How do we start?
OK, you have formed your Meltdown team and you are ready to exercise but you enter your selected gym and you say to yourself “Now What Do I Do?” Can I be effective without spending hours here? What should I do?
The first thing to do is make a plan and stick to it! Studies have shown that seven out of 10 people who start an exercise program drop out within a few months. One problem is that most people jump into exercise without doing any planning up front.
Aim for a healthy weight a loss of 2# per week is usually safe.
Be physically active each day! Try to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week. Whatever cardio activity you choose, try to work at a level that fitness professionals call the ‘talk test’ (a level that you can maintain a regular conversation without gasping for air) If you can’t complete the exercise all at once break it up into manageable segments.
The Weight Room
Before entering, hopefully you have spent at least 10 minutes warming up with a brisk walk or on a piece of cardio equipment (treadmill, elliptical trainer, bike). Most cardio equipment have prompts on the control panel to teach you how to program it. If you are not sure, just ask one of the staff on duty.
If the gym has a weight room orientation tour – take it! They will instruct you on how to safely manage yourself through the machines and give you a basic exercise program. If a tour is not available to you, then most exercise machines have directions on how to use them. *note – if you have specific needs such as an autoimmune disease, compromised back or joints, then it would be worth your while to contract with a personal trainer that has extensive experience and education to show you safely what to do.
Designing your program. When exercising consider these:
Work the whole body. Start with the larger muscles (legs, back, chest) and progress to the smaller groups (stomach, shoulders, arms).
Select a weight (hint- start light!) that you can complete at least 12-15 times (reps), do this two times (sets). Control the weight (machine) through the full range of motion. If you have to hold your breath during the movement, it is probably too heavy.
Take a 48 hour rest between weight room visits for recovery.
- When leaving any piece of exercise equipment wipe off any sweat.
- Share equipment, do not sit waiting for your next set, let other exercisers ‘work in’ with you.
- Do not slam down or drop weights.
- Pick up after yourself. Water bottles or towels left behind?
- When using hand weights remember to put them back on the rack.
- If others are waiting for a piece of cardio equipment, honor the gym’s rules regarding time limits (usually 20-30 minutes).