The first workout session has a very specific set of objectives. This post aims to help you self direct your first workout session either by yourself or to prepare for your first session with a personal trainer.
A typical first session starts with taking stock of how you feel health wise and what are your goals. How much time can you devote to work out and by when do you reasonably aspire to see results. A good trainer will also ask you if you have had any health problems or surgery and would recommend that you talk to your doctor and get an all clear before you commence workouts.
Drinking alcohol or caffeine laced drinks before or after a workout is strongly discouraged and will have detrimental effects. So one of the questions would be if you have had any drinks or caffeine. The first workout can be postponed to another day so that you start with a clean system that will face only the overload from the workout.
The trainer will then proceed to get you to do some exercises to set up a baseline of your physical and mental capacity for workout. It is this baseline that will show you how you progress over the next weeks and months. Every bit of progress will be your motivation.
After you have completed your warm up, the first benchmark data set consists of measurements of your shoulder, biceps, thighs and waist. The next data set will be your ability to do basic exercises. You will have to feel the weight of different dumbbells and pick up a weight that you think you can curl for 12 repetitions. Say you picked up 15 pounds but could finish only 10 reps, your benchmark will be noted as 12.5 pounds. Next you have to do push ups. If you are able to do only 5, that is your benchmark. Next you will have to do a plank and hold the position for as long as you can. (Don’t worry, I will have videos of these exercises on the blog soon). If you could plank for 30 seconds, that is your baseline. Finally, you would have to use the leg press machines with token weights to see if you can press 12 times.
With all these information, you or the trainer can start identifying basic exercises to strengthen the upper body, core and lower body. Most of the first few months will be on machine based exercises with a few free weights. All sets will be of light weight with 12 reps aimed at progressively improving over the baseline. You will perform 3 sets of each exercise.
Subsequently, your ability to lift weights and hold the Plank position will improve. This will mean that a foundation has been laid and now you can commence on working on your objectives. Let us assume your objective is body building. This requires a particular combination of exercise that contains elements that increase size of the muscles and some elements that improve its strength. If your objective is weight loss, the emphasis may be more on cardio exercises and weights based exercises that work on the larger muscle groups (typically legs) to enhance your metabolism.
Check back again for my next post…