Everyone knows at least one person who is addicted to pumping iron at the gym and is there more often, it seems, than in class. Every time I go, I recognize at least some of the determined faces surrounding me, wrapped up in working out, some even bobbing their head to the pump-up music blasting from every speaker or iPod.
Looking around, anyone could easily identify the gym regulars: the guys with the huge muscular arms and six packs who seem to barely break a sweat, and the girls who look like they don’t have anything but muscle on their bodies and spend an hour on the elliptical machine. Then, there’s my group of gym attendees, those who go about once or twice a week, along with the Drake-inspired playlist, and can’t take more than an hour of working out before spontaneously collapsing. But do those who go to the gym whenever they can get the same effects as the frequent gym aficionados? And why is the gym so appealing to some, and a dreaded necessity for others?
“I go to the gym every day to feel good about myself and my body,” said Natalie Hodge, a Concordia French translation student. “It’s part of my routine.” Even on the days she feels lazy, she’ll drag herself out of bed to hit the gym, which provides that much-needed energy boost so many of us lack.
Jessica Wilson, a gym enthusiast studying studio art at Concordia, feels the same need to go daily. “I go five to six times a week,” she said. “I like to be fit, and I’ve spent most of my life as an athlete so being active is important to me.”
To get the best results, Daniel Roy, a trainer at Le Gym on Concordia’s downtown campus, says the amount of exercise required varies from person to person. “It depends on people’s schedules, or how they’re going to get here, and the amount of time they have,” he said. “Ideally, if you can get here three days a week, I’d say you’d get the best results that way.
Three days a week, on average, is manageable for most students. Roy also encourages getting to the gym at roughly the same time for each visit, which is also easier on a student’s schedule. Nathan Hartill, a Concordia political science student, visits Le Gym five times a week, for about an hour and a half per day. “I go because it makes me feel good, and I know that I’m staying in shape,” he said.
Roy, who has been a trainer at Le Gym for nearly five years since it opened, said that the training itself also has an impact on your results. “If you’re efficient with your time, you can get really good results.” He added that the type of training you do can also help or hinder your results.
“[It’s important to be] combining cardiovascular exercises with a variety of different body weight exercises or strength training type of exercises. Someone could really get more benefit from that than being stagnant or just doing nothing.” Going on the treadmill for 45 minutes isn’t the most ideal way to lose weight, Roy added.
“If you just want to get in shape, the exercises where you work the larger muscle groups are the ones where you get the most bang for your buck, because they’ll burn the most calories for you in the long run. A lot of guys will come and do biceps, and that’s great esthetically, but if your focus is on only that, sometimes its harder to reach your goal.”
Exercises that are the most beneficial include squatting exercises, because they work both lower body and abdominal muscles, and workout machines tone more than one muscle group.
Brandan Tannis, a first year JMSB student, follows Roy’s suggestion. He goes to the gym and focuses on toning various muscle groups for one hour at least three times a week. “I need to stay in shape. In high school I’d be playing on some sort of team, so I’d always be active. In university, all we do is eat and sit around,” he said.
Ultimately, though, the workout depends on the individual. “Everybody has got different goals. Some people want to get a lot stronger, so then they might not focus too much on biking or running or cardiovascular exercises, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get cardio workouts from doing strength type exercises like circuit training,” said Roy. Even in the case of working out at the gym, and even though everyone is there for similar reasons, to each his or her own.
Know which exercises benefit your body type:
Many people assume that a hard workout at the gym will provide the same results for everyone. However, an important factor to take into consideration is the type of body that you have. There are three basic body types: Mesomorph, ectomorph, and endomorph.
Mesomorphs are muscular and are fortunate because they can easily increase in muscle size. They have a rectangular body shape and characteristically have a well-defined chest and shoulders. Generally, mesomorphs have larger and broader shoulders than their waistline but the hips are about the same size as the shoulders. These are usually the giant muscle men you see at the gym working out their veiny biceps. The downside is that mesomorphs gain weight easily and therefore should watch their calorie intake. A mix of cardio and weight training works best for mesomorphs.
Ectomorphs are the lanky, tall and thin body types. They have trouble gaining weight due to their fast metabolism. In order for ectomorphs to gain muscle mass it is recommended that they stick to short and intense workouts to stick to the lean muscle gain. Supplements may be required.
Endomorphs usually have solid and soft bodies.They tend to have a shorter build with thick legs and arms and they gain fat very easily due to a slow metabolism. Endomorphs have strong leg muscles and excel in exercises such as the squat. However, to keep fat gain to a minimum they must mix cardio and weight training.