We always overlook the simple things, especially when it comes to working out. Working out doesn’t need to be daunting or confusing. In fact, working out should be a fun way for you to relieve stress and feel more positive about your body. This is why it’s important to pay attention to some simple tips for working out.
It’s easy to get swept up in the thrill of starting a new exercise routine. But before you get caught up in the latest and greatest way to work out, check out 7 of the best tips for working out to avoid injury and make the most of your exercises.
1. Always Warm up
Lifting weights and burning through cardio routines is the Instagram-worthy part of training. Warming up is often thrown to the backburner.
Really, when’s the last time someone got excited to use a foam roller and go through mobility drills? Often, people are pressed for time, so they opt to skip the warm up and immediately get to lifting.
But this is a great way to invite injury into your intense workout. By properly warming up, you decrease muscle stiffness (by increasing blood flow), reduce the risk of injury, improve performance, and psychologically prepare yourself to work out.
2. Focus on Form
Besides looking good, using proper form has a plethora of benefits, such as ensuring the correct muscles are being targeted, proper breathing is being maintained, and you are able to lift more weight. When it comes to tips for working out, this is one that shouldn’t be ignored.
By not paying attention to form, you run the risk of muscle strains, tears, joint problems, and back problems. It’s hard to be the best version of yourself when you’re on the shelf for weeks.
Leave the ego at the door and have flawless form before ramping up the weights. If in doubt, ask a personal trainer or, better yet, hire one for a week.
3. Amp up Your Nutrition
If you find you’re often sore for days after working out, have trouble finding energy for workouts, or can’t seem to lose any weight, your nutrition may be lacking.
Eating is how you supply your body with calories, which provide you with energy. Supplying your body with nutrients helps you gain more muscle, lose weight, and boost your metabolism. Depriving your body of nutrients leads to poor gym performance, metabolic problems, and weight gain.
Making great food choices is your opportunity to reshape your health. Your workouts and body composition depend on you making nutrition a priority, so this is one of the tips for working out you shouldn’t always have present in your mind.
4. Use a Limited Number of Machines
Many of the machines at gyms, despite looking complex and high-tech, are mostly useless. Oftentimes, a machine works a single muscle group and limits your range of motion. With free weights, you use multiple muscles, including those forgotten but important stabilizers.
Stick to compound exercises (squats, deadlifts, shoulder and bench presses, hip thrusts, etc.), limit isolation exercises, and save time in the gym. In the end, you’ll find it’s more fun to drop some heavy weights as opposed to simply adjusting a pin on a machine.
5. Challenge Yourself
Do you find that you often become bored with your routine or hit weight loss plateaus? In that case, you may be lacking a challenge.
One of my tips for working out is to stay with a routine for 4-6 weeks before changing, but waiting too much longer after that reduces the effectiveness of your routine.
Your body is intelligent and will adjust to a given workout over time, so doing the same thing repeatedly won’t cut it if you really want to lose weight and gain muscle.
Instead of thinking about increasing the duration of your sessions, focus on the intensity of these sessions. Implementing metrics such as increasing weights, decreasing rest periods, switching exercises out, using supersets, and limiting seated exercises are excellent ways to keep progress moving in the right direction.
6. Don’t Use Cardio to Lose Fat
Someone states they want to lose weight, and the first sentence out their mouth is “I need to start running.”
Unfortunately, many people associate fat loss with running on treadmills and using elliptical machines and Stairmasters.
While you will most certainly sweat with the above options, those aren’t the most efficient in terms of losing fat. Relying on long distance cardio can cause your cortisol levels to rise (slowing fat loss down), increase food cravings (hello binge eating), and take up too much time.
An alternative to long distance cardio is high intensity interval training (HIIT), which alternates intense moments of exercise with periods of rest. This training is more efficient, burns more calories, and keeps your metabolism elevated longer.
Set a goal for 3 strength training days and 2 HIIT sessions weekly.
7. Schedule Time to Rest and Recover
People often fall into the trap of exercising more and more, thinking this will lead to quicker progress. The truth, however, is that your body can only be pushed so far.
Working out breaks your body down, and only through rest can your body build itself back up to be stronger for the next session. You likely have fitness goals and a plan to achieve them, so make sure you’re scheduling in time for recovery between your weight training and cardio workouts to make them as effective as possible.
You grow and progress when you are resting and recovering—not during the actual training sessions.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re looking to join a gym, start an at-home exercise routine, or are already comfortable after years of working out, these 7 tips for working out can be a game changer for your progress. Once you start doing these simple things correctly, you’ll find you have more energy and recover more quickly from your exercise sessions.
More Tips for Working out
- 7 Practical Tips For Stretching
- 15 Effective Workout Tips Backed by Scientific Research
- 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)
- How to Get Fit: The Ultimate Guide
Featured photo credit: Sergio Pedemonte via unsplash.com
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