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Top 10 Tips to Prepare For a Workout

5 Oct

You wake up and decide today is the day you are taking initiative in your life to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Suddenly you are getting first day jitters, hoping you have everything you need to make a smooth transition. Remember, everyone who lifts once had a first day. Nobody is born knowing how to do an exercise, and nobody is born “in shape.” This is a guide to make sure you have everything you need to have a flawless first day, first month, and eventually routine.

  1. Find a Gym
    1. This step probably seems obvious but there are so many different gyms in the South Jersey area. The differ in size, price, and sometimes clientel. Here are a few options of different gyms and health centers based on your town in South Jersey.
  2. Schedule
    1. Working out is obviously the main purpose of going to the gym, but repeating the same work out everyday is not beneficial. In fact, it is possible to overwork your muscles and joints. That is why it is necessary to make a schedule so you can plan out your sessions. An example of isolating body parts to workout is,
      1. Monday: Legs
      2. Tuesday: Chest
      3. Wednesday: Biceps and Triceps
      4. Thursday: Shoulders
      5. Friday: Back
      6. Saturday: Rest or Cardio
      7. Sunday: Rest
    2. It’s important to give your body a day or two to rest. Adding an abdominal workout or a run to the days routine won’t hurt either.
  3. Music:
    1. Working out is a time where you can tune out the world and really just take a break and have some alone time. Listening to music is not for everyone, but it really helps a lot of people stay focused and pump them up to maximize their performance. Pandora radio is a great application for smart phones that allows you to customize your playlists including ones specifically for workouts.
  4. Shoes/Outfit: Nobody really thinks too much about shoes or clothes at the gym, but when you look good you feel good. You do not want to be at the gym with no motivation to perform well. Feeling good is going to give you a positive mind frame to lift and work out well. Plus, you’re going to be on your feet 95% of the time there anyway, so you might as well make the investment to be comfortable.
  5. Pre/Post Workout: What to eat before a workout should be a light meal like peanut butter on toast or fruits with natural sugars like an orange. Post workouts should be something high in protein such as a steak, chicken, or protein shake. For more information on protein, view my post on working out in the kitchen.
  6. Partner: Today is the day you hope to bench press your personal best. However, you will not be able to do that if you don’t have a spot. Going to the gym with a partner is helpful for not only encouragement, but for having a spot. A spot is short for spotter, who makes sure that you do not drop the weight and hurt yourself.
  7. Motivation: For some it’s a picture, for some it’s watching Rocky or a favorite song. Whatever it is, have something accessible to hone in on when you need that extra encouragement. Some examples is make the background on your phone a picture of someone whose body you hope to emulate. Find a YouTube video that really gets you pumped up, such as this one. Whatever it is, have it in you back pocket for those days when you just do not have the motivation to lift.
  8. Notebook: One of the best parts about starting workouts is to track your improvements. By taking a notebook with you to your sessions you can track how much stronger or how much better your endurance is getting. Example,
    1. Day 1: 3(sets)x 5(reps) lifting 125 pound
    2. Day 8: 3(setes)x5(reps) lifting 135 pounds
    1. Day 1: Ran 1 mile at 8:04
    2. Day 5: Ran 1 mile at 7:55

Being able to track your improvements and see how much your hard work is paying off makes the lifting fun and something to work for.

9. Check Form: Most injuries happen from poor form while lifting or lack of stretching. It’s vital that if you do not know how to properly use a machine or do an exercise, you ask someone who works at the gym or you look it up online. There are many websites that provide tutorials how to do different types of lifts.

10. Cleanliness: Hopefully you join a gym that is clean, but no matter how clean a gym is there is still bacteria from sweat on machines or benches. Bringing a towel to the gym to wipe your sweat prevents you using your shirt that has been on multiple surface areas. Most gyms have a liquid cleaner to spray on the machines after to wipe down. Also, to prevent bacterial diseases like ringworm, impetigo, or athletes foot, be sure to shower right away and do not re-wear gym clothes until they’re washed.

Hopefully this list is beneficial to your beginning stages of going to the gym! I want this to serve as a reference and helpful reminder for many workouts to come!