Have you ever been into a gym and thought, what in the world are all of these machines for? Is their a proper or, more importantly, an improper way to use them? If you have ever experienced this non-comforting sensation you are not alone, congratulations, you have taken an impressive first step towards experiences that will alter the rest of your life.
There are several different classes of equipment at your disposal when you enter a well equipped fitness facility:
(i) cardio equipment, an apparatus that mimics an activity that you can do for free outside, it is not easy to use this machine improperly. Each machine typically has a generic program template that you can use until you feel more comfortable creating personalized programs.
(ii) strength machines, dictate a single and isolated movement that is never seen in a real world application. More care should be used when starting a strength training program, but machines are not the best place to start. Machines appear easy to use yet, can be and are frequently used in an improper manner and little time/care is devoted to teaching members how to use them properly. Search for an alternative to machines (e.g. cables or free weights).
(iii) cables, allow for an infinite combination of exercises because you are not limited to the machines constraints. As a bonus, the training movements can be created/adopted to relate to your own goals.
(iv) free weights, an excellent tool in a fitness centre as they force the user to fight gravity throughout the entire motion. Such movements mimic what users do in the real world and therefore offer the highest chance to achieve goals and stave off injuries.
It is the opinion of the author that the use of cables and free weights not only offer a more practical approach to training, with their use results are more functional and training is more fun. This being said more care must be taken to design a proper and technically sound program for the user to work through. All users of cardio equipment need to supplement their training with a strength component to reduce the potential for overuse injuries. Please refer to finding a fitness professional or variety is the key to fitness for more information on what you need to expect from a trainer.