What you really should know about starting a workout routine!
How do you make sure that on your own you are doing what is best for your training? Beyond just having a great routine and pushing yourself, how do you make sure that your training is smart, effective, and safe?
Here are a few tips to make sure you are on the right path to success and health!
- If you don’t know for sure ask a professional. You can only learn so much from pictures from a magazine or from videos on YouTube. When in doubt always consult a fitness professional. Better to build good habits and perform movements correctly than guess and cause injury or teach your body wrong movements that will have to be undone somewhere down the road!
- Throw out the idea of “No Pain No Gain.” If something you are doing is causing you pain, making you uncomfortable maybe that exercise is not for you. You should be challenged and you should work hard but there is no need for actual pain. Getting tired, breathing hard, muscle fatigue, those are all good things to a degree but you should always avoid pain inducing movements and seek a professional for advice or modifications.
- Don’t be Hercules right away. If you are performing new exercises or a new type of routine you should make sure that you are using reasonable weights. The goal of a new program is to learn new movements and build upon the knowledge you already have. The goal is not to put up the heaviest weight you have ever lifted doing an exercise you have never done before. Be smart, learn the exercise before challenging yourself with weight.
- If you are getting too tired or too fatigued to perform an exercise correctly or safely take a break! Sometimes if you are racing the clock or your partner you may have the inclination to push yourself to the edge. This leads to muscle fatigue which will surely lead to injury eventually. Be smart, make sure that the form comes first and if and when you start to lose that it’s time for a break. Push yourself but always know your limits.
- Lift safely, always use a spotter with heavy weights or with a new movement. If you do not have a spotter than stay away from near maximal efforts. Better safe than sorry
- You’re gonna feel it tomorrow! Whenever you start a new program you are almost guaranteed to end up sore as all get out. So pace yourself with weight, reps, etc. when starting on something new. A little soreness is bearable but when you can’t even get out of bed the next morning you’ve gone too far. Your goal with a new program is to learn and perform movements correctly, not to take on the workout like it’s your purpose in life. So beware and don’t push it too much that first time around!
- Hard workouts are awesome but not every day! Make sure to mix in high intensity workouts with lighter stuff. 3-4 times a week of high intensity workouts are more than enough. Your body needs some down time so make sure you are getting some good cross-training in, whether that’s Yoga, basic cardio, basic circuits, or just plain old rest days. You need to make sure that you are giving your body workouts that are not always super demanding. This will decrease chance of injury, over used muscles, muscle depletion, and allow you to see the best results from all your work.
- Never skip warm-ups. This small but crucial amount of time should be put into every workout. You cannot expect your muscles or lungs to perform at their best ability cold. The warm-up doesn’t have to be extensive but you need to make sure that your muscles, lungs, and brain are ready for a workout. Warm-ups are crucial for staying healthy and injury free but they also allow you to get the most out of your workout!
- If you know you have an injury be extra vigilant about listening to your body. This goes along with, if it hurts, don’t do it. Most injuries do not magically disappear so make sure to avoid movements to any joints, muscles, bones, etc that you know you have injured. Consult with a PT or doctor before getting in over your head!
- Keep an open mind. A lot of times things are harder than maybe you expect them to be. Jump roping was so easy when you were 10, you could do it all day. Now you can hardly get over the rope 15 times before screwing up or feeling like your lungs are going to explode. Just remember everything takes time, learning, gaining muscle, gaining flexibility, gaining general muscle recruitment patterns, and increasing your overall fitness takes time. Just be ready for some things to be harder than you though. Don’t get discouraged.
For help designing a new workout, or information on planning modifications to your existing workouts, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer, Adriana Brown.