This article will focus on the things to consider when evaluating your workout environment and equipment options. Depending on your goals and schedule, you may opt for home workouts and need information on what you’ll need at home to create your personal gym. If you feel a trainer and/or a dedicated fitness space may help you stay motivated, you might choose to work out in a gym, where a trainer can meet you at regularly scheduled times. To help you feel prepared and confident for a gym experience, we will review what to expect, proper protocol, and clothing options. Do you know the differences between free weights and machines? We will look at which equipment is best for helping you with your program and why. Overall, we’ll explore the things you’ll want to consider in making these decisions so that you can be safe and have an effective weightlifting program.
Gym vs. Home Workouts
Feel intimidated weightlifting in a gym? No worries, that’s a normal feeling to have. This article will teach you everything you need to know so that you can walk over to the weight rack with confidence and a workout plan in hand.
There are a few key differences between working out at a gym versus at home. The first is the selection of equipment. The gym offers a large variety of weightlifting and cardio equipment, which is important as you progress through your program and need heavier weights. You will have multiple sets of dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, resistance bands, cables, and machines at your disposal. You will also have access to heavier weights with safety mechanisms, such as a leg press machine, and a weightlifting rack where you can complete powerlifting movements. This type of equipment allows you to lift much heavier weights than you can at home because of the safety of the rack. It may sound like too much to consider and makes this all feel intimidating, but all these options are valuable because they give you more freedom to select what works best for you and your body. Something else to consider about the gym is that there are trainers who can demonstrate proper usage of the equipment as well as watch you to make sure you’re using the equipment correctly.
The gym is also a great motivator because you have to make an effort and physically go there as opposed to staying in your home. Some people find that if they schedule gym time like they do other activities, and they’re not home being distracted, they are more apt to be consistent with their workouts. In addition, when you’re at the gym, you are around other people and more likely to push yourself.
If after reading this article you are still feeling a little hesitant about lifting weights at the gym, take baby steps. Start by grabbing a few weights and find a corner in the gym to do your workout. If your gym has a studio for classes, the studio is a more private place to work out when there isn’t a class in session. If you’re still not able to go to the gym, this program includes plenty of Home Workout Hack tips that will aid you in getting the most out of your program while at home.
There are downsides to using a gym. At times, there are lines to use the equipment and you may need to wait for someone else to finish using a piece of equipment that you want to use. In addition, while most gyms are fairly clean, you may find that with continual, nonstop use, some of the equipment handles and seats need to be wiped down between uses. At home, there is never a line for equipment, and everything is always clean and ready for your use. But while a home gym may sound ideal, keep in mind that you will likely have less variety of equipment available to you and you’ll need to continue to purchase heavier weights as you progress in your weightlifting program.
Whichever you choose, you need to find the best way to maximize your program. The most important thing is that you commit to yourself and stick with it no matter where you are.
There are basically two types of weights to consider: free weights and machines. Free weights are any type of weight that you can use freely in all planes of motion. Simply put, they aren’t attached to anything, so you have full control over them. The advantage to using free weights is that they are the most functional pieces of equipment, meaning they allow you to move in the same ways that you do in real life when you are going about your daily activities. Free weights help your muscles develop under different lines of stress, which is essential for injury prevention and better overall movement. You also need to be more careful with free weights because you have complete control over them. Therefore, there is nothing to protect you if you use the weights with incorrect form. Machines are in fixed positions. You can only push or pull the weight in a particular line of stress and in a particular motion. This is safer but not functional. You rarely do anything in real life that allows your body to move in a straight line along a single plane. This means that you could put yourself at risk for injury even when using a machine, because your anatomical structure and natural way of moving may not align with the machines.
All of the exercises listed in the program will use free weights so that the exercises can easily be done at the gym or in a home gym setting. In addition, free weights allow the exercise measurements to remain constant, which is important for tracking your progress. You need to know how much weight you are lifting at all times so that you can accurately record your progress. We will discuss the types of free weights used in this program in the following sections. Keep in mind that most of the exercises in this program can be done utilizing either type of free weight.
Dumbbells are short bars with weights at each end. Dumbbells can be used individually or as pairs. This will allow you to work each arm independently of the other (or unilateral training). This is great for making sure that one arm isn’t overcompensating for the other and that your muscles are well balanced. Another benefit of using dumbbells is that you can position them in a way that best suits your joints, like holding them closer or farther away from your body based on what’s comfortable to you. You can also rotate the dumbbells internally and externally to adjust for comfort. Additionally, dumbbells are easier to drop if you absolutely must while performing an exercise. You should never drop your weights, especially as you’re shifting between exercises. However, if you don’t have a spotter and you’ve fatigued your muscles to failure, it’s safer to drop the weights than to risk injury by holding on to the dumbbells. If you must drop the weights, always be sure you are in an open space and that you won’t hurt anyone else.
Barbells, on the other hand, have a longer metal bar with weight disks on each end. Some barbells allow you to adjust the amount of weight on each end. Other barbells are a fixed weight, like with dumbbells. Barbells are great for loading when doing leg exercises. (“Loading” is a common term for adding more weight to a movement.) Since women tend to have more strength in their lower bodies as opposed to their upper bodies, it’s easier to use heavier weights with barbells because the weight is being supported with your shoulders and upper back instead of just with your arms. Also, barbells sometimes feel easier to use because you grip with both hands; therefore, you are able to better stabilize yourself when performing pushing and pulling movements. On the negative side, barbells can allow you to compensate by pushing more with one side than the other, so be aware of that. Additionally, barbells are a little more cumbersome to have around the house and a little awkward to maneuver. Once you get the hang of barbells, however, they’re a great resource, especially for exercises where you want to use heavier weight. You can use dumbbells instead of barbells for exercises, but then you run the risk of losing your grip before completing your set. When this happens, you will likely need to place your dumbbells down before continuing on with the movement, which is not ideal.
Gym etiquette is very important if you want to maintain a positive gym environment. No one wants to lift with the woman who doesn’t follow the rules. Don’t be that woman! Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Don’t hog equipment. Everyone is trying to get their workouts in with limited equipment and time. Complete your set and then allow someone else to work with the equipment during your rest period. Sharing is caring!
Clean up after yourself. Just like sharing, other common kindergarten rules apply at the gym, including returning equipment to its original spot. Rerack your weights and wipe everything down, including anything that may have made contact with your sweat, like benches, chairs, balls, handles, and cardio equipment.
Don’t talk on your phone. No one wants to hear your latest gossip while they’re trying to focus on their workout. Take your conversation out to the lobby. Texting is appropriate, but be mindful of how long you’re sitting on equipment while doing it. Two minutes is enough time to rest. Anything longer and you should vacate the machine or bench and let someone else use it.
Ask to work in with someone. Don’t just commandeer someone’s weights or machine without asking them. If you’d like to use a piece of equipment that someone else is using, politely ask how many sets they have left. Then either wait for them to finish or ask to work in (use the weight or equipment while they rest) with them.
Practice good hygiene. Make sure to wear fresh gym clothes and take the proper measures to prevent odor once you start sweating by refreshing your deodorant or antiperspirant before your workout. A good rule of thumb is that if you can smell yourself, then others can probably smell you, too. Also, have a towel with you to wipe off excess sweat from yourself or equipment that you come into contact with. The gym is a much nicer place when everyone practices good hygiene.
Don’t make it awkward for others. The gym is oftentimes filled with good-looking people with great bodies. However, they are there to work out just like you are. Be friendly, but remember to treat the gym more or less like a place of work, not a club.
Respect other people’s workouts. It’s perfectly fine to gain inspiration from another member’s or a trainer’s workout. However, don’t copy everything that someone else is doing in a workout. You don’t know their goals, and if they’re a professional, then you’re stealing their workout. It’s much nicer to go up to the person when they’re free and ask if they would mind assisting you in creating some of your own workouts. You can also ask them to explain the benefits of the exercise you were thinking of copying.
Clothing and Other Gear
Typically, women wear leggings or shorts to the gym to allow for dynamic movements. Sweatpants are perfectly fine, too, though you may find yourself uncomfortably hot. Choose bottoms designed for working out so that they are moisture wicking and breathable to prevent discomfort or, worse, an infection. (Cotton underwear is also suggested for that reason.) Wear a supportive sports bra and a moisture-wicking top as well. You can choose a tank top or a short- sleeve or long-sleeve shirt, depending on your comfort level. Recommended fabrics for tops and bottoms include polyester, nylon, spandex, and cotton.
It is also recommended that you wear athletic sneakers. A sneaker designed for cross-training would be best, as opposed to a running shoe or a casual sneaker. You want the shoe to be supportive and relatively flat to allow for stability and dynamic movement while weightlifting. It’s best to go to an athletic store and try on a few different brands to find out what’s best for you. Everyone’s feet are different, so try on your first pair of sneakers and do a few dynamic movements such as walking, jumping, and squatting. You may also need insoles to correct any imbalances in your feet.
In terms of additional items, there are a few things you should consider. Weight gloves are useful for keeping your hands from developing calluses and for improving grip strength. It is also a good idea to have a water bottle with you to stay hydrated during your workout, as well as a towel or two to wipe off sweat and to lay on communal equipment. It is also useful to bring a small drawstring bag with you to the gym to place all these items in to avoid cluttering up the gym floor.
Setting Up a Home Gym
If you prefer to train at home rather than in a gym, I recommend acquiring a set of dumbbells and a barbell in order to do the workout movements in this article. Look for a dumbbell set that allows you to change the weight rather than a set with a fixed weight, so that way you only need one set instead of multiples. The same rule applies to purchasing a barbell—try to find one that allows you to add and remove weight plates so that you can better maximize your space. It is a good idea to purchase iron dumbbells and barbells if you plan to keep your weights outside, because they hold up better in harsh weather. You can get the colorful neoprene weights for indoor use.
If you have the space, it would also be helpful for you to have a weight bench. Other pieces of equipment to consider purchasing are a foam roller, a stability ball, resistance bands, a medicine ball, ankle weights, booty bands, a yoga mat, and a step. (You can purchase a kit of resistance bands that allow you to change out the handles, creating multiple resistance options. This is useful for conserving space, similar to the suggestion above for dumbbells and barbells.) Decide what to purchase based on what you feel is appropriate for your fitness level. All of the equipment is very useful and will maximize your home weightlifting experience. You can purchase any of this equipment online, which is great because then it’s delivered straight to your front door. While online, you may want to look for gym storage ideas to help keep your equipment organized and out of your way.
When setting up your workout space, choose a place with good lighting and a mirror, if possible, so that you can check your form as you move. You want to have plenty of open space for dynamic movements, as you don’t want to accidentally step on anything or knock something over. Carpet is nice so that you have extra padding for floor exercises; it’s also a good way to deaden the noise when putting the weights down. However, keep in mind that carpet will be more unstable (which will make movements more challenging), and it’s harder to clean sweat off a carpet. I would recommend an easy-to-clean rubber floor installed specifically for your home gym. This type of floor is stable, has some give to it to help absorb the impact of more explosive movements, and it’s easy to clean. Wooden floors are adequate, but it is recommended that you put something between the floor and the weights to avoid scratches.
Some people enjoy listening to music while they work out, so consider putting a stereo system in your home gym. It may also be good to have a water source to refill your water bottle during your workouts. A fan or portable heater may also be necessary for keeping the gym at an ideal temperature while working out.
All things considered, the cost of a home gym depends on how much equipment you want and how much functional space you’d like to have. You may start with a simple investment of $50 for a few weights to get started. Investing in a full set of free weights could cost as much as $500. As you progress, you may want to invest in some cardio equipment for your home gym as well. This could bring your cost closer to $2,000 in total. Start small with an initial investment and then add more equipment as your passion for weightlifting grows.
Do You Have to Take Supplements with Weight Training?
Weight training boosts fat loss by enhancing both the afterburn after exercise and increasing muscle size, thus increasing resting metabolism.
Some people might also use natural fat burners as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle to increase metabolism or decrease appetite. When combined with a healthy diet, it will further increase the loss of excess body fat – and may also have other beneficial effects.
Resurge is of the most popular weight loss supplements that promise to help you shed pounds and sleep better. Because studies have shown that sleep deprivation is associated with deficiencies of growth hormone and elevated levels of cortisol, both of which contribute to obesity.
While other supplements promote nutritional factors, meal replacement forms, appetite suppression, or similar effects, Resurge boosts your body’s metabolism by increasing your core temperature. However, before making any purchases, you might want to read some Resurge reviews because the supplement industry is rife with scams.
Besides, it should be noted that supplements are ineffective on their own and are hardly a solution to obesity. Pills or supplements only work when combined with a healthy weight-loss diet and regular exercise.
In any case, it’s always best to talk with your doctor before you start taking a supplement, especially if you are taking medications or have any health concerns.