Choosing to embark on a fitness journey can be intimidating. Getting and staying in shape takes time, energy and plenty of motivation. Setting goals is easy, actually getting them is challenging. Make sure any fitness goal you set is realistic, by achieving each goal you’ll stay motivated and see better results. Seeing results is the best way to stay excited about hitting the gym, and preventing injuries is super important, so before you head out, here are five things you should be sure you include in your workout.
Warm up. Getting loosened up prepares your body for a serious workout by increasing heart rate, range of motion and circulation. This decreases the risk for injury and sets your muscles up to do some heavy lifting.
Proper technique. Invest in a couple of sessions with a trainer or coach to learn the correct form and appropriate weight to use for exercises. Learning proper technique is the key to preventing injury and seeing gains in strength.
Use heavy weights. Lifting weights is wonderful, lofting heavy weights is even better. To burn fat, metabolic rate has to increase. A pound of muscle burns twice as many calories as a pound of fat, which will help speed up metabolism. To ensure muscle growth, make sure you are using enough weight, if you can easily do fifteen repetitions, time to increase the weight.
Steer clear of the machines. There are lots of strength machines in the gym, and while they look fun and exciting, they are bad news. The majority of machines force your joints into unnatural positions, and isolate single muscles, which is not functional. The goal of strength training is to make everyday activities easier, so stick with full body exercises like squats, deadlifts and pull-ups.
Mix it up. Change your workout regularly by taking a group class once a week, seeing a trainer, or do something outside every now and then. Trying something new prevents workout boredom and overtraining while continuing to challenge muscles and build strength.
Now you know what to avoid, so find a professional and get started!