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Nervous Beginner

Been doing a lot of research in weightlifting, nutrition etc. Joined my local gym which has everything I need but I just don’t have the confidence to go up the weights and get shit done! The staff give me advice which is the complete opposite to what I see online. I want to concentrate on compound lifts at first but I don’t want to bench, squat or even deadlift because I feel I’ll look like a complete dick!

Just get in there and lift an empty bar my friend, that is it. Don’t worry about the weight.

Squat and bench on one day-- and the next day, deadlift and do overhead press. Don’t make it complicated, just learn those lifts with an empty bar.

Try doing 5 sets of 5 reps with an empty bar and try to mimic the best you can to what you see experienced lifters doing. Next time you go, add 5 lbs to the bar.

Don’t feel like a chump lifting an empty bar, remember anybody who is truly a strong guy/gal is going to respect what you’re doing. Everyone has to start somewhere, and there is absolutely no shame in being a beginner and having the desire to learn something new.


As in?

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^this. I’m intrigued

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Me too

@bulldog9899 @lil.greggy @MarkKO

“Macronutrients? Na don’t worry about them just loads of protein, you’ll be fine”

“So you want to lose weight before building muscle…loads of cardio, light weights, high reps”

“No, don’t worry about HIIT for muscle preservation, asking as you’re eating sufficient protein it’ll be fine”

By looking at those a quotes from the staff, you can guess what I read online was quite the opposite.

Everyone who lifts was new at one point so we all know how it is. Just put some good workout music on and get in your own zone. Most people who are serious about lifting are usually working out so hard their not even focusing on you. You’re taking all the right steps, don’t let other people affect your gains.

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Staff and “Bros” will always tell you to do something you aren’t.When I started squatting and bench they tole me to use the smith machine as I looked out of balance on those lifts and when I did deadlifts they said it will break my back and when I locked out on overhead presses they said locking out will destroy your joints.When I did Bench press with the empty bar for the first time I was so weak the bar wobbled and my arms trembled a lot.Could not even overhead press the empty oly bar so I used the women’s olympic bar.Just keep going.I bench 280lbs now but I am still trying and will keep trying hard to get better form and adding weight to the bar.Always try to do better than you did last time.


Start with the bar until you feel comfortable performing the lifts. Most people are too busy and will hardly notice what you’re doing in the gym unless you’re doing some stupid (far too much weight on the bar etc). Most people are nervous the first time they go to a gym but you’ll be fine once you’ve done the lifts once.

You’ll need to learn to ignore people giving advice. The vast majority of people don’t know what they are talking about but still like to give their opinions. Be best if you follow a proven program to start with.

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Who so? Self conscious about form or do you belong to a gym where they are not routinely preformed?

If the actually staff members are saying this… it tells me they have no formal education what so ever nor do they have any actual experience and SHOULD NOT be advising anyone on anything. Its been my experience in some of the main stream Fitness chains ( I refuse to use the term gym on principle ) Have staff members who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. Yes it is a generalization on my part and that might not be the case in some places.

FYI… Best advice for someone just beginning that I will give is Don’t over think stuff


As an experienced lifter with a bodybuilding emphasis and former personal trainer I can explain this quite easily. The majority of your personal trainers are new to the field and simply have an enthusiasm for lifting. Most are still in college or just finished. They haven’t really had the time to run their body through multiple pursuits such as adding muscle, losing fat, and training for brute strength.

This was me at one point. I loved lifting but my only experience was from a skinny guy trying to bulk (and I had success). I was never overweight so I didn’t have the experience of losing fat. I always trained for muscle mass. Strength came with it but I never pursued strength aggressively.

So as a new/young trainer you inevitably get “mentored” by one of the experienced trainers at your gym. More often than not this guy/gal is only slightly older than you and only successful in terms of their number of clients. It doesn’t actually mean they know what they’re doing. I worked at a couple different gyms over the years and the most “successful” personal trainers confused their clients on the first visit and convinced them that they needed a trainer to come work out. The clients had no confidence in their own abilities so they relied on their trainers. That’s great for making money but terrible as a human being. I’m a terrible personal trainer because I will teach you how to accomplish your goals on your own which puts me out of a job.

These same trainers typically jump on the bandwagon of whatever is new and popular. Example: functional training. Of course you need to stand on a Bosu ball and do single arm cable rows while balancing on one foot. It’s functional. Or you could train on a stable surface and build up your strength base and train core separately and get more out of it.

So short story, long… these trainers are spouting out whatever they read on bodybuilding.com recently or what the club fitness guru told them. And by the way, the fitness guru is typically one of two people: 1) the resident meat head who has about 3 years of assisted training experience, 2) a 5’9" 150lb cardio enthusiast.

These are obviously extreme examples. Occasionally you’ll find a very well educated and experienced trainer who can actually help people… but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case at your gym.


What are your goals.We’d be glad to give you many different approaches to reaching them

At that point all you’ll have to do is pick the one that sounds more enjoyable and reach your dream body while having fun

It really is that simple

As for looking like a dick or whatever,to who?Opinions carry the weight we give them.Ignore assholes that have no impact in your life and do your thing

Hope that helps

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This is why I could never go into that field… because that is my mind set. I feel Personal trainers should act as teachers. Bodybuilding legend Bill Pearl I believe, once called personal training a racket.

Yeah, self conscious about form. Most people would laugh rather than coming up to you and showing you the proper way.

I want to grow but I would say I need to slim down on the gut and legs first, I have a weird bodyshape. Skinny arms, tubby stomach, there’s a lot of fat to get rid of.

The person above mentioned StrongLifts, is that a good place to start?

I certainly don’t want to generalize this to all personal trainers, but I admit that I’ve had this thought more than once, that the most successful trainers are likely to be the ones who make clients feel “dependent” on them.

My wife’s sister and brother-in-law work out regularly with a trainer. My wife’s best friend works out regularly with a trainer. A few of the docs that I work with regularly work out with a trainer. I don’t think any of them has made nearly the degree of progress that warrants the expense, but I am sure they feel like they can’t go to the gym unless they have a trainer making up workouts for them.

I went for the first time with a friend, we just squatted together and used some dumbells.

Next time I went in I was starting 5x5, everything with the empy bar. Just do it. Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t worry about it, and people are too busy looking at the mirror anyways.


This is good advice. Start a log on here if you want. It’s a good way to get feedback.


I’ve been a member at probably 15 different gyms in my life, and I’ve visited countless more. I’ve actually never been in a gym where this is the predominant culture. Might I ask what part of the world you live in, and what gym you’re going to? This is just very surprising. The vast majority of lifters are supportive people. Sometimes they’re assholes about using equipment. but in my experience, it’s extraordinarily rare to see someone actually laughed at simply based on the fact that they are new to the gym. Part of me believes that, unless you’re living in a country that is quite a bit different from the US, that this may be a little bit more in your head and less grounded in reality. At least I’m hoping so!

Regardless, the solution is still to perform the most effective lifts for your goals when you go to the gym. There’s no way to get around this. If benching and squatting is what you want to do, you need to do it, regardless of the opinion of others.


I didn’t mean to separate this into 2 posts, but this is on a tangent from my first response, so I’ll go with it.

I started lifting at 125 lbs bodyweight. I was, without question, the weakest guy in my college gym. I had legitimate trouble benching an empty bar. My arms shook like crazy, I needed help unracking it, required a spotter the entire time, and I wasn’t getting more than a few reps. It’s been 15 years, and I still remember how daunting the weightlifting experience seemed to me at the time. I had similar fears. Fears of being made fun of, fears of failure, fear of displaying my utter weakness. And then there’s the fact that this is a process that takes time, and it can be frustrating. I wanted to get past being the weakest guy in the gym as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen over night. I would look around and compare myself to others. And I remember, after several months, feeling like ‘hey, I might be stronger than that guy over there’. That’s when it started to snowball a little for me, and I got a little more comfortable.

Today, if I walk into a regular commercial gym, there is a high chance I won’t be able to find anyone who is stronger than me.

Anyway. This is basically to say: If I could do it, you could do it.


Similar experience for myself, although I was athletic my first real training day was the most humbling experience. I couldnt do a pull up or bench more than a bar and it was very awkward. Even pushups were hard. But sucking that bad made me want to work to get better.