New to the gym scene? No worries, here are 7 tips on how to accomplish your fitness goals even if you’ve never frequented a gym before.
Tip #1 Weight loss
If losing some extra weight is the goal when you enter the gym, the two most important factors are variety and intensity. You should aim to get 2-3 weightlifting workouts in per week. During these workouts, be sure to be conscious of increasing weight amounts as the lifts begin to feel easy. You should also focus on training different muscle groups to allow for recovery. For example, if on Monday you work back muscles and legs, on Wednesday focus on arms and chest. If you’re more comfortable using stationary machines, be sure to follow the guidelines for use. Include regular cardio of your choosing throughout the week to increase weight loss potential.
Tip #2 Muscle gain
Building muscle is a common goal among gym-goers. If you’re new to the gym scene, it’s important to get on the right track for muscle gain. Building muscle is a two-step process. First, you must tear down the muscle with a challenging workout. Second, you should rest the muscle so that the hypertrophic (growth) phase can occur. Choosing an appropriate weight and performing the correct number of reps and sets should be your primary goal. Try choosing a weight that is highly challenging to perform for 5-8 reps. Repeat your rep count for 4-6 sets. A combination of compound moves like squats and presses with isolation moves to target muscle groups like biceps and calves will give a well-rounded gain effect.
Tip #3 Increased endurance
Increasing your endurance can help make all your workouts more enjoyable as well as give you the stamina to make it through busy days. Interval training is one of the most effective methods for prolonging your wind power. All interval training requires is that you switch between levels of intensity for pre-determined lengths of time. For example, if you are running on an elliptical, try a 2-minute interval of high intensity by speeding up your strides and increasing the resistance, immediately followed by 1 minute of low intensity by slowing down and reducing resistance. Repeat that pattern for 10 rounds totaling 30 minutes. Not only does this increase your body’s ability to recover from high-intensity exercise but also keeps your workout more interesting.
Tip #4 Core strength
A strong core is the cornerstone of a fit body. It’s been heavily reported in recent years that most Americans, at one time or another, will complain of back pains. A strong core would likely eliminate many of these problems. Keep in mind that your core encompasses all of the muscles that surround your midsection including your back muscles. When targeting your core at the gym, try to get a good balance of back and abdomen exercises in each time to avoid burning out one or the other. A quality core routine should include dead lift, back extensions, plenty of plank, and traditional ab strengthening exercises like crunches and twists.
Tip #5 Burning fat
It is an unfortunate truth that you cannot spot treat the fat burn. Just because you want the fat specifically on your belly, butt, or arms to go away doesn’t mean a thing to your body. Generally, you can equally burn fat from all over your body by performing the right kinds of exercise. Lengthy workouts that do not reach too high of heart rates are best for reaching the target “fat burning zone”. This is because at higher intensities your body is needing quicker energies that can come from burning existing fat. You can still to higher intensity exercises and burn fat, but you must moderate your heart rate to stay in fat burning mode. Try giving yourself longer breaks between high-intensity moves if your workouts cannot consistently stay moderately intense.
Tip #6 Creating tone
To create an overall more toned look in the body, you will have to accomplish 2 things at the gym: (1) fat burn and (2) muscle gain. Burning fat requires that you be a specific calorie burning zone. Your body chooses to burn the fat stores only when it has time to process that it needs to. Long walks or light jogs are great ways to accomplish this fat burning mode. Generally, lengthier workouts are going to require your body to delve into its fat stores. To gain muscle, you will want to practice resistance training at least 2-3 times a week. For toned, strong muscles, lifting heavy is less important than if muscle bulk is the goal. Try bodyweight workouts as well as using free weights for spot treating certain muscle groups.
Tip #7 Beating boredom
If you haven’t already fallen in love with gym life or feel a bit of dread at the thought of going and doing the same thing again and again: here are some tips for beating boredom to keep your visits exciting and effective. First, try something you’ve never done at least once a week. This can either be a new machine, a cool exercise you saw online, or a class your gym offers. Second, switch up your music. Sometimes, a change in your playlist takes a mundane workout to the best workout you’ve had in weeks. Finally, bring a friend with you! Not only will you have a buddy to help you get through your workout, but you’re helping someone else make the decision to live a more fit life!