Similarly, if you’re new to the gym and aren’t sure what to do, starting with some fitness tips will help you. Working harder – and smarter – at the gym can help you achieve the body you want in less time. Work harder at the gym this year with these top 10 quick fitness lessons!
Train your brain to ensure the correct muscles are activated and engaged and to give your maximum effort
1. BEGINNERS: JUST START
If you’re new to the gym, you don’t need to have a fancy workout plan in place that includes using all the equipment, monitors your heart rate or bends you into a pretzel. Rather, just starting to work out in any way you wish, such as walking on the treadmill on an incline or stepping on the stair-stepper consistently will reap you results. When you’re able to comfortably work-out 5 days a week for at least 30-45 minutes, you can start to progress and individualize your program for specific results.
2. DO PROGRESSIVE WORKOUTS
Progressively increasing the difficulty of your workouts to match and challenge your fitness level will help you reach the body and fitness you desire. You can progress the load of your workouts by increasing the volume and/or intensity, or the time and effort. One way to do this is with interval training in which you alternate harder efforts with lighter efforts to increase your heart rate and muscle exertion.
3. START PROGRESSIVE STRENGTH TRAINING
Strength-training will help you build lean muscle mass, which can also help you burn more fat with exercise since lean muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat. Gradually increase the load, weights lifted, as well as sets and or reps with time. Typical rule of thumb is keeping the load high and reps/sets low for muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle mass) versus less weight and higher reps/sets for increased muscle tone.
4. BODYWEIGHT TRAINING LIMITATIONS
Bodyweight exercises are increasingly popular nowadays with push-ups, burpees and pilates exercises getting top attention. However, it is difficult to gain progressive overload with these exercises to further challenge yourself since you’ll always use only your bodyweight. However, you can try to make moves more difficult by adding more moves and reps or added resistance. For instance, do one-handed push-ups and do pilates moves on a reformer instead of a mat.
5. BRAIN TRAINING FOR LIFTING
When lifting weights, put your mind into the muscle. Train your brain to ensure the correct muscles are activated and engaged and to give your maximum effort with each rep or set. Lack of attention and focus can also lead to sloppy or poor form leading to lackluster results or risk of injury.
6. DON’T FORCE STRETCHING
All too often I see people straining and forcing a stretch. You should gradually melt into a stretch, forcing it could incur further damage or just plain unnecessary pain. Not everyone is super flexible and that’s okay! Only stretch warmed-up muscles and aim to do more dynamic drills such as hip rotations and light jogging instead.
7. DON’T FALL FOR THE LATEST MAGAZINE WORKOUT EVERY TIME
Magazines don’t always have your own individual best intentions at heart. How often do you see a home-based workout listed in a fitness magazine? Almost always because they are trying to cater to the general population. However, that home workout may not a workout that’s going to challenge you. You will probably benefit from doing a circuit at the gym using a combination of dumbbells, machines and the squat rack.
8. THINK BIG MOVEMENTS FOR BIG RESULTS
Don’t be afraid of the squat rack, cable machine or bench press. Squats, deadlifts and bench presses are three of the big exercises that will target major muscle groups including the glutes, legs, chest as well as your core. You can get a quality workout with these machines instead of just spending an hour doing body-weight or dumbbell-based exercises.