9 Tips for Beginners at the Gym

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I wanted to write down a short list of quick tips that you need to know when visiting a gym for the first time.

Prepare the night before

A lot of your success with losing fat and getting strong will come down to how well prepared you are, both mentally and physically. Get yourself ready for the a trip to the gym the night before. Pack your bag with all the things you’ll need such as a change of clothes, workout clothes, a towel, a pad and a pen for tracking your workout. If you’re visiting the gym after work, this will allow you to mentally prepare for the visit through your day in the office.

Plan your workout in advance

Rather than dashing from one piece of equipment or area of the gym to another without thought, plan your workout before you reach the gym. That way, you’ll be more focused once your there and you’ll be less likely to skip the exercises that you don’t enjoy… (you know, the effective ones! i.e. squats, deadlifts, pull ups, presses etc)

Be flexible

Busy gyms can be frustrating places. Before you know it, your place in the squat rack will be taken by some guy using it to do a set of curls whilst looking at his guns in the mirror. To combat this, be prepared to be flexible in your workout. Have a fall back plan, too.

Eat something before you work out

I like to have eaten at least two meals and a snack before I work out but then again I always work out in the evening. Even so, it’s important you go to the gym well fueled. Look for foods that are high in protein as well as carbohydrates.

Eat protein and carbohydrates after you work out

Don’t let all your hard work go to waste by failing to do the right things after your workout. Make sure you allow your muscles to recover by eating foods high in protein and carbohydrates after the gym, too.

Include it in your weekly schedule

Allow trips to the gym to become part of your weekly schedule. Two to three days a week is good, with at least two days between each visit. This will allow your muscles to recover from the previous workout. Remember, it’s the recover that allows muscles to grow, not the workout itself.

Set yourself some goals

Goals are crucial. When starting out, make a note of your body fat measurements, take a photo of yourself and make a note of the weights you feel comfortable lifting. Each month, refer to these measurements and make sure you’re making progress.

Track your progress

How will you know whether you are making progress towards your goals if you do not keep track of your progress along the way? I always take a pen and notebook into the gym, just so I can track what worked and what didn’t as well as the number of sets & reps of each exercise and weight lifted.

Keep your workouts short

Workouts do not need to last for hours and hours. You can warm up in ten minutes using a combination of bodyweight exercises such as Jumping Jacks, push ups and bodyweight squats. The bulk of your workout should be spent in the free weight section and with some structure and planning you can be done within 45 minutes of arrival. Treadmills or exercise bikes can be used for some high intensity Tabata workout.

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