Welcome, fellow skinny guys, to our very first in the “How To” series! Hopefully by now you’re motivated and want to start your very own Skinny Transformation Project. You’re definitely going to need a few things: motivation, food, and a gym to have a successful skinny transformation.
How to Pick a GymThere are many factors you should consider when trying to figure out where to plop down your money on a gym membership. We’ll go through a things that I think are important when you’re deciding on how to pick a gym.
The gym should have the right equipmentAh, this is probably the most important one. You’re not going to get beastly in your skinny transformation by doing lifts with 5 lb dumbbells (not to say that there isn’t a place for light dumbbells, but it can’t be the only thing around!) Here are what I consider the essentials your gym should have:
a) A power rack aka Squat cage, squat rack . It goes by many names but whatever you call it, it’s invaluable to the core lifts you’ll end up doing. Essentially, it’s one of the safest and best places to do a bench press, squat, dead lift, or rack pull. You can put safety bars at different heights that basically act as spotters in case you get stuck in a hard position, you can just slowly rest the bar and weight onto the safety bars. (And then take a deep breath and sigh of relief that you didn’t get squished with all that weight on you!)
Something like this here:
b) Cable machines. These are great machines that work well to target specific muscle groups. Versatility is its forte; you can do arm and triceps work, shoulders, and strengthening the muscles of your posterior chain. Something like this:
C) Dumbbells. Heavy dumbbells! Once you’re full into the swing of things with your Skinny Transformation project, you’ll notice increases in your man strength. You’ll need the corresponding weights to keep progressing. You’ll probably start using the 20’s, but then find yourself reaching for the 30s, 40s, 50s, and more — especially with rapid strength increases in certain exercises such as dumbbell squats. I would recommend that your gym has up to at least 100 lb dumbbells. Yep, 100 lbs. I’ve been doing goblet squats with a 100lb dumbbell and it’s a challenging exercise. I probably could go higher, say if my gym had 120 lb weights, but the 100s keep me busy. I don’t think I’d need anything more than 80-90 lb dumbbells eventually for any other free weight exercises.
A skinny transformation friendly environmentWhat I mean by this, is that you should feel comfortable working out in your gym. You’re not going to ever gain weight as a skinny guy if you feel too awkward or weird to even set foot in your gym. Case in point when I was trying to pick a gym I saw two extremes of environment. On one hand, I was doing a free trial at a gym that had a lot of stereotypical “meatheads” — 200 lb gorillas that were grunting and making lots of noise while tossing around weights. And then the gorillas would stand around talking to other gorillas about their latest debaucherous activity at the bar, oogling every girl that walks by and generally wasting time. I asked one guy if he was using a bench, and he said yes, he had a few more sets left. He then proceeded to do triceps extensions next to the bench, while using the bench as a cup holder for his waterbottle! I was less than impressed. The next gym I checked out was almost the polar opposite of the one above. It clearly served a different clientelle. It didn’t look like anyone was trying to gain weight or muscle. Rather, everyone was pedaling away on stationary bikes or on the treadmill walking, trying to lose weight. The gym actively discouraged the “meatheads” I described above, actually so much so that there were no power racks, and free weights only went up to 40 lbs. Finally, here are a few other important factors to consider when picking a gym, in no particular order:
- Cost: totally dependent on your financial situation. Gym memberships can cost as little as $1o/month or up to $100! Try to find a nice balance with cost as you’ll want to save some money for food to feed your skinny transformation as well.
- Hours: how flexible are the hours of operation? Does it align with your life / work schedule? I decided that I needed a gym that was basically open 24 hours because of all of the random hours I have to work. Sometimes I’ll need early morning workouts, other times late at night.
- Popularity. aka...how busy is it? Go check out the gym at prime workout hours, for instance between 5-7 pm. If it looks like you’ll have to wait 20 minutes just to get a bench, it may not be worth your time.
- The Bonuses: do they have extra perks? Free shakes ? Swimming pool? Basketball court for you to shoot around on non-workout days? Good personal trainers in case you need to ask them something? Can you bring a friend or family member for free?
So I ultimately chose a gym that was only $30 a month, had 4 squat racks, dumbbells up to 100lbs, open 24 hours a day and a good mix of younger / older people. I decided to forgo the fancy bonuses like pool, basketball court, and classes.
Hopefully this guide was helpful so now you’ll know how to pick a gym!