Are you excited about your upcoming trip to the gym? You should be, your gym time should be both fun and productive, time that you should be looking forward to. If not, it’s time to make a few changes. Here are seven tips to help you get the most out of your next trip to the gym:
Are you trying to lose weight? Add lean muscle? Or is your goal overall health and cardiovascular fitness? A few reps on the most convenient (or easiest) machines will not help you reach your goals. Are you wandering aimlessly from machine to machine and socializing? You are wasting your valuable gym time, do your research and develop a program of machines, free weights, cardio and classes that will accomplish what you originally joined the gym for.
Once you understand what you need to do, learn how to do it – safely and effectively. Don’t assume that the person next to you is performing an exercise correctly, find a trainer or knowledgeable staff member to demonstrate. Remember that initial free workout or training session that you probably declined? Maybe it’s not too late to learn.
You know what to do, and how to do it, now decide when and how often. Pull out the calendar and schedule your gym time and then commit. Consistency produces measurable results, and healthy habits.
Do you know what you did in the gym last week? Last month? Was it productive, did you lose weight, build new muscle? Tracking your workout in your training log or journal will help you see progress, or lack of progress that requires change.
As little as five minutes on a bike, treadmill or jumping rope can save weeks of missed training caused by injury. Choose a dynamic (moving) warm-up to raise your body temperature, increase blood flow and literally warm your muscles to prepare your body for the real workout that lies ahead.
Swinging weights (and weights that are too light or too heavy) doesn’t build muscle. Proper form, using a free weight or machine through the entire range of motion, builds muscle. Not only will you add lean muscle mass, but you’ll also create more dense muscle fibers. Correct form, especially during heavy, compound movements like squats will reduce your risk for injury.
A partner can add a new dimension to your training. Your partner can push you, encourage you, and add a measure of safety to your workout as a spotter. If possible, find a partner with similar fitness goals so that you both benefit from your joint workout. Your partner also provides accountability, you will be more likely to commit and follow through with your training if your partner is at the gym expecting you to be there.