Building Up a Weight-Training Regimen
Whether you’re new to exercising or preparing to get fit again after the holidays, figuring out your workout routine can be the hardest part of getting started. Going to the gym is intimidating for a lot of people, but don’t worry – if you have a solid workout plan, then you’ll seem like a pro, no matter how amateur you may be. The main goals are to figure out what you want to accomplish by going to the gym, how to build up your endurance, and how to stagger your routine. Keeping things interesting by switching them up will make you more than willing to come back for more, as well as giving your muscles some much-needed time to relax.
Get Your Priorities StraightAre you trying to lose a ton of weight, or just build tone? Have you done this before, or are you completely new to this? Either way, you have to narrow it down before you start planning your workout routine. The biggest mistake most people make during this time is generalizing. They know they want to lose weight, and that’s all they focus on. Instead, focus on exactly what you want and build your routine from there. Don’t trust a generic routine to get you results, because you are unique and might not lose weight the same way as someone else. Once you figure out what you want from this routine, then proceed with the next step.
Take It Slow
Don’t worry if you can’t lift your goal weight in the first week – no one can. Instead of beating yourself up over that, keep in mind that starting small will get you the best results. People who lose weight and keep it off do so gradually, not overnight. By taking your time building up your routine, you’re going to form lifelong habits that help you stay fit for life. Know your limits, even if you want to show off. Gym injuries can sometimes be permanent, and are almost always completely avoidable. By not straining yourself, you give your muscles time to build rather than damaging the tissue. Start with a small weight, and do sets. Once you feel confident with that weight, move it up a bit every week until you reach your goal weight.
AlternateInstead of doing a full workout routine every single day at the gym, take turns working different parts of your body. Not only does that keep things fresh and interesting, but it also gives your muscles time to repair between workouts. People who do the same routine every time they hit the gym are prone to getting bored and throwing in the towel as well as experiencing a lot of avoidable injuries, which can keep them on the bench for life. Take time to write out a plan of attack – maybe Mondays can be your arm day, Wednesday is leg day, and Friday can be your free day. Just make sure your schedule works for you, and isn’t going to get in the way of other commitments. Having a fully customizable schedule can make it easier to commit than a schedule that’s imposed on you. Don’t keep it set in stone once you write it down, either – having the knowledge that you could change your mind and do another workout any day you want makes you feel in control. After all, this is your routine, so do it your way and you’ll see results in no time.
Make Room for Cardio
No matter how buff you want your arms, legs, and torso to be, you won’t get anywhere with weight lifting alone. The people who experience the best results make sure to leave days open for cardio, and plenty of them. Cardio isn’t just good for the heart – it works the entire body and helps your metabolism speed up faster than weight lifting ever could by itself. Most gyms offer a huge array of cardio equipment, too, so you should play around with each of them until you find out what you like. Even if your workout day isn’t strictly a cardio day, you should at least warm up and cool down with some elliptical or treadmill. If it’s nice out, give yourself a day in the park, or just walk around a shopping center. Plenty of places exist for people to just walk or run around in, so here’s where you can get really adventurous. Planning cardio outings outside the gym is also good for those who get intimidated by going there every day, so these days can be almost like a break for you.