Did you know that there are a lot of misconceptions about working out that can lead to injury, limited results, and less enjoyment from gym sessions?
Whether you’ve just started hitting the gym or you’re an experienced “gym rat,” there are probably some things you’re doing wrong. Safe and effective workouts increase motivation by reducing your risk of injury and providing tangible results.
Here are my top five tips to improve your workouts:
1. Warm Up
Warming up is something I see a lot of people leaving out of their workout, and doing so can be very dangerous. Spend about five to 10 minutes warming up before you exercise and you’ll notice a significant difference in performance. A general warm-up will loosen up the major muscle groups, and it typically consists of anything that increases the heart rate, blood flow, and muscle temperature (i.e. jogging). You can also do specific warm-ups based on the muscle group you’ll be focusing on for the remainder of your workout. A proper warm-up increases blood flow to the muscles, lubricates the joints, and prepares the body to engage in activity. If you’re not sweating after five minutes, keep warming up until you are.
2. Perform Exercises Properly
Technique is very important when it comes to injury prevention and results. Try and avoid looking at what others are doing, because most people in a gym are performing exercises incorrectly. I’d recommend talking to a trainer at your local gym to show you how to safely and effectively perform exercises for optimal results. Better yet, book regular sessions so they can check in on your techniques and ensure you’re consistently working out safely.
3. Have a Plan
Workouts differ depending on your goals. For example, how you exercise for strength will differ from how you will exercise for esthetics or endurance. Each goal has its own training method, so using the correct plan to reach your goals is essential in keeping you motivated and on track. Furthermore, the exercises you pick should be specific to your interests, goals, and ability. If you’re not sure where to start, booking a consultation with an experienced trainer can help you nail down your goals and get a plan in place.
4. Fuel Yourself
What you do outside of the gym is just as important in determining your performance and the results you get at the gym. Make sure you’re eating enough healthy calories, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of sleep. Those three elements are really the most important part of any exercise routine. Remember, you’re probably only spending about one hour in the gym, so the other 23 hours are vitally important. Without adequate fuel and rest, you’ll have a much harder time reaching your goals.
After each workout, take five to 10 minutes to stretch your muscles. This can halt the development of muscle soreness and help kick-start the recovery process.