In your life alone, how many times have you seen your peers make New Year’s resolutions to get fitter, only to watch them give up after just a few short weeks? Or, better yet, how many people do you know who go to the gym regularly but never get the results they desire?
If you’ve decided that you’re going to start exercising and don’t want to fall into a similar category, then here are ten training tips you should make a quick note of before hitting the weights:
- Practice good form. This tip goes in the first position because it is arguably the most important thing for people, both inexperienced and seasoned, to recognize. Good form can take some time to master, but once you’ve done so, you’ll find that you can exercise more efficiently than ever before. You’ll also decrease your risk of injury, and take it from me – there is nothing worse than being sidelined with an injury that could have been prevented by exercising properly.
- Work out every day. Every. Single. Day. Am I telling you to go max out all of your major muscle groups Monday-Sunday? Certainly not. But get out there and move. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, which can be attained with a little more than 20 minutes of aerobic movement every day. Again, this does not mean you need to find time to go to the gym every 24 hours; doing that anywhere from 2-5 times per week will suffice. However, on the days you forgo a trip to your local fitness center, take your dog for a walk. Go outside and ride a bike. Swim in the pool for a little bit. Any exercise is still exercise, and so committing to move roughly 30 minutes every morning, afternoon or evening will not only get your body right, but also start to make you a creature of habit. Which leads to my third point…
- Start forming good habits. This is for both inside and outside of the gym, and I’m not just talking about fitness. I’m talking about doing the little things, like making your bed in the morning and going to sleep at roughly the same time every night. A routine will help to discipline your mind, and this will begin to give you the courage to say no to that late-night cookie or give you the strength to push through that last rep. Remember – fitness is a lifestyle, and good lifestyles require good habits in order to remain successful.
- Leave your phone alone. This can also be a tip for both inside and outside the gym, considering the amount of wasted time spent scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter daily. Staying off the phone inside the gym, however, is of notable importance. Look, it’s cool if you need to quickly switch the song to get you in the mood from time to time, but excessive texting and even taking phone calls during your workout can be a gainz-killer. Plus, it doesn’t really make you look too invested in the process, either. In fact, it sort of makes you look like a slacker, and who wants to be that person, especially when they’re new to this whole exercise thing?
- Compound movements are key. It can be easy for newbies to head straight for the machines when they first enter a gym. These “isolation” exercises are far less psychologically daunting than their dumbbell, kettlebell, and barbell counterparts, and they usually even come with instructions on how to use them. Are they better than nothing? Of course, especially when performed in a circuit, but the benefits of compound movements, such as squats, deadlifts, and push-ups, significantly outweigh the machines. These types of exercises put your body through multi-joint motions, which means you will not only work more musculature, but you’ll also improve stability – which is essential for those who exercise regularly – in your joints and underlying muscle fibers. If you’re unsure of how to perform a compound exercise, simply ask a trainer to show you, and they’ll most likely be happy to help.
- Make sure you have someone who can hold you accountable. Whether it is a training partner, a personal trainer, or someone else entirely, you should seriously consider having someone by your side so that you don’t take this journey alone. It’s much easier to make excuses on the days where you might need that extra motivation if you’re doing a new routine by yourself. Having someone to push you on the days you don’t feel like exercising or eating well is crucial, especially in the first few months.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Not even your training partner. Remember, you’re not only new to this, but you’re also your own person. Everyone is different. Chances are that you’re not going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger did in his prime, no matter how hard you try. Not many people do, simply because a lot of your results will depend on your genetic makeup. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t look fantastic, and the best way to do this is by concentrating on perfecting each and every movement you wish to tackle. Focus on That’s what this whole thing is about anyway, right? Do that, and you will soon find yourself in the best shape you’ve ever been in. Oh, and the best part? That feeling only gets better as you continue to progress.
- Refrain from overtraining. I know I’ve made a big deal about getting out there and exercising every day, but I’ve also emphasized how that doesn’t mean pushing your body to its brink during every workout. Why? Because there is such a thing as overtraining. Typically, people give up because they don’t see results in the first few weeks, but some will do the opposite and start exercising for hours upon hours every day with hopes that this extra effort will garner quicker results. Remember, your body needs time to rest. Don’t worry – the results will come, but you have to be patient.
- Don’t neglect the post-workout shake or meal. After working out, you’ve literally just destroyed your body. Your energy levels are down, your muscles are damaged, and your body has been depleted it of all the nutritious vitamins and macros it needs to run itself efficiently. It is important to refuel it as soon as possible so that you not only kickstart the recovery process but also so you can finish your day without feeling beaten down.
- Sleep. Your body needs it to recover even more than that post-workout shake. Sleeping is when the magic that is your physical transformation happens. The minimum amount of sleep fitness gurus should get is seven hours per night, and studies back this claim. More sleep, like eight or nine hours, is even better if doable.
This is a lot of information to take in, I know, but please don’t feel overwhelmed. There are so many different things people should be aware of when starting a fitness program – way more than what is outlined here. That awareness will come with time. Still, understanding a few key points before getting started can make all the difference in just how fast and efficiently you progress. You’ve committed to doing something that too many others are afraid to do, so make sure you’re taking note of all the little things that will help you get accustomed to this new way of life.
Be smart. Be dedicated. Be aware of the lifestyle you’re about to lead and, most importantly of all, do not give up. If you can do that, you’ll find that everything about your life is about to change for the better.
For more advice on how to better your physical and emotional self, check out the other fit tips from Frankie.