Keen to get shredded, or just looking for a bit more overall muscle tone?
No matter what camp you fall into, working out at the gym requires a fair bit of dedicated focus to stay at it. You need to create a plan for your workouts and then stick to it for the first few weeks pretty rigidly in order to make that your new pattern. Ok, yes, when you first start working out there are a lot of questions: why is it so hard, and why does it hurts so bad, and do I have to get up that early, and why on god’s green earth does protein powder taste so weird.
However, once you get over the questions and start answering back with some kick-ass strength, you start to tolerate it. It’s possible that (though you won’t admit this to your trainer) you even like getting out on the commercial gym equipment and running for kilometres or pumping some serious iron.
Once the hard part of creating a new routine is done, you need to keep going.
This is part of your life now. You make time for it just as you make time for family, friends and work. It’s when you have been going to the gym for a while that you can encounter a whole new set of potential mishaps in the form of injury putting you out of action for weeks and potentially even months.
There’s no feeling worse than being injured and not being able to do the workout that you have grown to love so much. So we’re going to give you some tips on avoiding injury for the newbies and the experienced veterans alike; getting injured sucks, so we’re here to help you avoid it.
Make sure the shoe fits
If you are someone who has a desk job or who otherwise spends a lot of time sitting during the day, you’re going to be more prone to foot and ankle injuries. It’s just the way it goes, sorry. If you spend a lot of time hunched in front of a computer then first of all, stop that and sit up straight for goodness’ sake, and second of all make sure the gym shoes you choose are the right ones for you. The wrong shoes can cause serious problems, because the change in your centre of gravity (from sitting to standing and possibly running) makes you susceptible for plantar injuries.
Warm up and cool down
We all know that we should do this one, but how many of us actually do?
Make sure you’re one of the ones who stretches thoroughly because you’ll be less injured at the end of a workout. Stretching helps to condition the muscles and makes you ready for exercise. At the end of a workout, a good stretch moves the lactic acid throughout your muscles and stops that crippling pain associated with things like ‘leg day’ where you can’t even walk up two stairs without wincing and hobbling like a lunatic.
Yes, we meant to shout that.
The good ol’ H2O is absolutely vital for your exercise health. Without this your cells are going to be screaming out for much needed hydration and you’re basically not going to operate at 100% – or even close to it.
Make sure that you have your trusty water bottle by your side at all times when you are even within sniffing distance of the gym. That way you will never be wanting for a drink. With that in mind, don’t chug too much water down prior to a treadmill or heavy cardio session as you will have the dreaded water belly jiggle. Little sips during the workout, and a big old drink at the end is the way to do it.
High reps, low resistance
There’s absolutely no one at the gym who is even slightly impressed by your heroics with lifting some stupidly heavy barbell and in fact, they may think you’re a bit of a doofus. Don’t make any mistakes with your weights, start with a low weight when you start out and learn how to lift properly. Get used to things slowly. Put weight on slowly. Build a lean muscle base.