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girlofscience's avatar

What should I do at the gym?

Asked by girlofscience (7535points) August 3rd, 2008

I am 5’3’’ and 110. I am not looking to get all bulky. I simply want to shed maybe 5 pounds and get really toned. I want a fitter tummy, butt, and thighs. The gym at my apartment complex has bikes, treadmills, an elliptical, and one of those big weight apparatus things that I have no idea what to do with. I am looking to spend 30–45 minutes in there daily. I do not have much stamina yet. (15 minutes on the elliptical today wore me out!) I just want some guidance in determining the best use of my time, both in my first week to get started, and then later on. Any advice?

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15 Answers

marinelife's avatar

From wikihow A good starter guide. Read the tips section too. (This is just an excerpt.) Breathing is important. Good luck!

” 1. Walk in the door (the hardest part). No matter how tired, make 2 or 3 days a week mandatory in the gym. When doesn’t matter – just do it before you get home in the evening. Gotta start with commitment.
2. Warm up. 5 to 10 minutes on the elliptical or bike.
3. Do less. Forget about 3 sets. One set of 10 to 20 with enough weight to tire the muscle – not to the point of pain or strain. This yields 90% of the benefit of 3 sets in 1/5 of the time!!! Less boring too!!
4. Limit yourself to 6 to 9 machines and 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Rotate among upper body, core (Mid-section) and legs. Keep moving. No rests
6. Work major muscle groups. Curls not needed. Arms are worked indirectly by chest, back or shoulder exercises.
7. The slower you move weight the better. If you rush you’re not working the muscle over its full range.
8. Hop on the elliptical for 10 to 20 minutes and optionally switch to the treadmill for another 5 to 10. Work hard enough to sweat. NO READING allowed. Once you’ve settled into a routine, intersperse with 1 or 2 minute intense intervals (interval training) where you push your heart rate an extra 10 or 20 BPM. Cool down for a few minutes. Stretch at the end of the workout.
9. Reward yourself with a few minutes in the steam room or sauna.
10. Go home and eat mostly veggies with some fruit and protein (protein portion only a deck of cards needed!!). Skip the health (really candy) bars and protein drinks.
11. On days you skip the gym do something – even if just a 10 minute walk (or two).”

Lovelocke's avatar

Excercise. All gyms have trainers around, and most gyms offer you a free consultation with a trainer as part of your membership. They can take into account your daily habits and come up with a diet plan and a workout routine for you.

After that, it’s all up to you.

Lovelocke's avatar

Additionally, Marina’s copy paste is very general, and everyone’s body is different. Speak to a trainer, tell him exactly the results you are looking for and they’ll set you up with a plan that accomodates your lifestyle.

girlofscience's avatar

@Marina: Thanks! That article also linked me to a bunch of relevant things. But I’m not even sure I know how to do half of the things they mentioned.

sccrowell's avatar

Marina, would you be my new personal trainer? Actually my only trainer?

CreativeGene's avatar

Plenty of water start on the bike for 10 mins increasing resistance each day then to treadmill 10–15 mins you can walk and each day increase the angle and speed finish on eliptical for 10 mins and drink plenty of water thats your 30 mins

You can also forget the eliptical and add that time to treadmill

Cut the bread pasta and rice out of your diet and ‘NO SODA’

La_chica_gomela's avatar

One note on “bulk”:

Hormones in our body drive physiological changes to it. Testosterone helps build muscle, but women have much less testosterone than men, and it takes a lot more work for a woman to build muscle than a man. For example, I used to have a college roommate who was a varsity volleyboll player. She lifted weights for an hour to 1.5 hours a day everyday as part of her training. She was strong as a horse, but her body didn’t show a thing. She was superthin, and didn’t look bulky at all, just really toned and thin. She didn’t have like, big biceps or big shoulders or anything; she just looked like there wasn’t an ounce of fat on her whole body. Those women that you see on some “fitness” magazines are usually taking testosterone. Another clue that they are is their faces. Testosterone changes the shape of your jaw line, making it look more “square” like a man’s. Lifting weights can never change your face (you can’t lift weight with your face! lol) So if you see a photograph of a women with huge muscles and a weird-looking face, you can pretty much bet she’s taken testosterone.

So whatever you choose to do in the gym, don’t worry about doing too many reps or lifting too much weight, just focus on gradual increases in your fitness level. You’ll start to see your body looking better soon!

Best of luck to you!!

mrjadkins's avatar

Work “the core” as they say. I do mine at home based on what my trainer showed me at the gym. I use the gym for cardio stuff I can’t do at home.

I do have 2 10lb weights and a heavy duty step stool. Hold the 10lb weights in your hands on both sides. Step up on one foot and balance on that one foot. Lift the weights up to your side and then extend above your head. Bring them down and step down. I do this for one foot 10 times followed by doing it again on the other foot. I do this 3 times for both sides each day.

Great tone up exercise for the core and easy to do.

Make sure you don’t do it near a ceiling fan, though. ;)

baseballnut's avatar

I’m a big fan of the smoothie bar at LA Fitness. When I started indulging I could only handle a small but one day last week I actually downed a grande without getting an “ice cream headache”. Breakthrough day for me gym-wise!

gailcalled's avatar

Any fitness center worth its salt will give you several free sessions and ongoing tips from a trainer. Every body IS different; Lovelocke said it best.

nikipedia's avatar

What if we pick a marathon (ok half-marathon) to run together next summer? And we can be on the same training schedule and nag each other to go run? We’ll be so hot!

sanbuu's avatar

I work at the Fitness Center, and I just completed the first part of my personal trainer certification. 1. You don’t want to overload or do to much to quick.
2. You have to start off slow and work up your stamina, 10–20 for the first month.
3. Remember to mix it up and change your workout up often. Doing just treadmill or just Elliptical, is not going to get you much.
4. Remember to warm up with a good lap or brisk walk on the treadmill, followed by 5–10 minutes of stretches. Doing this not only will help your endurance, but prevent you from hurting yourself needlessly.

girlofscience's avatar

@nikipedia: Whoa, that actually sounds fun! Where would the marathon be?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

That would be awesome nikipedia!

Summer's avatar

I love to start with weight lifting to get my heart rate up then I do abs and legs and I finish with cardio. See what you like best. I always heard that it’s best to lift first and then finish with cardio, but if that doesn’t work for you, try something else

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