1) The first thing an absolute beginner should do is visit his/her doctor and get the all-clear to begin a workout program that will include cardiovascular and weight training.
2) Decide on what are your goals. Do you want to lose body fat and tone up or do you want to gain weight? Doing both at the same time can be achieved too but is very difficult and can lead to zigzag diets.
3) A general guideline is that if your body fat is below 14% you should be ok to bulk up and gain some weight and body fat. If you are above 14% then you should try to first lose some fat and then try to gain the weight. Generally, anyone who has a body fat percentage of over 30% is considered to be obese.
4) Have a set nutrition plan before you begin training. 5-6 meals a day are an absolute MUST whether you want to lose bf or gain weight.
5) Have a set training regimen. If you have to, hire a personal trainer for a couple of sessions to show you how to perform the basic exercises. Ask for advice on your routines, either from knowledgeable people in the gym or in our forum.
6) Choose a gym that will have all the basic equipment (benches, squat racks, smiths, etc). If you go during peak hours (5 pm-8 pm) you should try and join the gym with the most equipment around. This will help you finish your workout faster and not wait for someone to get off your machine. Make sure your gym has personal trainers and helpful staff. Cleanliness is also a MUST!
7) Don’t just go to the gym to train chest and arms! If you want your progress to be fast you MUST train all muscles at least once per week.
8) Do not tax your body with unnecessary time in the gym. Go in, train hard, and get out of there as fast as you can! Growth takes place OUTSIDE the gym while you are eating healthy meals and while sleeping and resting.
9) Cardio training is a good tool for all beginners in order to help them gain some cardiovascular strength for strenuous weight workouts.
10) Always remember that you will progress faster if you constantly apply the following equation to your lifestyle:
TRAINING + MEALS + REST = GROWTH! If one or more components are missing, growth simply won’t take place and you’ll end up being very frustrated.