Navigating the Fitness Center
The gym or fitness center — be it at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club or elsewhere — can be a challenging, risky and rewarding venue for multiple reasons and for people on varying levels of their fitness journey. If you are new to the gym, it’s important to know which equipment aligns with your direct fitness goals. And if you are a gym rat, you need to know when it’s time to change your workout and workout equipment for improved results. While this may appear to be something you’ve read about in the past, this time, you will hear it from our very own Linda Doyle — a licensed personal trainer and quite possibly, the type of expert you may decide to consult. As a bonus, if you’re a member of Golden Ocala, this information will speak directly to you, as it often refers to the revolutionary systems made available through our community exercise program.
Sorting Through Equipment
The use of fitness center equipment should revolve around the part of the body you are working on, as well as how comfortable you are in a gym-like setting and the goals you have set. If you’re just starting out, you should spend time getting comfortable with the equipment, as not all equipment is right for everyone. But if you are experienced, Linda recommends starting with the dumbbells and barbells, as they require whole-body engagement, before making your way over to the machines. Dumbbells also correct muscle imbalances, because each arm works separately to lift an individual weight. And don’t forget machines, especially if you’re older and navigating the gym by yourself.
Regardless of how experienced or inexperienced you may be going into the fitness center, as soon as you understand which muscle group you’re using and can tell if that’s really what you are working on, you will achieve results. Keep in mind, though, results are different from person to person. For example, if fat loss is the goal, then inches and weight, along with how your clothes fit and how you feel, is the goal. NEVER work through pain — only through the working of your muscle(s), which may result in fatigue or tiredness.
Structuring Your Workout
Many people struggle to determine how much is too much or not enough time in the gym or fitness center. But take it from Linda — a three-day split or three different exercises per muscle group is all that’s needed. For example, chest and back; biceps, triceps and shoulders; and legs.
Any order is acceptable, as long as each exercise includes sets and reps, such as three sets of eight to ten reps.
Shaking Up Your Workout
One of Linda’s biggest lessons — it’s okay to shock your body and mind. This starts by altering your workout routine. The body gets used to what you do, and therefore, knows what to expect. But when we step outside of our comfort zone, we change.
This may be as simple as increasing the duration of steady cardio or choosing a different form of cardio, so that you can continue to see results. Take treadmills, for example. Linda considers these to be the most overused pieces of fitness equipment, mostly because people tend to keep them flat. However, when you increase the incline, you quickly accelerate your heart rate.
You could even reverse the order of your workout, such as with the three-day split, or take advantage of pieces of equipment that may be intimidating, such as stability balls and curl bars.
And everyone needs to steadily increase their workout time. Just make sure you’re doing it to achieve your desired results. If you’re working to your best capacity and adding muscle, the time you spend working out is not the issue right now — but continuing to burn calories by adding muscle to your body is. So, you may need to increase the rigor, rather than the time, of your workout.
Calling on a Trainer
People like Linda are always available to lend a helping hand. Those who may need it most are:
- Those who need equipment guidance
- Those who are experiencing an uncomfortable position or movement
- Those who do not want to be sore and are, therefore, starting out very slowly and with low weight
- Those who want to achieve weight loss results by continuing to increase their workout time again and again
- Those who want to find unique ways to change their workout routine, even with just cardio workouts
For more information on this and many other health-centric topics, as well as to speak with Linda Doyle or another Golden Ocala fitness expert, call our Fitness Center at (352) 402-4350.