Plan your workout. Before you hit the gym, plan out your workout. Depending on how much time you have available, decide which activities you will focus on. When you know how you’ll spend your time, you won’t waste time hemming and hawing over what to do.
- Remember to split your workouts up for the week. Some people split their body parts into different workout days. Others simply do full body workouts 2-4x/week. Figure out what works best for you and remember to incorporate rest days.
- Be sure to build in some time at the beginning of your workout for warming up. Include time at the end of your workout for cooling down your body.
- Switching up your routine not only confuses the body and provokes growth, but it also ensures that you are getting a well-rounded workout.
Don’t do a routine you are not physically prepared for. While the point of exercise is to grow stronger, it is dangerous to expect your body to perform at a level far beyond your current capabilities right away. Most people who start an exercise regime are very motivated and want to work out every single day. However, for the untrained body, start with a more realistic workout routine, such as three days a week, or approximately 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. If you want to lose weight, work up to doing about 300 minutes of moderate activity per week.
- Avoid doing intense workouts without a few weeks of preparation. It may seem like a long time, but spending two weeks jogging before doing an intense run can save you from serious physical injury.
Warm up. Warming up your body before you exercise will get the blood flowing and brings fluids to your joints. Remember that if you’re about to do an activity, giving those muscles a chance to warm up can prevent injury. When you have properly warmed up, you will reduce the possibility of injury and you will also enhance muscle performance. Try this routine for warming up your body:
Don’t train until you drop. Training to failure is unnecessary. Training to failure is when you keep pushing your muscles until they fail, like running until you collapse. Many casual exercisers think that this is a good idea, because it pushes their muscles to the ‘max’. However, there is no conclusive proof that training to failure boosts muscle growth. In fact, because it damages muscles so heavily, it may hurt your progress.
- Foam rolling: Use a foam roller to massage different parts of your body. Spend a few minutes working on your calves, quads, glutes, upper back, and lats.
- Dynamic stretching: This form of stretching focuses on repetitive motion that stretches a body part further each time it is stretched.Some examples include forward lunges and arm circles.
- Beware of overtraining. This could be during a single session or over the course of a week. Your muscles need time to heal and prepare for the next workout.