So you finally motivated yourself enough to put on those workout clothes, grab your headphones, and drive to the gym. You walk into the gym and think “I’m at the gym…now what?”
Well, here are a few things you should and should not do to get the most out of your workouts.
- DO – Focus on just one thing. I know the gym can be overwhelming, and without a plan, you might end up wasting time walking around before deciding what to do. If you go to the gym with an idea of what muscle group you would like to work on, your workout will seem less complicated. Before leaving the house, decide that “today will be leg day at the gym. I will either run/walk on the treadmill or spend at least 30 minutes on the stationary bike.” If you feel like you could work out a little more afterwards, you can do a few sets of squats. Then after that you can…leave! Come on, I know that is the most exciting part for most of you! Having a plan can help you stay focused and spend less time walking around thinking about what you want to do.
- DO – Make sure you are doing it right. If you are like me, gym terminology can be very confusing. Like what exactly is a Mason Twist? If you are ever stuck or confused about an exercise, YouTube is your best friend. YouTube has countless videos on exercise examples and form breakdowns. It is very important that you use proper form to optimize your workout and make sure that you do not hurt yourself.
- DO – Rest and re-hydrate. You should always listen to your body both during and after a workout. If you are sore the day after a workout then make that day a “rest day”. Use the day to hydrate, think about your fitness goals, and fuel your body with good food. Your body needs to rest and heal before going to the gym again. Over-exertion can cause serious injury. Getting 2-3 workouts in a week and having a few rest days in between is great! And always remember to re-hydrate before, during, and after a workout. This is very, very important. Your body needs water to recover from a workout and to help with your fitness journey.
- DON’T – overdo it. Seriously. I know that you want to go to the gym and really push yourself, but you have to be careful. When you leave the gym, you should feel like you worked out, but never exhausted or in physical pain (the muscle soreness comes up to a day or two after working out!). If you are just starting out at the gym, take it slow. You will have better results going slow with good form; pushing yourself too hard, too fast can result in injury. Stick with sets of smaller repetitions, and over time, work your way up to sets of bigger repetitions.