Helpful workout tips

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Form is key when it comes to lifting weights
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The following tips will help to maximize your workouts

Whether you are a novice in the gym or an old pro, the following workout tips will help to maximize your exercise routine.

1. Don't overdo it. If you are just starting to work out again after a long hiatus, certainly don't try to pick up where you left off ... 20 years ago or even 20 days ago. Let your muscles acclimate to this new regimen. 

2. Add weights. This tip is particularly targeted to women: Incorporating a weight training routine into your exercise program is very important. You will NOT get big muscles from a moderate weight-training routine. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of weight to attain bodybuilder status. Adding weights will tone your muscles, make you stronger and help you burn more fat all day long.

3. Watch your rep. That said, you should maintain a rep range of eight to 15 (rep=repetitions), depending on the size of the weight you're using. If you are using a heavier weight, you will probably do less reps, and vice versa. Try to do at least two sets for each muscle group you are working; three sets is the goal.

4. Cardio vs. weights. Plan your cardio workouts on different days as your weight training workouts. If this is impossible, do your cardio after lifting weights. If you run or bike before you lift weights, your muscles will be fatigued.

5. Refuel after you train. It is just as important to eat after your workout than it is before. If you can't quite stomach a meal or don't have time to cook, drink a shake that combines both proteins and carbohydrates, as your cells need the nutrients to replenish themselves after a tough session in the gym.

6. Spice it up. Doing the same workout over and over will only lead to boredom. And boredom is a dangerous thing when it comes to exercise. Not only can repetitive workouts bore you, but your body will adapt to the same exercise and eventually stop benefiting from it. Change things up so that different body parts are engaged at all times. A well-rounded exercise regimen will give you the results you want.

7. Warming up is critical. This workout tip is an important one because it can help you prevent injuries. Don't just go full force when you get to the gym; warm up on the bike or treadmill first. This will help to elevate your temperature and heart rate, preparing the body for a healthy workout.

8. Stretching is key. Again, in order to avoid injury it is recommended you stretch before and after your workout. If you don't have time to do  both, it is more important to stretch afterward so that freshly worked-out muscles don't tense and cramp up.

9. Hydration. Hydration. Hydration. Avoid slosh belly by drinking water throughout the day. Trying to down a couple of glasses before you workout isn't smart. Your body takes a few hours to fully absorb water. And don't forget to rehydrate after your workout.

10. Watch yourself. The mirrors are there for a reason. Set aside vanity and use the mirrors to keep an eye on your form. There is no point in doing an exercise if you are not doing it properly. If you are unsure about how to do a certain maneuver, ask one of the trainers. He or she will gladly show you the proper form.

11. Dress the part. If you put on the right activewear for your activity, you will look good, feel motivated and raise the bar for feeling your best and staying motivated.

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