If you’re looking to get yourself in the gym, there are a lot of things that you should be aware of beforehand. While simply throughout some shoes on and running out the door is certainly healthier than sitting on the couch all day, there are some general guidelines to follow to make sure that you are replenishing your body and that you do not injure yourself. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to looking and feeling better.
First Things First: Nutrition
Read up on my nutrition section before grabbing your gym bag. Nutrition is what fuels you – if you do not have the proper foods in your diet, you’ll only be able to run so far before you fall over or catch a cramp. Proper nutrition is crucial to building muscle. Make sure your balanced diet consists of fruits, veggies, complex carbs, proteins and fats.
It’s also important to start eating more often. Instead of three large meals a day, break it down into five or six meals. This way you are continuing to stimulate your metabolism throughout the day. As your activity levels decrease throughout the day, eat less as the day goes on.
Control portions and eat with a purpose. Everything should offer some sort of nutritional value. For portions – it’s a good idea to make sure that meats are smaller than your palm and that pastas are not larger than your fist.
How to Build Muscle
When it comes to building muscle, there are some basics that you should be aware of. You need to increase your caloric and complete protein intake – that’s the basics in terms of nutrition. When in the gym, make sure you are focusing on form. Compound movements, weight training four times a week. You want as little movement as possible – only target specific muscle groups. And rest, rest, rest! Muscle tissue repairs when you’re outside of the gym.
Also, go for as much range of motion as possible. When it comes to how heavy the weights should be, have each exercise last 30 to 45 seconds; if it lasts longer or shorter than that, change the weight accordingly.
Finally, get the proper supplements. It’s hard to meet the requirements for protein intake – look into shakes for after your workouts.
Hydration and proper nutrition are the basis for endurance. This type of training is very draining on your body – you’ll be burning calories like crazy, so you need to make sure you’ve increased your caloric intake. When it comes to endurance, you’re trying to exhaust your muscles. Work until you cannot push yourself any further.
Reduce the rest between sets and fight the fatigue that comes on during endurance training.
Find Your Motivation
When you’re stepping into the gym, make sure that you are motivated to perform each exercise to a certain level of success. If you’re lifting weights, count down your reps until you reach your goal. Also, ask yourself why you’re in the gym in the first place. To look good? To feel good? The more effort you put in during your time at the gym, the quicker you’ll reach those goals.
Change Things Up
Change your workout every couple of weeks to ensure that your body does not get used to the exercises you’re performing. It’s important to always keep the body guessing. Changing exercises, how heavy the weights are, the order that you perform exercises, your tempo and your rep/set count will all help keep you from plateauing. Even something as simple as the time of day you train can cause you to plateau.