We all know that we need to work out and go to the gym. If you don’t believe you do, then you are either in an extremely active profession or you are just fooling yourself. Doing proper workouts can extend your life a decade. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t really treat their workouts seriously. They know they’re supposed to work out, but once they get there it’s pretty random. If you’re going to make all that effort to work out and get yourself fit, you might as well make the most of it and do it properly. Here are a few steps that will get you closer to where you want to be without getting lost.
Make a plan
You have to know what you’re going to do when you go to the gym. You should plan this all ahead of time, even to the point of planning for the next few months of what you’re going to do when you get the gym. Instead of showing up to the gym and just randomly walking around the machines and doing things as you feel like them, you should have an actual plan of what exercises you do and in what order. Believe it or not, it makes a difference. For example you should do the compound core exercises first before you do any of the supporting muscle exercises such as your arms or your legs. If you do it the opposite way around your body will not be able to give the full effort and exercise your core correctly because your support muscles will be too tired.
You need to make sure that your form when you lift weights and exercise is as good as you can get. If you look at professional trainers and coaches, they can get 10% or more out of people they train just by knowing what they’re doing. How you stand, how you hold your feet or your arms, and how you do things make a difference. Don’t just listen to that guy in the gym that knows it all, actually talk to a professional or do some research online. Lots of times the guys in the gym that have certificates for working out to teach you, got that certificate in a weekend course. They don’t really know that much. Find somebody that knows what they’re doing and asked them to critique your form. You will get a tremendous amount of advancement with perfect form compared to sloppy form. Why waste that.
Don’t get carried away
Don’t overdo it. You may think that you are young and virile, and Hercules or wonder woman, but you’re not. In the beginning, working out too much will actually injure you and give you negative progress. You can’t really rush things that way. If you want to rush things, then you have to do it the right way. If you’re a beginner, working out every other day or even every third day will actually give you more growth and performance than if you tried working out every day. Sometimes the closest distance between two points is not a straight line. So understand what your body can do and feed it the right exercises in the right timing.
Don’t work through pain
If you feel pain then stop. It’s a simple as that. If you talk to any long-term bodybuilders they will tell you that at some point in their life they injured themselves and thought they can work through the damage and didn’t stop lifting. And every single one of them regrets it and says they still have problems from that. If you hurt yourself you owe it to yourself to spend the time and recover. You might have to stop working out for a few weeks but it will not slow your progress compared to if you kept working out and damaged yourself further.
Write it down
Write all your exercises down and what you are doing with them. How much time you spend, how much you lift, and anything else that is pertinent. This has two benefits. The first benefit being it will let you track what you’re doing and you can be consistent. The second benefit is you will see progress, or lack of it, as you go. This will allow you to adjust your workout for the best benefit. You can also ask somebody that has a lot more experience than you, show them your workout pages and progress, and they can give you advice from that.
Eat enough protein
The majority of people out there, especially those that are working out, do not eat enough protein. Protein is the building block of muscle. So if you don’t eat enough protein, you’re not going to be building that much muscle. That sort of defeats the purpose of working out doesn’t it? There is a lot of discussion on how much protein you should eat, and there will be people that will tell you if you eat too much you will damage your kidneys, but in all reality if you just eat more protein than you think you should you should be fine.
Get enough sleep
One of the most overlooked ways of increasing your workout and progress is getting enough sleep. People don’t equate working out with sleep most of the time. They think that they’re fine if they only get five or six hours sleep the night, but they’re making it to the gym. What they don’t realize is they are not giving their body enough time to recover and again they are drastically slowing any advances that they can make from working out. Make sure you get your eight or nine hours of sleep a night if you are serious about getting in shape. If you talk to top bodybuilders, they will give you this advice as well.
Although stretching does not seem to be one of those things that will build muscle, it actually does. If you do a good stretch routine it will increase your ability to lift as well as to move in ways you might not expect. Yoga is one of those things that mixes strength training with stretching at the same time. Although you might not build large muscles from yoga, you will definitely get stronger. So whatever you do, make sure you stretch as well, as it will also decrease the chance of any injury that you might get.
Warm up set
Similar to stretching, you should do a small warm up set before you lift your weights properly. This goes for aerobic activity as well. You need to warm up before you go for more. The warm up gets your muscles ready for the effort that you are going to provide. It pumps the blood into the muscles and will make it harder to injure yourself. Lifting a heavy weight when you’re cold is a good way to get a sprain or a torn muscle, so warm up with half the weight or even 1/4 of the weight for one set before you do the big lefts. Your body will thank you.
Working out is not really difficult, other than the effort you have to do when you’re actually there, but it is well worth it. It is worth it for the short term goals that you have of being fitter and healthier, as well as the long term goals which will make you live longer and give you a fuller life. So if you’re going to work out you might as well do it the right way and get the most out of it. Putting 100% effort in and getting 100% return is the right way to do things. It’s a lot better than putting 80% effort in and getting 20% return. You may think that’s an exaggeration, but it’s not. But let’s be honest, if you’re not doing anything to get fit, 20% is still better than nothing. So just get started, follow some simple rules, and the next thing you know people will be asking you why you look so good.