I like lists so bear with me on this one.
1) As the others mentioned, ask one of the staff for a tour of the gym.
2) Most of the machines should have a picture on it telling you how to use it, the name of the machine, and what muscles it works.
3) Since you guys are at a university, see if the gym offers any free classes focusing on weight lifting (body pump, abs and glutes, tone and trim, washboard abs, circuit training, total body, etc.). Some of them, like bodypump, may be more cardio based than strength training, but could be beneficial to do at least once a week (those classes tend to be low weights/high reps - so I've heard). Some universities also have leisure skills (aka PE classes) courses focusing on weight lifting. They are worth 1 semester hour and meet 2x/week.
4) Most university gyms offer a fitness assessment (muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular condition, flexibility, and body composition). It should be free or be fairly inexpensive ($5 to $10). Now would be the time to get one done. They'll get your weight, height, measurements (hips & waist), and calipers for body fat. You'll do pushups and crunches, and walk a mile. I forget the name for the flexibility. If you are short, like me (5 ft, even, you may get below average on flexibility even though you are pretty flexible). Anyway, at the end, you'll get the feedback of your assessment to take home with you. It shows you where you are now and how you compare to others that are the same age.
5) See if you can get a personal trainer. Find out if you and your friend can share the personal trainer. This shouldn't be a problem for you to have the same personal trainer and have a session together. You could split the cost for x number of sessions. The fitness assessment would also help the trainer help you better (by having a better understanding of where you are physically). Be clear about what you are looking for in your workout. The trainer could help with form and setting up a workout plan. How many times a week do you want to lift weights? How much time do you have to spare during each workout session? Do you only want to use free weights or do you also want to include body weight (which can be tough)?
6) Also, check out the Fitness Plan Generator (www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_plan_
). Play around with it to see what kind of plans it provides.
7) You can also look at the exercise demo's for the core, upper body, and lower body - http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercise_demos.asp?exercise_type=core.
| Pounds lost: 24.3