Have a plan
Newbies listen in — having a workout plan at the gym is essential. The number of hours people waste not knowing what to do at a gym is ridiculous. It’s the biggest mistake that can be made from the start.
Do your research on which goals you’d like to set out and achieve, then look at exercises and workout splits that will compliment you on your journey. If you do this, you’ll cut out the waiting around looking at pieces of equipment you’re never going to use. It’s like going food shopping — you never go without that list.
A good playlist is key
Gym music isn’t the best, it only appeals to one group of people and it can be irritating hearing the same 4 or 5 songs on repeat. This is why having your playlist and a pair of headphones is vital. Music can help you push you through a hard set — the right song will always get you pumped.
Here are some of our favourite tunes for your workouts.
Warming up when you’re about to start working out is an important process. It helps your heart and muscles prepare for the extra workload during intense exercise and it could be key in helping prevent any injuries.
However, warming up and stretching are separate things. To warm up properly you’ll need to raise your heart rate and that usually involves some light cardio or bodyweight exercises.
After so long away from the gym, stopping yourself from diving headfirst into an intense workout will save you from plenty of pain later on.
Stretching before a session is great for keeping the muscles flexible for better ranges of motion and it helps reduce the risk on joints and the muscles themselves. Not only that, but doing stretches before a session gives you a moment of zen to be relaxed and calm.
Stretching is also a great way to finish a workout and help you on the way to recovery — we all know that first session back is going to leave us a little sore.
Minimise rest times
Rest times should be adaptable to your goals but trying to keep your rests to a minimum is beneficial for your gym journey.
Short rests are great for keep muscles warm and ready for the next set. Not only this but minimising your rest time will limit the amount you spend in the gym which is great if you’re short on time.
It’ll also make you popular with fellow gym-goers waiting to use that equipment. Planning out your sets and how long you’ll take in-between is a great wat to speed things up and fit in more exercises too.
Use compound movements
Compound movements are the staple in a gym workout. The trio that is squats, deadlifts and a bench press is like the gym equivalent of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. These movements hit multiple areas at once and are the ultimate test of strength in the fitness community.
As well as being a tool for boosting fitness, the uses of compound movements like these are endless. From strength to functional fitness everyone should do these exercises. Using these will help maximise your workouts by working a few different muscles at once and cut out the time you may have spent isolating each muscle in the body.
Track your progress
Now, we’re not saying go crazy, weigh yourself every day, or constantly measure your waist or biceps. However, checking your progress regularly will be beneficial for learning about your body and whether your training is effective or if it needs a change. This can be once a week, every fortnight, or even monthly — whatever is comfortable for you.
A good way to do this is to keep track of how heavy you’re lifting, or how many reps you can manage at a certain weight. Being able to work out your 1 rep max (the maximum weight you can lift for one repetition) is a great place to start as you can then work to improve on this.
Protein. Lots of protein.
Protein is the building blocks for muscle growth and recovery — without it, you might be sore, or take longer to see results. It’s only fair you get some protein in, after all, you just spent an hour or so ripping each muscle fibre apart so it grows back stronger. You’ve got to give it the fuel to thrive.
Whether you stock up before or after, ensure you’re getting plenty of protein from your meals and snacks throughout the day to bank the gains you’ve made in your workouts.