If you are reading this, you are probably pathetically weak. I mean this in a completely kind and respectful manner, but I know what you are like. You twist a plastic water bottle cap until your hands are raw, and the cap probably still has not budged. You are built like a grain of dust. Your bones are made of glass and they crack every time you get out of bed. But worry not, for the gym is your key to being able to walk more than four steps without passing out. As a professional gym-goer, I am here to offer my wise and accurate advice to mastering the gym experience.
The first thing you need to know is to never enter the weight room. The moment you step in the doorway, you will see a sight your mortal eyes cannot handle. Everyone in the weight room is absolutely ripped. They almost always have some kind of earbuds or headphones on, music blasting, their soulless eyes boring into yours as you quiver in the entrance while they easily bench 225 pounds with no sweat. Their arms are most definitely bigger than your head. All I can tell you is to not enter the weight room if you value your life.
“But when can I enter the weight room?” you may be asking. Only the weight room can answer that question.
Until then, move on. Go for the cycling machine or the treadmills to warm up. If you do not get your body accustomed to doing things other than sitting in a chair or laying in bed, you will die from the shock of having to actually move your muscles. This is why I highly recommend starting with some cardio until you get used to moving your limbs for more than 30 seconds.
Once you feel ready to enter the next phase of your gym routine, consider what part of your body you want to work on. Legs? Arm? Back? Whatever it is, only focus on that one part of your body. If you try to work every single body part in one gym trip, you may as well start living there because you will not be making it home. Once you have picked what part of your body you will be training, find machines that are designed to develop the muscle within that body part. I personally am not a fan of these torture machines designed to build your muscles, like the ones on the first few floors of the Aquatic & Fitness Center. But if you are braver than I am and mildly illiterate, which you probably are, you can go for the machines that have diagrams illustrating how to operate them — pictures are worth a thousand words.
“But when can I enter the weight room?” you may be asking. “I don’t want to do the machines. I want to use the free weights.” The difference is that in the weight room, you have to face the scrutiny of the various Greek gods lifting weights around you. With the machines, there is no one to judge you but the freshly sanitized seat and the clanging metal.
Since you are built like a deflated balloon, do not be a Chad and start with the amount of weight the experienced person before you left on the machine. You will not be able to handle it and then you will feel the extreme shame of either floating in the air because you were so weak the bar started pulling you up, or you will create a sonic boom attracting everyone’s attention because you could not control the speed of the machine as you finished one rep — making an embarrassment of yourself and getting blacklisted from the gym for being too weak to be allowed inside. This has certainly not happened to me, just to be clear, but it is a potential concern for someone as inexperienced as yourself.
After you do a few reps without looking like you are about to shrivel up like a grape because you do not want other gym-goers knowing you are weaker than a stuffed teddy bear, quickly and discreetly switch the weights to something impressive like 45 pounds instead of the zero pounds you were struggling to lift earlier. This way, the person after you will develop a respectable opinion of you so you can return to the gym without being ridiculed.
If you are struggling to walk or move your arms post-exercise, you have done the right thing. You can triumphantly hobble away from the gym, head held high, having put on a convincing display of being a professional gym bro. Cherish that moment, because that will be the last time you will be able to walk for at least a few days.
Repeat this process a few times, and maybe one day you will be worthy enough to enter the weight room.