There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what you should be doing in the gym in order to “get those gains!” But a lot of it comes from lack of experience and information and the persisting bro culture in a lot of our gyms. If you’ve been avoiding the gym for any of the following reasons then have no fear, you DON’T need to be doing them at all.
1. You don’t need to do cardio to lose weight
When you went to the gym for the first time you probably wondered around lost and then spent 10 minutes on a treadmill hating life. I get it, running is a fairly familiar movement and seems more comfortable than using the bench press on your first day. But you don’t need to spend hours on a treadmill to lose weight, in fact, you don’t need to use any of the cardio equipment if you don’t want (as most of it is horribly boring).
2. You don’t need to lift heavy weights
No one is judging how much weight you lift. It’s tough not to feel insecure about how much weight you can lift. As a man (gay or not) there is a societal expectation to be strong, and so we can feel insecure when we’re lifting tiny little weights compared to those giant beefcake boys who are always loitering in the weights area.
Mate, don’t worry. Those guys are not looking at you. They will be concentrating on their own training or staring at themselves in the mirror.
What they might judge you for is terrible form. Picking up a weight that’s way too heavy and flinging it around for dramatic effect will not win you any cool points.
3. You don’t need to do LOADS of reps/exercises/sessions
Sometimes less is more. When you get into the habit of going to the gym, it can be easy to get carried away. If going 3 times a week is good, then going 6 times a week will be even better right? How about twice a day?
Performing more reps per set isn’t always better, and having back-to-back days at the gym will limit how much your muscles can recover between sessions.
A review published in Sports Medicine highlighted findings that claim 40-70 repetitions per muscle group per session is the most effective at promoting muscle growth.
To put that in perspective, if you were training your chest, then performing 3 sets of 2 or 3 exercises for 6-12 reps each will get you to your ideal rep range.
4. You don’t need a protein shake IMMEDIATELY after a workout
You’ve probably heard about the “anabolic window” that means chugging down a protein shake within minutes of your last rep, otherwise, you miss your window to grow. Turns out this has not been empirically proven.
According to a paper in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, this benefit was mainly seen when training after a period of fasting. So if you train first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, then yes, get some food in you asap. Otherwise, just eat the right amount of protein and you’ll be fine.
5. You don’t need to train like a bodybuilder/athlete/personal trainer
You want to look like the hot personal trainer from your gym with bulging biceps and a 6-pack that’s visible through his compression top, so surely you just do what he’s doing, right? WRONG! What works for him may not work for you. Plus he’s got a lot more experience and knowledge doing what he does.
A lot of fitness Instagrammers and fitness magazines/websites (including ours from time to time) will post challenging and interesting workouts for their readers to try, most of which are WAY too advanced for newbies and your average Joe.
If you’re not an athlete or a fitness model, then there’s no benefit to training like one, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. The best thing you can do is get yourself a great personal trainer so that they can start you off and then progress you bit by bit and get you looking a little more like a fitness model every day.