It’s the first time in your life that you have set foot in a gym, and naturally, you are at a loss on what to do in this place. Perhaps you might have been influenced by your friends and co-workers who are all gym buffs. Or you just thought that it is the place to be seen as many of the people you know have all signed-up at Equinox, David Barton Gym and similar fitness centers.
So how do you begin your stint in the gym? Learn these 10 tips that should make your gym membership a worthy investment and perhaps make you the proud owner of a six-pack abs in the future.
Have a Goal
Setting a goal is one of the first things you need to have when you sign up in a gym. Do you want to lose a certain number of pounds? Do you want to have a six-pack abs? Or do you want to simply lead a healthy lifestyle? Having a goal, whether for the short-term or the long term, sets the tone for your stint in the gym.
Wear the Right Clothes
Wearing the correct clothing will not only make you comfortable but also would allow you to join in any exercise or activity in the gym, like a yoga class. Shirts, shorts, and pajamas are some of the more common athletic clothes you can buy. Invest in a good pair of athletic shoes, too, so you’ll have no problems running on the treadmill or using the elliptical.
Don’t be mistaken that losing weight means starving yourself and working out at the same time. You need to eat two hours before reporting to the gym so that you’ll have enough energy to lift weights, run, and do yoga later on.
Your personal trainer will emphasize to you the importance of warming up, but in a nutshell, it prepares your body for the workout later on. Warming up also lessens the risks of injuries related to working out. Experts suggest that you should warm up at least for five minutes.
You might find yourself heading straight to the treadmill and running. But don’t get too excited in working out. The pace of your exercise should match your fitness level, hence if you are not a gym buff then don’t train like one. Start with simple exercises like a five-minute run on the treadmill. You can then increase the rate and regularity as you go along.
Mix Your Exercises
Boredom can hit you after a few days or weeks in the gym, especially if you do the same set of exercises. Don’t spend too much time on one machine. If you have been on the treadmill for 10 to 15 minutes, then you should rest your legs and work on your other parts of the body like the arms or the back.
Our body consists of at least 65 percent of water. So imagine how much liquid you’ll lose when you sweat. Keep yourself hydrated by regularly drinking water. Since it’s your first time to work out, you might have to increase the rate of water intake to every five to 10 minutes.
Yes, it’s your first time in the gym but this does not mean that you will make up for lost time and work on every exercise you see other people do. On the contrary, you have to take things slow and this means not overtraining your body. Just like a machine, our bodies need to have a respite from exercises. Don’t be lured by the burning feeling in your arms and legs a day after working out, thinking that you should head back to the gym. Instead, give your body a couple of days to recover from the workout so that you won’t hurt yourself the next time you exercise.
Cool down is just as critical as warm-up. You are mistaken if you think that your workout is done after you’ve finished the last rep of a weight lifting exercise. Your body needs to have enough time to repair the tissues and muscles heavily involved in the exercise. The warm up also allows your body to build up strength and hasten its recovery.
To cool down, do some dynamic stretches. You may want to do yoga poses or walking lunges. Cooling down also brings your heart rate to a calmer level.
Manage Your Expectations
Finally, don’t expect results overnight. You might still be a bit high after that one-hour gym session and you think you’ve done a good job. But you should also realize that the people around you who have slim bodies were able to achieve those after months of hard work and discipline. So stay focused and keep yourself motivated, for you would need those things in order to accomplish your goals.