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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

7 Important Tips for Working out You’re Probably Overlooking

7 Important Tips for Working out You’re Probably Overlooking

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.

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2. Focus on Form

Besides looking good, using proper form[1] 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.

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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.[2]

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.

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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[3]. 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.

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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

Featured photo credit: Sergio Pedemonte via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Julian Hayes II

Author, Health & Fitness Coach for Entrepreneurs, & Speaker

7 Important Tips for Working out You’re Probably Overlooking Starting Today, Stop These 6 Things to Become the Best Version of Yourself 18 Basic Rules for Leading a Fulfilling Life 5 Fun Ways to Transform Your Body And Health When You Don’t Feel Like Going to the Gym 4 Common Reasons Why You Fall Short With Your Weight Loss Goals (And What You Should Do Instead)

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Published on July 23, 2021

7 Best Foam Rollers for Muscle Relaxation

7 Best Foam Rollers for Muscle Relaxation

Foam rollers are one of those pieces of equipment where if you do it right, they can provide you with a deep-tissue massage. They’re commonly cylinder-shaped and they push up against sore muscles while you lay on the floor.

Because foam rollers are such handy tools, there is a wide selection of foam rollers you can choose from. Depending on what kind of exercises you do, a foam roller can aid in relaxing different muscles in your body. Below, I picked out the best foam rollers available on the market depending on the types of exercises and needs that you have.

How I Picked the Best Foam Rollers

Before jumping into the list, here are the criteria that I used when putting together this list of best foam rollers.

  • Weight – Foam rollers, as their name suggests, are designed to be light enough for you to roll around without exerting effort.
  • Compact – Because you’re laying on the ground, you want to have plenty of space. As such, a roller should allow you to lay down and easily perform the exercises you need without too much issue.
  • High-density – The material should also be dense enough so that you won’t accidentally crush the roller under your own weight. The rollers on this list are very durable.

1. Best Overall: LuxFit Premium High-Density Foam Roller

    From dealing with sports injuries to relieving tension points in your body post-workout, this premium high-density foam roller is the best. This foam roller is entirely made from molded polypropylene foam, which means that it has a high density and won’t be losing its shape for a very long time, even if you use it daily.

    Beyond that, it can also repel liquid so it won’t get soggy or wet if you’re particularly sweaty or you’re using the roller near water.

    It comes in three different sizes and can be used to assist your core, cover spinal stabilization, balance, re-educating your muscles, and boost stamina.

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    Pick up LuxFit’s foam roller here.

    2. Best Grid: TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

      If you’re new to foam rollers, this one might be the best choice for you. The reason for that is that each purchase of these TriggerPoint GRID foam rollers comes with a free online instructional video. This video shows you the best practices and how to use a foam roller properly.

      As for the roller itself, the big benefit here is the overall design. It has a rigid hollow core, and the materials used to make this roller are rigid so it won’t be breaking down easily.

      Another aspect to it is its multi-dimensional surface, making it a go-to roller for masseuses to athletes. These rollers can also assist in oxygen flow and heal tissues.

      Pick up TriggerPoint’s foam roller here.

      3. Best for Physical Therapy: Rolling With It Therapeutic Grade Premium EVA Foam Roller

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        Even though this roller is fantastic for physical therapy, it can also be helpful for general use, particularly before you go to work out. By rolling in advance, you’re allowing your muscles to get warmed up for the exercises that you’re doing.

        This is big because when muscles are more relaxed, you’ll be able to extend the period of your workout. You’ll want to care about this if you normally do high-impact routines such as Crossfit, bodybuilding, or general weight training.

        Using this regularly is smart and unlike LuxFit’s roller, this one is eco-friendly and resists flaking and chipping.

        Buy Rolling With It Therapeutic’s foam roller here.

        4. Best Half Roller: OPTP PRO-ROLLER Soft Density Foam Roller

          While rollers are nice, they do have a tendency to slip and slide around. If you prefer to stay still and relax your muscles, OPTP’s half-roller will be a good fit. It’s highly durable with its cross-linked, closed-cell foam. Because of that, it has a perfect balance between softness and firmness.

          Beyond that, because it’s a half roller, you have the option between a flat surface or a rounded surface for versatility. If you’re looking for a softer roller, this one is a good option.

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          Buy OPTP’s foam roller here.

          5. Best Stick: Tiger Tail Massage Stick

          While your standard rollers are great for back rolling, they’re only able to cover large areas of muscles. This becomes an issue if you’re looking to relieve tension to smaller muscles or in specific areas.

          This is where massage sticks are able to shine as they pinpoint specific areas in your body. Out of the various massage sticks we’ve checked, the one from Tiger Tail is ideal. It has three size options to pick from (11-inch, 18-inch, and 22-inch) letting you have good flexibility in what you’re looking for.

          The Tiger Tail is made from a high-quality, non-absorbent, and non-deteriorating closed-cell foam. This ensures that it won’t hurt your skin when using it, making cleaning easier, too. It’s also ergonomically designed so that your hands won’t tire out when using it.

          Buy Tiger Tail’s massage stick here.

          6. Best for Cyclists: Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls for Myofascial Release

            While it’s no foam roller, lacrosse balls are excellent ways to relieve tension in areas where foam rollers are awkward to reach, such as shoulders, glutes, and neck. All in all, they’re a great addition to your muscle relaxation routine.

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            Every purchase of these lacrosse balls provides you with two balls to use. Through these durable balls, you’ll be able to reach smaller muscle groups easier than you could with any typical foam roller.

            Purchase Kieba’s massage lacrosse balls here.

            7. Best for Shoulders: RumbleRoller Beastie Bar and Stands

              Lastly, if you’re looking for a great way to relax your shoulders, this product from RumbleRoller is ideal. The thing with foam rollers is that reaching your shoulders with these rollers can be awkward. Paired up with shoulders tend to carry a lot of stress, we’re more likely to experience muscle pain in that area.

              Instead of pulling out your roller, this option could be significantly better. This wand features two “Beasties,” which are spiky foam massage balls. Similar to Lacrosse balls, these are able to target small pressure points on your body—in this case, your shoulders and neck.

              It comes with stands that are detachable so you can use just the ball to relieve various points over your body too if need be. Each of the balls is durable and firm so you shouldn’t have issues in relieving muscle pain.

              Buy RumbleRoller’s beastie bar here.

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              Final Thoughts

              You don’t need to be constantly seeing a masseuse whenever you experience muscle pain. In many cases, it’s simply that you put your body through a bit too much stress. Whether it’s from your posture or from working out, foam rollers and other physical therapy tools can help you in dealing with those aches and pains. Just try out a few products from this list of the best foam rollers out there, and choose one that best fits your needs.

              Featured photo credit: Ambitious Creative Co. – Rick Barrett via unsplash.com

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