OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Sunday, February 1


QUESTION: Alright I have never been to the gym (I'm skinny fat) and am starting to go but I'm nervous as I have no idea how to work machines or anything. Tips for not looking like a complete idiot? Also what do people wear to the gym?

- a girl trying to get healthy


  1. I would like to know this as well. I've always wanted to go but I'm super worried about looking like the clueless newbie that I am.

  2. As much as I'd like to help, I think the correct place to search would be Google as what I might say might not be what you're interested in. In general though-

    1) Wear comfortable clothes that let your skin breathe and allow you to freely move your muscles. For girls, a t shirt/tank top and yoga pants type pants is what I generally see at the gym

    2) When starting out, I suggest starting off with only the machines. The machines usually have instructions/pictures on them and if you still have doubts, ask someone and they won't mind helping at all (I know I wouldn't)

    3) Watch other people that look like they are regular gym members for what they do in your first week/month. This will help you see learn how to use free weights and more effective workouts. (I've been going to the gym for 4 or so years so; I still once in a while come across someone doing something I haven't seen which makes me think "Hmm, that looks like a good workout I should try"

    4) Ask around.. Trainers, other gym members even if they have headphones on are usually more than happy to help out someone who genuinely needs help with a machine/workout

  3. I have to disagree with 2. You're a lot better off not bothering with machines until you need to really isolate muscles. Start simple and basic with strength training. From strength training you can then decide what kind of fitness style you want to pursue (bodybuilding, power lifting, for specific sports etc).

    Strength Training is pretty simple to pick up. It consists of 5 major movements: Squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, and lateral barbell row.

    The program for beginners is start at the bar weight (45 pounds) for squat, bench, ohp, and row, and 25 on each side + bar (95 pounds) for deadlift.

    There are 2 days in the program

    A: Squat 5 sets of 5 reps to full depth followed by bench press to the chest 5 sets 5 reps followed by row from the floor 5 sets 5 reps.

    B: Squat 5 sets 5 reps to full depth followed by overhead press 5 sets 5 reps, followed by deadlift for 1 set of 5 reps.

    Every time you successfully complete an exercise set of 5x5 add 2.5lbs to each side for the next time (except deadlift where you go up by 5 on each side).

    when you fail a 5x5 keep the weight for the next time. If you fail 3 times lower the weight by 10%.

    There's a ton more information here including proper form

    When it comes to clothes... wear loose fitting comfortable clothes. I wear shorts and t shirt. Make sure to wear hard sole shoes (chuck taylors, flats etc) and not running shoes. Running shoes take away from your power while lifting weights. You won't need gym gear for a few months... at that point consider a lifting belt and wrist guards if you have weak wrists like me. Use chalk instead of wraps or straps.

  4. There are a few steps (kind of building upon #2 and #3)

    1) Read Starting Strength
    2) Have a friend who lifts show you good form (if they don't know good form, don't bother. If friends are lacking, ask a trainer. Some of them might be nice enough to give you a quick demo for free, but scheduling a one-off session could be good.
    3) Start lifting
    ?) Profit