Okay so this is gonna be a long ass post, with trigger warnings in that discussing cissexism, anti-trans* women, and possible assault stuff.
This is by no means supposed to be a be-all-end-all discussion. Please correct me, and know that this is some stuff I have noticed since going to gyms since I was in my early teens with my father.
1. Gyms are corporations, so essentially they really don’t give a shit about you.
Like all products in capitalism, the product (gym) is intended to keep you coming. That is why, by in large, most gym folks don’t see the kind of pay off they expect (aka, Superman ripped body).
Machines are a terrible concept mostly because they a) you are not working the actual weight detailed, because the pulley and rig systems actually assist you, and b) they limit range of motion. That is to say, don’t feel bad about wanting to do a few lat pull downs at the Lat-Machine, but by in large the “trainers” at most gyms are untrained/uncertified and limit the scope of their “training” to strictly just using machines.
Also, gyms aren’t liable (in many cases) if you are assaulted in one. Some gyms even have sort (if not downright) racist rules - Planet Fitness, a gym I attend, has a no-hats/haircovering policy. So, dudes with your do-rags, gotta go. Oh, and no hijab. Or hoodies. Or you know, pretty much anything “ethnic”.
While Planet Fitness for me has been fairly decent (in that its equipment can hold up to 400 pound folks), its also associated with Biggest Loser and well, that show sucks.
So be willing to pick and choose, if you can afford a gym (if not, you can still workout. Seriously, the treadmill is not the god of cardio).
2. Don’t bind/pack/silicone insert/gaff when working out.
I know, you’re going “Dan you’re fucking killing me here”. But hear me out: when you bind, or do anything to “pass”, it does a few things to your work out.
a) it limits your range of motion. The biggest offender in this is binders. I know a ton of ftms who insist on wearing compression and ace or mixture there in, and I am like noooooo. They all bemoan that compression shirts exist in the sports wear. But here’s the fundamental difference: the compression is at the abdomen, not the bust. Also, they will try to be little shits and snark back that “well I’m doing a bench press that’s not working my chest or abs”. To which I reply: Yeah, it does. You may not realize it. And if you don’t realize it, more than likely you are doing the exercise completely wrong.
b) Slippage. Guess what, working out is a lot of movement, and shit that I didn’t know could jiggle, jiggles, and unless you want a nipple slip or your dick falling out three feet in front of you, just don’t.
c) Unless you’re at a hook up gym, you really don’t need your fucking dick or breasts. Really. I am being honest. In my experience in like, actual gym workouts, only buddies are talking to each other, and its a minimal eye contact.
3. Workout books and health magazines etc. are intrinsically cissexist, and very very very anti-trans* woman.
You are probably either really confused, or saying “No shit Dan”. I have read probably hundreds (or close to a hundred) workout books, magazines, etc. and every one of them puts a t****y or sh****le joke in. Literally. Every. Single. Time. So it’s hella not surprising that fucking newbie ftms and trans* guys are sucking this message up and spitting out transmisogyny and misogyny. While not surprising, it doesn’t excuse their behavior at all.
So when you are reading those things, always know that you are reading it with some caution because ultimately, it will come up.
4. Well okay, so you told us what’s wrong, but what can I do?
You can start by working out at your own home if you want, or go ahead and join a gym with the understanding above. I am also free to contact to give advice on fairly decent workout books. Here’s also the kicker - there literally isn’t any exercise that a “man” can do that a “woman” shouldn’t do. The separation of “female” and “male” exercises is literally bogus and was designed basically to enhance cissexism and the division of people. So if I send you a pdf of a book that’s “targeted” to men, literally ignore that. Because all women and all men can and should do these exercises.
A good starting guide, for those interested in working out, is basically a pair of dumbbells and/or kettlebells (i really, reallly, really love kettlebells) [a pair is ideal, but if you can only afford one then okay], and if you have room in a budget a weighted medicine ball. A workout ball (the bigger ones that you sit on) is also great, and a yoga/workout mat. Literally, that’s all you need. Anything else is just extra and you can do what you wish. See if friends have any shit they are willing to just give you. Garage sales also are a great score for this equipment too (a friend got a whole capbell dumbell pair set with weights for 10 bucks).