Hitting the Gym: What to Focus on First

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It goes without mentioning, though it is a point that cannot be stressed enough: Different individuals hit the gym for differing reasons. For a sizeable chunk of first-time gym-goers, a strict fitness plan is merely part and parcel of a much-needed New Year’s Resolution. For others, a gym and fitness regimen could culminate into nothing more than an attempt to increase strength and stamina.  Still, others follow ungenerous meal plans and gym routines to drop a few excess pounds, or otherwise, undergo a serious weight-loss transformation.

The factors that pull an individual towards gyms and fitness instructors are variable. This is an important reality to take into account when assessing which area of the gym you aim to tackle first. This is quite a simple process, as you would only need to clearly define the underlying reason you are opting for a gym membership in the first place.

Once you have managed to clarify your personal long-term goals and objectives, it is crucial to understand that the gym is far more than a standard treadmill and rack of weights. Certified, seasoned fitness instructors primarily set about to ensure that each routine or programme selected for your intended goal fully fits the bill. If you are a first-timer at the gym and searching to lose a significant amount of weight, no sane instructor would immediately guide you towards a set of dumbbells!

It is then; necessary to understand the various areas of a standard gym and select which category stands as the prime fit for your individual goals and needs.

Weight Loss

An impressive 21.4% of respondents, according to a recent survey, listed ‘weight loss’ as their primary goal for an upcoming year. As a result, gym memberships are typically expected to rise when January rolls around the corner. In fact, according to a 2016 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report, gym memberships across the UK exceeded 9 million in number within 2016. This means that approximately 5.3% of the total population of the United Kingdom holds a gym membership!

If you focus on shedding some stubborn weight, innumerable fitness programmes offer appealing alternatives. However, they are all entirely based off a simple pattern of combining regulated meal plans, alongside consistent exercise and activity.

Essentially, these meal plans focus on reducing caloric intake or producing a sufficient calorie deficit to promote healthy weight loss. According to your age, gender, current weight, target weight and daily activity levels, a customised calorie intake is generated. For example, in order to drop a pound per week, an individual might be expected to consume around 1300 calories per day.

This calorie intake is combined with exercise programmes – popularly HIIT (or High-Intensity Interval Training). A traditional take on this combined programme might include classic cardiovascular exercises.

Strength and Resistance Training

Strength Training has managed to amass quite a bit of popularity with regards to fitness trends in the previous few years. Strength Training is a type of exercise or routine, focusing on employing resistance in order to build or grow skeletal muscles. When looking to build some volume with regards to muscle, Strength or Weight Training should stand as your go-to area of focus within the gym.

Strength Training is also specifically important when encouraging increased testosterone levels in order to aid muscular growth. While cardio might remain as a reliable option for retaining overall shape, it gradually decreases levels of testosterone released within the body. Strength Training significantly enhances physical endurance and activity. If you wish to get ripped, the organic, conventional way – Strength Training is the exercise for you.

Training For A Marathon?

If you happen to have signed up for a marathon sometime in the next few months, it might be time to consider joining the gym and honing your body to perform at its very peak.

For runners, sprints and drills generally manage to get the job done. Steadily increase the levels of difficulty of the drills in order to maximise how well the body accustoms itself to the high-intensity workout on the day of the marathon. For such specific event-related goals, it is best to approach a fitness instructor or a personal trainer, in order to reap the best benefits while also receiving the proper guidance required. Event-related workouts also rely more on intake; if your focus is on a marathon, a personal trainer can guide you to load up on carbohydrates and obtain the greatest energy from natural food sources.

Endurance Training

Though often muddled with Strength Training, Endurance Training might potentially exist as an entirely separate realm within the world of fitness.

This specific category focuses on gradually building up the body’s stamina and resistance and allowing it to remain active for longer periods of time. If you consider yourself to be in relatively good shape, but nonetheless, pant while climbing a set of stairs – your body does not carry enough endurance to withstand healthy physical activity.

No amount of restricted diets can make up for how much physical exertion the body can endure. For professional athletes and sportsmen, Endurance Training becomes a must in order to push themselves to physically perform as best as they can. For a sedentary office-worker looking to build up their levels of endurance, this option is viable as well.

Endurance Training aids routine gym performances and workouts and provides the heart and metabolic system with the healthy kicks they deserve.

Exercises related to this category may include anything from swimming, dancing, running competitively or otherwise, going out for a daily jog. Essentially, any activity that can increase heart rate and the quickness of your breathing is considered as one related to Endurance Training. Fitness instructors gradually increase the durations and levels of difficulty of such activities until the body is primed to take on even the most challenging of physical exercises.

Hitting the gym is just a single decision to make on your journey towards attaining fitness. Identify your specific objectives and goals, and figure out the suitable niche to focus on once your work begins at the gym. Certified instructors prove to be invaluable during this process, using their experienced judgement and professional qualifications to suggest which routines and exercises to opt for first.


Dejan and Jonny are both fitness professionals stemming from a vast sporting background. Based in London they are the founders of ‘LetsTrain’ – an online, forward-thinking, fitness and nutrition resource.


  1. http://greatist.com/fitness/ask-expert-which-should-i-do-first-cardio-or-strength-training
  2. http://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2015/11000/WORLDWIDE_SURVEY_OF_FITNESS_TRENDS_FOR_2016__10th.5.aspx
  3. http://www.leisuredb.com/blog/2016/5/11/press-release-2016-state-of-the-uk-fitness-industry-report
  4. http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
  5. http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-tips/10-tips-endurance-training


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