Anonymous asked: I'm considering putting on some muscle (and maybe some fat), but as a quite skinny guy I'm nervous about starting out, especially at the gym. Having been in this position, do you have any advice on starting to build muscle and getting over that nervousness?
The gym definitely can be an intimidating place, especially for someone just starting out. On top of it being difficult to know what to do and where to start with a routine, it can sometimes feel like you’re not welcome unless you’re already fit and experienced.
It sucks to be new at something, especially when it’s so public. I understand the fear of appearing weak or out of shape, or doing something improperly. I’ll admit I laugh to myself when I see someone doing something like lifting way too much for them, but mostly because I did the same thing when I first started.
My first gym was the college athletic center. It was two stories—on the second floor was the cardio equipment and the lighter weights and machines. The first floor was the jock zone—heavy weights, squat racks, bench presses, all that hardcore stuff, and swarming with guys so much bigger and stronger than I was.
It took me over a year (and the prodding of my boyfriend) to get up the gumption to go downstairs to work out, and that’s okay. It’s probably better to stick to the simple exercise-specific machines and such while you learn proper form and good routines for your level—the simple 3-day back-&-biceps, legs, chest-&-triceps split is a good go-to.
Once I did take the plunge to join the frat boys downstairs, I quickly found that it wasn’t all that scary. I was still a weak and skinny guy who couldn’t compare to most of them, and I made a ton of stupid mistakes of course, but no one really noticed.
There may always be a handful of meathead jerks around, but the majority of guys will be nothing but helpful and supportive. Hell, we were all beginners once. Everyone’s working towards similar goals, we’re just all at different stages of the journey.