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    Week 154 :: How Can You Make A Workout Appealing To A Beginner?

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    * Note: How can I win? Answer all questions in the order that they are asked.

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    TOPIC: How Can You Make A Workout Appealing To A Beginner?

    For the week of: 3/31 - 4/06
    Monday @ Midnight Is The Final Cut (Mountain Time, US & Canada).

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    Trying to get a friend to agree to start working out is not always the hardest part. The hardest part is actually getting them to stick with it. The transformation of one's body may sound very nice, but the actual effort that needs to be made in the gym is not always so appealing to a beginner.

    How can you make a workout appealing to a beginner? Be specific.

    What type of things should be taken into consideration when creating a workout for a beginner?

    What type of things should one avoid incorporating into a beginner's workout?

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    How can you make a workout appealing to a beginner? Be specific.
    You need to figure out what they want, and what they like. Some people want to lift heavy weights, others really like the feeling of being pumped. But most importantly, keep it fun.

    What type of things should be taken into consideration when creating a workout for a beginner?
    They are a beginner, so keep it simple. They also need to see why you love it so much. And keep it fun, most people don't want to be a bodybuilder, just fit. Also remember, they don't know the form yet, so dont incorporate any high skill lifts.

    What type of things should one avoid incorporating in?to a beginner's workout?

    To many isolation moves, i mean come on who doesn't love to bench versus doing cable flies. Also make sure it doesn't get to complicated. Or to high volume. My favorite workout for a beginner is 1 compound exercise per body part, and 1 isolation movement per. do that for 2 sets of 10-15 reps.
    ex. 2x10-15 incline benches, and 2x incline flies.
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    How Can You Make A Workout Appealing to a Beginner?

    Trying to get a friend to agree to start working out is not always the hardest part. The hardest part is actually getting them to stick with it. The transformation of one's body may sound very nice, but the actual effort that needs to be made in the gym is not always so appealing to a beginner.

    I'm not a workout professional but I have been a beginner in terms of working out. (In many ways, I still am!) It was a friend that got me back into working out after years of being away from it. Putting myself in the shoes of the beginner I would say that he first place to start is by identifying expectations. Barring any sort of psychological disorder, it?s fair to say that everyone one wants a rockin? body but weeding through all the nonsense in terms of fitness can be very defeating.

    How can you make a workout appealing to a beginner? Be specific.

    I think that many of the things that keep people from making changes is fear of the unknown, fear of looking foolish, and lack of belief that their efforts will pay-off. If the beginner isn't one to take chances then appealing to their sense of adventure isn't going to motivate them to hit the gym and exercise. In fact, doing so may send them in the opposite direction! Reciprocal relationships are the best so if you want this person to start exercising, then commit to be their workout buddy a few times per week, and then make sure that you are spending time with them doing something that they love as well (provided it?s not pigging out at McDonald's). Maybe for every two hour romantic comedy that you have to endure (GAG!) they agree to give you back in time with you at the gym? Also, how you ask them to begin a regular exercise routine can make all the difference. Saying, "I enjoy spending time with you and I want to share something that I love to do with you" will likely have a more positive impact than "Gee, I really wish that you would take better care of yourself and start exercising." The former says that you care about the person but the latter says that they embarrass you.

    So, how do you go from exercise agreement to follow-through? Rule #1 is that short-term goals are the key to long-term success. An absolute newbie to exercise and fitness is not going to be motivated by what they could look like a 6 months to a year from now! One of the concepts that I had to commit to when I first began working out regularly was that it takes times for payoff! As humans we tend to want instant results but that just isn"t realistic. I don"t think anyone would expect to work at a job for one day and then expect to receive a full two-weeks-worth-of-work paycheck. In order to receive that kind of payoff you have to do the work first. The same is true for fitness. I think that this has to be stated in plain language to every beginner. No work, no pay! Mini-goals and two week progress checks create reinforcement of positive behavior. The conversation could be something akin to "Okay, Susie, I know that in a year you want to look like (such-and-so fitness model) but in two weeks what changes do you expect to see?" If they say that in two weeks they expect to look like such-and-so fitness model then you have someone with highly unrealistic expectations on your hands and straight talk is the only thing that will shock them into reality! And this is where mini-goals and two week progress checks come into play. For me it was, "In two weeks I want to eliminate sugar from my diet, lose 2lbs of body-fat, and be able to jog for 20 minutes straight on the treadmill 3 times per week." That was my first mini-goal. After two weeks, I saw results and wanted to see what would happen the next two weeks, and on and on and on. To a seasoned fitness buff or professional this may seem like nothing but to a fitness newbie this is a big hurdle.

    What type of things should be taken into consideration when creating a workout for a beginner?

    The obvious things to consider are health issues/restrictions, emotional issues, and the self-discipline level of the beginner. If the beginner has any health concerns they must be encouraged to see their doctor before beginning an exercise routine. If a person has a heart condition it probably isn't wise to encourage full-out sprints on a treadmill right off the bat! If a person is otherwise healthy, then encouraging exertion isn't such a bad idea but "too much too soon" is going to have a rebound effect of avoiding exercise. If you want your friend to stick with it, then don't expect them to instantly meet your level of fitness.

    Establishing the habit of exercise for a beginner is, I think, the most crucial step. One of the most frustrating things for beginners is merely establishing the habit of exercise. It's too easy to just do something else. Creating a habit-forming plan and then holding them accountable to the plan (in a non-domineering or threatening way) is essential. Humans are enjoyment-based, plain and simple. No one wants to do endlessly what they absolutely hate so if your newbie-to-exercise friend hates riding a bicycle then don't insist on taking spin classes together. If they like elliptical machines but you prefer to spin then suck it up and encourage the elliptical which brings me to the second frustration for newbie's: trying to live up to the unrealistic expectations of friends and trainers in terms of abilities when newbie's first begin establishing the fitness habit. What you believe is encouragement might actually be perceived by the newbie as being shoved in front of a freight-train. Everyone wants support but no one wants to be dominated and destroyed (unless, of course, you're into that sort of thing, in which case, that's a topic for another discussion and, hopefully, not on this website!).

    What type of things should one avoid incorporating into a beginner's workout?

    Everything has its own language, even fitness. However, beginners do not understand all the jargon so avoid talking to them as though they were born in a gym. If your newbie-to-exercise friend feels as though they need a translator to speak to you in the gym then chances are they aren't going to want to exercise regularly. Can you imagine being lost in a country where you didn't know the language and the one person that you actually knew refused to speak to you in your native tongue? Wouldn't you want to hide under a rock and never come out? Reps, sets, intervals, isometric, etc., may make sense to you but it's going to take your friend a while to get it. If it's your goal to show off what you know then get your ego-strokes someplace else. Keep it simple until they begin feeling confident and then build incrementally. Don't expect your newbie-to-fitness friend to spend 90 minutes in the gym 6 days per week straight out the gate. 30 minutes on a treadmill 3-5 times per week might be all that they can handle for the first few weeks and then a basic add-on of a simple weight routine that incorporates all the major muscle groups maybe twice a week thereafter. Machine can be very intimidating so sticking with a basic dumbbell routine is important to quell fear and build confidence.
    Last edited by littlesimone; 04-03-2009 at 11:02 AM. Reason: Typo
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    - How can you make a workout appealing to a beginner?
    Find out their goal, and include explosive movements. Show the beginner the results of following the workout (show examples), what they will achieve.

    - What type of things should be taken into consideration when creating a workout for a beginner?
    The person is a beginner. He/she is not accustomed to lifting heavy weights for a long time. The workouts should be kept easy, simple, and short.

    - What type of things should one avoid incorporating into a beginner's workout?
    Too many isolation movements, and high volume.

    Keep the workout short and sweet.
    A good example would be 4 compound movements and 2 isolation exercises.
    Upper body/lower body workouts and Full-Body workouts are great ways to incorporate a beginner into lifting.
    Lift, Grow, Conquer.
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    A Beginner's Workout

    Starting a new workout program is usually one of the hardest things to do. For the average person, the first 2 weeks of a program will be the hardest and the most miserable. After that, sticking with a program over the long term can be just as hard when life and other priorities get in the way.
    In order to make a workout appealing to a beginner, there are a few strategies that should be implemented to make the transition from being sedentary to being active:

    1) Workout with them
    A beginner needs someone to continuously push them and attend to all their questions and problems that may come up. It also helps a beginner to see you putting the work in as well, which helps them stay motivated because they are not the only one putting in the effort. Having someone to meet at a gym also puts pressure on them to show up. The best thing you can do to help a beginner is to go through the process with them. It provides a certain level of support and accountability that will make them not want to let you down.

    2) Set up a reasonable plan of attack
    Be reasonable with what you expect a beginner to do. Don?t throw the hardest workout you can muster up at a beginner. Give them something that you know they can handle. If they have no experience whatsoever, then focus on less intense exercises that will allow them to build up the necessary strength in their stability muscles before you increase the resistance and the intensity.

    3) Make sure you know what you are talking about
    I think the number one reason why people give up on diets and workout programs is because they simply don't work. The reality of the fitness community is that everyone thinks they know what they are talking about, yet very few people actually understand how the body works. Do your homework before you put someone on a workout and nutrition plan. You don't want to be the reason for their failure.

    4) Help them set up long-term goals
    If a beginner does not have serious long-term goals, then they can?t expect to succeed. They don't necessarily have to be specific, but there needs to be something to work towards. If a beginner is working out with no purpose behind what they are doing, then chances are that they will quit very shortly after they begin. You have to remember that fitness is a lifestyle choice. It is something that occurs day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year over the course of a lifetime. There needs to be a goal. This can be anything. It can simply be a goal to stay healthy and live a long life. It can be a goal to build muscle or it can be a goal to look good in a swimsuit. It can be extremely specific or very general in its scope, but there MUST be an end goal to work towards. It's a fundamental principle for achieving anything in life.

    Those 4 concepts are essentially the big 4 for helping out a beginner. Ultimately, it is up to them to commit to a workout regimen. You are only trying to help them out as much as you can. The big thing is to support them and to create a program that is reasonable for their level of fitness. Free-weight exercises and exercises involving stability balls should be the foundation for any beginner-level program. Keep beginners away from doing too many machine-based movements as this will make it hard for a beginner to build up their stability muscles. Be considerate and tailor a program that fits into the goals that the beginner wants to achieve. Keep things in perspective and remember that it is the beginner that is choosing to exercise. You are just an instrument to help them succeed. Don't force them to do something that they don?t want to do.
    Last edited by steveironpump; 04-04-2009 at 07:26 PM. Reason: q-marks
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    How can you make a workout appealing to a beginner? Be specific.

    I think that the reason most people start working out is to get big biceps, a big chest, and a nice set of abs, Over time, and as you have worked out for longer you will start to appreciate your triceps, back, and legs more.

    So to make a workout more appealing to a bigger, I would be sure to incorporate both compound and isolation exercises for abs, chest, and biceps so that they know they are working the muscles the want to improve. Don't let them only do what they want, but to sure to take into account what they want. The will come to learn what exercises the need to do over time!

    What type of things should be taken into consideration when creating a workout for a beginner?

    Mainly how many days to workout and what type of workout the beginner wants. I think 4 days a week is a good place to start for a split, and 3/week for a full body program. I would recommend a split to start, and probably a program like Rippetoe's in order to "milk" the newb gains for all they are worth.

    What type of things should one avoid incorporating into a beginner's workout?

    I think the biggest thing here is something that is often overlooked: work out with them when the gym is LEAST crowded. This may seem counter-intuitive, as you may want them looking at the more advanced bodybuilders and getting new goals/new role models.

    But, most beginners are very self conscious about their technique and especially how much weight they lift. I know for a fact that there are some days I wouldn't deadlift because I thought I would do it wrong and look like a fool or people would laugh at how little weight I was lifting. After a while I became more comfortable with my form and how much weight I was lifting, as well as noticing no one really cared how little or much I was lifting.
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    How can you make a workout appealing to a beginner?

    Many times individuals are turned off from exercise due to time and flat out laziness. When a beginner starts a workout routine it should be reasonable. Beginning with a program that does not take much time and focuses on basic compound movements is key. The appeal aspect is very cognitively oriented. Perhaps seeing your own face (the beginner) over the picture of a face of someone with satisfactory body will assist with motivation. Ensuring the beginner is aware of the astonishing accomplishment he/she will achieve with a well designed program will also aid in appeal.

    Simply listing benefits which are destined to be brought about with a well designed program. Some, benefits I have noticed:

    1) More attention from opposite sex (as well as same sex).
    2) Improved body composition
    3) Feelings of accomplishment
    4) Strength increases
    5) Improved mood
    6) Increased cardiovascular function
    7) Obtained knowledge about the human body

    Ensuring the beginner is well aware and anticipates positive changes (like those stated above) will increase the likely-hood of he/she sticking with the program.

    The basis to making an appealing program is the following concept: "You will reap great benefits (guaranteed) and it will not take up much of your time."


    What type of things should be taken into consideration when creating a workout for a beginner?

    It is important for the designer of the program to take three main things into consideration. 1) The beginners current physical condition and/or any existing medical issues. 2) How much time the beginner is willing to devote (aside from diet). 3) What the beginner expects in terms of results.



    What type of things should one avoid incorporating into a beginner's workout?

    Overwhelming the beginner with information and consuming too much of the beginner's time. The beginner needs to stay motivated. Bombarding him/her with information may turn the beginner off. Easing into a workout program is key.

    All in all, ensuring the beginner stays motivated and accepts a program which is moderately easy to endure; will have a high success rate.
    If you want drastic results you need to take drastic measures.
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    Smile Helping us beginners!

    This is great information, Steve! Thanks for a wonderful article!
    Originally Posted by steveironpump View Post
    Starting a new workout program is usually one of the hardest things to do. For the average person, the first 2 weeks of a program will be the hardest and the most miserable. After that, sticking with a program over the long term can be just as hard when life and other priorities get in the way.
    In order to make a workout appealing to a beginner, there are a few strategies that should be implemented to make the transition from being sedentary to being active:

    1) Workout with them
    A beginner needs someone to continuously push them and attend to all their questions and problems that may come up. It also helps a beginner to see you putting the work in as well, which helps them stay motivated because they are not the only one putting in the effort. Having someone to meet at a gym also puts pressure on them to show up. The best thing you can do to help a beginner is to go through the process with them. It provides a certain level of support and accountability that will make them not want to let you down.

    2) Set up a reasonable plan of attack
    Be reasonable with what you expect a beginner to do. Don?t throw the hardest workout you can muster up at a beginner. Give them something that you know they can handle. If they have no experience whatsoever, then focus on less intense exercises that will allow them to build up the necessary strength in their stability muscles before you increase the resistance and the intensity.

    3) Make sure you know what you are talking about
    I think the number one reason why people give up on diets and workout programs is because they simply don't work. The reality of the fitness community is that everyone thinks they know what they are talking about, yet very few people actually understand how the body works. Do your homework before you put someone on a workout and nutrition plan. You don't want to be the reason for their failure.

    4) Help them set up long-term goals
    If a beginner does not have serious long-term goals, then they can?t expect to succeed. They don't necessarily have to be specific, but there needs to be something to work towards. If a beginner is working out with no purpose behind what they are doing, then chances are that they will quit very shortly after they begin. You have to remember that fitness is a lifestyle choice. It is something that occurs day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year over the course of a lifetime. There needs to be a goal. This can be anything. It can simply be a goal to stay healthy and live a long life. It can be a goal to build muscle or it can be a goal to look good in a swimsuit. It can be extremely specific or very general in its scope, but there MUST be an end goal to work towards. It's a fundamental principle for achieving anything in life.

    Those 4 concepts are essentially the big 4 for helping out a beginner. Ultimately, it is up to them to commit to a workout regimen. You are only trying to help them out as much as you can. The big thing is to support them and to create a program that is reasonable for their level of fitness. Free-weight exercises and exercises involving stability balls should be the foundation for any beginner-level program. Keep beginners away from doing too many machine-based movements as this will make it hard for a beginner to build up their stability muscles. Be considerate and tailor a program that fits into the goals that the beginner wants to achieve. Keep things in perspective and remember that it is the beginner that is choosing to exercise. You are just an instrument to help them succeed. Don't force them to do something that they don?t want to do.
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    How can you make a workout appealing to a beginner? Be specific.
    The most important thing when looking at a someone who is new to working out is to make sure they are looking at the long term. An appealing workout plan is one that has a planned progression. I like a succession of workout plans that get progressively harder each month. For example; you have a 12 month plan with a different set of exercises each month. This give the beginner something to look forward to, the knowledge that no matter how hard a specific exercise is, it is only for a month. The next month is new, no more of last months stale workout with the hard exercises now there is something different.

    As for what specific exercises to choose I would choose simple exercises that often progress quickly for the first few months. An emphasis on arms for example can add confidence to a new lifter, the poundage's increase rapidly at first and the results are almost immediately visible.

    What type of things should be taken into consideration when creating a workout for a beginner?
    The thing that you must avoid at all costs are comparisons. If a beginner is comparing their bench press numbers to other peoples it will only discourage them.

    Another consideration is time. The workout will have to be short enough to keep the beginning trainer from copping out by saying they don't have time. Also since for the beginner working out is not the priority in their life I would not make the workout a daily thing, there should be plenty of days off so the beginner can workaround their existing priorities.

    What type of things should one avoid incorporating into a beginner's workout?
    No complicated exercises. Highly technical lifts are very discouraging to the new lifter, if they can't even get the techniques down they will be quickly discouraged and not feel they can ever progress.

    In this vein I would also avoid some of the more painful exercises for at least the first couple of months. Calves for me hurt while I'm doing them, and had they been one of my very first exercises I would probably have quit. Squats also kill me for the next few days, while they are a huge muscle builder they could be quite discouraging to a new lifter if they spend the tree day after every workout in constant pain.
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    Wink How can you Make a Workout Appealing to a Beginner?

    How can you make a workout appealing to a beginner? Be specific

    Working out can be a very exciting, adventurous experience. It can also, however, be scary and unnerving. Everyone knows the benefits of exercise and living a health conscious life but it can appear too much of a challenge to maintain. They are usually not aware of all of their options and get bored with the ones they are more familiar with.

    As a friend, personal trainer, or whatever role you?re playing, you should emphasize to the Newbie that this can be fun and rewarding if they look at it in that positive light.

    In order to help them with adherence to an exercise program, find out what their interests are. Encourage them to broaden their horizons and experiment with new things as well. From here we find out what their goals are. Consider both their interests and goals when formulating their workout.

    Take ?Before? pictures and ?Before? measurements of all areas, especially those that are pertaining directly to their goals. This way they can track their progress. The scale is not always a good indicator of your progress. Seeing that you?re losing inches is great motivation to keep going.

    What type of things should be taken into consideration when creating a workout for a beginner?

    It?s good for you to know the various options available, as you can only teach what you know. If they want to focus on muscular strength and building lean muscle, initiate a workout routine using machine weights. With a machine, it?s usually only one way to complete the exercise and therefore leaves little to no room for injury. They more than likely will not know proper technique; therefore introducing them directly to free weights poses greater risk of injury. As we all know TECHNIQUE IS EVERYTHING! In addition to injury, they?re more than likely wasting their time using too little or too much weight, unaware of their own strength.

    If their goal is to tone up and achieve greater flexibility, you may want to suggest attending a Yoga or Pilate?s class at a fitness center.

    They may be interested in swimming in which case he could begin swimming lessons at the YMCA or go to the neighborhood pool and perform a couple of underwater exercises.

    You?d also want to introduce them to multiple exercises that can be performed right at home simply using bodyweight and house furniture. One of the main reasons people don?t workout is because they insist on the lack of time. It would be quite convenient for them to be able to workout and not have to leave the comfort of their own home. Plus, if they can?t make it to the gym, they don?t beat themselves up and become complacent with guilt. I?ve begun building a home gym of my own and use it quite often. There isn?t always time to drive across town to Bally?s. Plus, it?s a whole lot cheaper. I also enjoy Fit TV and have introduced it to a lot of people. It features a lot of workout programs such as aerobics, salsa dancing, and yoga and a number of other options to enjoy at home.

    The obvious option is if they want to workout in the gym but want to avoid getting bored easily; give them a circuit to try. This is composed of 4-10 exercises working the upper body, lower body, core, or full body. It makes the time fly and keeps them guessing. Give them adequate rest in between exercises and sets and HAVE FUN WITH IT!

    One very important aspect of fitness that even the buffs look over is to enforce stretching. Stretching needs to take place before and after your workout. It prevents injury to the joints and muscles. It also lessens soreness the morning after which they?ll be thanking you for.

    What type of things should one avoid incorporating into a beginner's workout?

    Don?t do so much that they can?t walk the next day. This is a common mistake a lot of people make. They get so sore that they don?t want to go back the next day or the next or the next. Before they know it, it?s been two weeks and they feel like they?re starting all over.

    Don?t encourage working out for more than an hour. If they feel like they have to train for too long, this will be another excuse to not workout.

    Know what type of person you?re dealing with and what type of reinforcement they need. If they prefer positive reinforcement and you?re beating them over the head with guilt and drumming all of the benefits down their throats to motivate them, they?ll be running for the nearest exit. Understand the notion of ?Different strokes for different folks?.
    I Hate Excuses!

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  11. #11
    PhD in Broscience, 2009 soundcheck129's Avatar
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    Trying to get a friend to agree to start working out is not always the hardest part. The hardest part is actually getting them to stick with it. The transformation of one's body may sound very nice, but the actual effort that needs to be made in the gym is not always so appealing to a beginner.

    For those just beginning weight training, the gym can be a scary place. Everyone already seems to have a perfect physique and a lot of training knowledge, so a skinny person just starting out can be easily intimidated. And while a burst of initial enthusiasm for trying something new may be enough to overcome these first impressions, long-term commitment requires a lot of dedication and hard work. Learning to love weight training isn't impossible, though, and there are plenty of iron addicts worldwide who prove that point. Luckily, there are some simple ways to instill appreciation in the next generation of exercise enthusiasts.

    How can you make a workout appealing to a beginner? Be specific.

    THE IMPORTANCE OF TEAMWORK

    Having a partner is key - beginning a new activity is hard enough as it is, and having to do it alone only adds to the anxiety. Having a partner allows the beginner to be more comfortable and provides a friendly face for support, guidance and answering questions.

    Start Small

    If possible, the first few workouts should be in a comfortable setting, such as a home or school gym. A massive, unfamiliar gym can intimidate your partner and make him or her dread coming back. Having a familiar surrounding, such as one of your houses, eliminates this factor and will put the beginner more at ease. A smaller gym with fewer people also offers fewer distractions and you can be sure that your workout and instruction will be uninterrupted. A smaller setting will also have fewer people to 'judge' your friend if he or she is uncomfortable about body image or relative lack of knowledge.

    Keep it Exciting

    Try to portray work outs as fun time, not work time. If you're in your own space, pump some tunes or do treadmill work in front of the television or video game system. Don't be afraid to have a little fun. Everything doesn't have to be deathly serious - joke around, laugh, talk and have a good time. This will put a beginner at ease and can possibly make him forget that he's actually working out!

    Give them Control

    One way to increase interest and make things more fun is to allow the beginner to have input. Once you have taught your friend the basics of what exercises affect which body parts and such, let him or her have a hand at designing a split, or at the very least an individual workout or two. Chances are, he'll pick exercises that he enjoys most as well as those that target the muscle groups he sees as a priority. This should keep the beginner interested and also gives him a reason to work harder. Seeing results from something the beginner has designed also instills a sense of pride.

    Introduce the Regulars

    If you go to the gym often, you've probably made other friends there. Every gym has its regulars - the people you can rely on seeing every time you go in. Whether they are staff members or just dedicated athletes, regulars tend to know everyone and are confident. This is a great person for your beginning friend to meet, as they can help and provide encouragement if you're not around. In addition, knowing a regular will help your friend feel accepted and will make going to the gym feel like more of a social event than a chore.

    Track Progress

    Taking progress pictures or just keeping a journal - whether on the forums or with pen and paper - is a great way to keep interest high. This will give your beginning friend a sense of purpose and a way to see achievement. No one wants to feel as though he is spinning his wheels. A journal and progress pictures will let your friend see if he is getting stronger, bigger, slimmer or whatever the goal is. This adds a visible element to the hard work and gives your friend something to be proud of and provides inspiration.

    Another part of this is setting realistic goals - your friend will have something to be proud of if he or she can reach a certain weight of body fat level. This will also provide a reason to work hard and get to the gym whenever possible.

    Switch Things Up

    Those training for competitions or sports will already have a lot of motivation, so training in the same style or using the same lifts on a regular basis. For a recreational, more casual lifter, especially a beginner, this probably isn't going to be that entertaining. To keep things fresh for your beginning friend, switch up routines and exercises, even training protocol (MadCow, DC, Rippetoe, etc). Try to cater to their interests - if they despise cardio, having five sessions per week won't keep them wanting to come back for more.

    Be Mindful of Their Schedule

    Any activity is not going to be welcomed if it clashes with a person's usual routine. Make sure that when you lift with your friend, you're not forcing him to skip out on a favorite activity. Also, if your friend is not a morning person, don't wake him up at 5am to exercise. Placing workouts at inconvenient times will make your friend less likely to continue. But if you workout during a time that your friend might otherwise be sitting around bored, he will be more enthusiastic about it. The sooner you incorporate lifting into a routine as a habitual action, the more likely your friend will be to continue.

    Provide Motivation

    Everyone needs motivation, and I believe it provides much better results. So get your friend pumped up! Show him some motivational videos or competitions. Start watching World's Strongest Man. Burn a special workout mix on a CD. Demonstrate how much lifting can improve their performance in their favorite sport. Introduce them to some members of opposite sex at the gym, or have someone pay them a compliment. These little things can add up to a lot of motivation and fun.

    Get Competitive

    Making things competitive can always make things fun. While logging workouts provides some self-competition, going head to head can make things even more interesting. Challenge each other to a maximum lift or maximum repetition contest, or even something outside the gym such as tire-flipping. Obviously, proper safety precautions and common sense should be used at all times. Because lifting is mostly an individual pursuit, adding a competitive edge will spice things up and make it more interactive and social.

    What type of things should be taken into consideration when creating a workout for a beginner?

    Interests/Sports

    No matter what your reason for lifting, you should take into consideration what your friend wants to accomplish as well. If your friend is beginning to lift to improve for a sport, try to find some exercises or drills that improve agility, cardiovascular endurance, and explosive strength and power. Trying to add 50 pounds of mass onto a sprinter or distance runner isn't going to help him out at all, even if that's your goal personally. Also, if your friend has exhausting practices on some days, try to avoid scheduling workouts on those days.

    Knowledge

    Chances are, your friend doesn't know much about lifting if he is just beginning. However, don't assume this. Before you start teaching things in a dumbed-down matter, make sure you're not boring your friend with things he already knows. But if his knowledge is limited, make sure you aren't blowing through things without explaining why they are done. Let them know about the importance of stretching, rest, nutrition and supplementation.

    Strength/Experience

    While everyone wants to push around heavy weights, this isn't appropriate for those who have no experience. Rushing into things and ego lifting is nothing more than a good way to get injured. On the other hand, starting out with 5lb weights for someone who is just beginning lifting but has played football for years isn't going to provide a benefit either. Make sure you explain exercises that need to be explained and guide your beginner friend on proper form. If they are not ready for more complex lifts, do not rush them to try to catch up to you, everyone works at their own pace.

    Time Commitment

    Take care to understand how much time your friend wants to dedicate to lifting. Though you may be in the gym everyday, this sort of dedication is not for everyone. At first, your friend may not want to commit a lot of time to lifting, and that's fine. Let him get familiar with it first. Try to keep sessions to a reasonable length and don't start out with very technical 6-day splits with isolation exercises. Many beginners start out with only three full-body workouts per week, and that's fine. This will help your friend ease into things and decide whether or not he wants to make a lifestyle out of it or just maintain it as a hobby.

    Listen

    This point cannot be stressed enough. Listening to what your friend likes and dislikes about training is key in making sure he has fun. While you will do a lot of talking because you are teaching, make sure you stop from time to time and gather input. If your beginner friend isn't saying much, ask for his opinion. This will make him feel valued and involved in the process, which will make it more enjoyable. Let him know you're open to anything he has to say.
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  12. #12
    PhD in Broscience, 2009 soundcheck129's Avatar
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    Part II

    What type of things should one avoid incorporating into a beginner's workout?

    Too Many Sessions

    Splitting up a beginner workout program into too many sessions causes a number of problems. First, it will tire the beginner out, because his recovery isn't going to be as quick as a more developed, experienced lifter. His body is not going to be used to the stress, and he will surely not be a happy camper. In addition, lifting every day or nearly every day is a huge commitment and will feel like too much for a beginner. It can also have a detrimental effect on your friend's social life and possibly school work, which will not be appreciated. Lastly, splits such as these focus on isolation exercises focused specifically on individual muscles, which is not an appropriate way to approach training for a beginner.

    Marathon Sessions

    Making workouts a serious test of endurance is never a good idea, either. In addition to not having the athletic prowess to complete the session, a beginner will probably grow frustrated and bored. Even most hardcore lifters don't lift all day, and you should stress that wearing oneself out with tons of volume isn't going to lead to muscle gain. Keep sessions between half and hour and an hour - let your friend have a life too.

    Advanced Techniques

    Drop sets, pre-exhaustion and other advanced training techniques are not appropriate for beginners. Their muscles will not be ready for the strain, and being sore for a few days isn't going to be very fun. Your friend's introduction to the world of lifting should be as painless as possible, so don't do 20 sets when eight will suffice. A beginner isn't going to need insanely intense muscle stimulation to see gains.

    No Pain, No Gain Attitude

    In any activity, attitude can make all the difference. Because a lot of testosterone is buzzing around the weight room, it can be an intimidating place with a lot of machismo and ego. Do your best to keep your friend isolated from this. If he or she wants to take a day off or rest for a little bit during the session, don't act like it's the end of the world and complain about a lack of dedication. Fun is the first concern here, and being too demanding is going to ruin that. Don't be your friend's drill sergeant, be an encouraging partner. Reassure him that he has just as much right to be at the gym as the guy squatting 600lbs.

    Unfair Comparison

    Don't focus on numbers too much in regard to your friend's lifting. It can be discouraging to be struggling with weights that others use to warm up, but everyone has to start somewhere. Make sure you let him know that your stats weren't very impressive during your first sessions either. Don't brag about how much weight you lift now, or try to get him to squeeze out another set by saying that you could lift the bar with two fingers. Along the same lines, don't let your friend be discouraged by other lifters who are stronger and more experienced. Everyone progresses at their own speed, and lifting a ton of weight doesn't mean anything if your friend isn't enjoying it.
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  13. #13
    Unleashed Berserker_Titan's Avatar
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    If possible, I'd like to clarify a couple of the points I wrote in my first post:

    " Show the beginner the results of following the workout (show examples), what they will achieve. "

    What I meant was, pictures of pro bodybuilders, pictures of people who have followed a similar routine, show them the great feeling working out brings, and how it improves health.
    Lift, Grow, Conquer.
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  14. #14
    Registered User AnthonyBishop's Avatar
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    Who won?

    I'm really surprised this thread wasn't a lot longer.
    If you want drastic results you need to take drastic measures.
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