Inapt Leading the Clueless + Newbie’s Guide

At the gym, I tend to observe other gym goers. Not because I want to, it just happens. With Miley Cyrus hogging the TVs, it’s not hard to turn my attention to something/ someone else.

Something I notice countless times are gym partners- one who is comfortable at the gym and the other who happens to tag along or starting out. Sometimes mates other times boyfriends with their girlfriends.

Look, I’m all for having company in the gym and peer support/coaching, but it pains me to witness bad coaching- I cringe and die a little inside.

To illustrate, just the other day, there was a couple at the gym, they were on leg day. And a popular machine to use is the 45deg leg press, which is my personal favourite machine for legs (just not after a burrito).

The guy finished his set and off-loaded some of his plates, so there was about 80 kgs on. Which is a pretty reasonable amount for a chick…if you know what you’re doing. You might be thinking, “Min, how do you know she’s a newbie? I thought you always harped on how you shouldn’t judge…” 

I’ll tell you how.

As it was leg day for me too, I was was keenly watching and on the ready to pounce when they were finished with it- like I said, my favourite machine!

The girl sat on the chair and said, “I’ve never done this before…” before mumbling something else. To this, her partner replied, “You’ll be fine, it’s not that heavy”- Says the guy who presses 120kg on his first set….

The 45 can look intimidating when you’re sitting on the  angled chair and there is a big rectangle of death staring at you in the face.

Anyway, back to the observation, she fumbled with the safety and away she went. From a distance away, I could clearly see that she was struggling and had poor form- feet too close together and when she breaks/squat/the big rectangle of death is at its closest point, her knees were buckling inwards. What did her partner do? Nothing.

You don’t need a certificate to be a gym buddy (maybe there should be…), you just need to be mindful that what you know instinctively is not yet so for others AKA your Newbie Gym Buddy.

Newbies, look out for yourselves! The following tips are for you:

  • Always ask questions– Where should my feet be? Where should I feel the ‘pull’? Is this right?
  • Observe– Look at your partner’s form and look at others
  • Use the mirrors– The mirrors are not just for selfies, use them to check your form.
  • Research– Go to sites like bodybuilding.com and they have videos and tips on different exercises.
  • Engage your core– No matter the exercise, make sure you use your core to protect your spine.
  • Form before Weight– No one care how heavy you lift unless your technique is MIA or you’re half repping…No one likes a half repper
  • Do NOT half rep– Half repping is when you don’t perform an exercise with full range of motion- i.e: stopping a barbell curl at 90 deg instead of going all the way down before coming up.
  • Ask the Personal Trainer at the gym to give you a tour– most gyms will give you an orientation of the gym and show you how to use the equipment. They would rather make sure you are familiar with the equipment then fill out an incident report because you didn’t.
  • New Gym Buddy– If you ain’t clickin’ then do the ditchin’- having a gym buddy on the same wave length is priceless.

I am a health and fitness enthusiast (former newbie). I am NOT a doctor, health or fitness professional. Please seek advice from your doctor/health/fitness professional before engaging in any physical exercise or fitness regime and use common sense.

Comment your tips below!

Have a great day! x

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