, Agility, Ability, Stamina, Flexibility and Coordination.

  • The first goal to reach should be muscle strength, endurance and stamina in your heart.
  • Once strength, endurance and stamina are developed then you can go to the next goal which is to tone, shape or lose more fat.
  • You will not be able to run on the first day as you get on to the treadmill or lift any heavy weights. But I can guarantee you that you will definitely do once the above goals are met.

Just as I mentioned in my first article, Let’s Lose Weight, doing all the workouts as planned will not help you if you don’t watch what you are eating. It’s always 80% diet and 20% workout.

I hope this article helped my readers in taking the first few steps to start a happy and a healthy life.

Tune in for more articles where I will be talking about pre and post workout meals.

A special note of appreciation goes to my trainer Ramila Sanka Iddamalgoda for contributing with his insights to fitness and wellbeing that helped in write this article. Sanka is a certified fitness trainer at Body Bar, Colombo 05.

Check out the next article in this Series – Getting Ready for the First Day in the Gym and Every Other Day!