Starting a gym routine is a great way to improve your health, fitness, and overall well-being. This can be a great opportunity to challenge yourself physically, increase your strength, and build your confidence. However, it’s important to remember that starting a gym routine can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to exercise or haven’t been physically active in a while. There are several dos and don’ts to keep in mind to ensure you have a safe and effective workout experience. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned gym goer, these tips will help you get the most out of your workouts and achieve your fitness goals.
(Also read: Top gym mistakes you should avoid to achieve your fitness goals )
Dos and Don’ts for First Time Gym Goers:
Rihanna Qureshi, certified nutritionist and strength training coach, shared with HT Lifestyle, some important dos and don’ts to keep in mind when starting your gym routine.
1. Start with cardio
Start with a light cardio workout, such as walking on the treadmill for 15-20 minutes, if you’ve never worked out before. Once you are comfortable with that, increase your speed. In this way, keep increasing the time and intensity until you can run and not feel exhausted for a total of 30-35 minutes.
2. Get into weight training
Then, gradually add some bodyweight exercises like knee push-ups, squats, and assisted pull-ups. When you can do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps of these, then start with weight training. It is very important to start light and gradually increase the intensity to avoid injury.
3. Prioritize warm-up exercises
Also, it is very important to warm-up before each workout session and stretch after your workout. This will not only prevent injuries but also muscle aches, strains and spasms that can be common for beginners.
Additionally, diet is an important element of your workout plan, especially pre- and post-workout meals. Your body reflects what you eat. What you eat will be reflected in your body. You don’t have to make extreme changes or exclude certain foods from your normal diet. A simple home-cooked meal, limiting your junk food intake, is the most sustainable diet plan, but exercise is important before and after meals. So, here are some quick pointers on that as well.
4. Pre-workout meal
Keep pre-workout meals light and at least an hour before exercise to avoid indigestion. Fruits, dry fruits and nuts are good choices for pre-workout.
5. Post-workout meal
A post-workout meal is also very important to replenish your body after a grueling workout. Whey protein shakes are one of the most popular post-workout meals because they contribute to immediate muscle building. But honestly, our bodies don’t work that way. Our body repairs itself within hours. So protein shakes are not necessary if you eat enough protein in your other meals. Try to have a healthy meal with enough protein and good fats after your workout.
6. Keep yourself hydrated
When we talk about diet, hydration plays a big role. You will lose water through sweat when you exercise. So drink at least 1 liter of water but sip before, during and after exercise.
“Some other small but important things to remember are simple gym etiquette like putting weights back on the rack after use, carrying a towel, and cleaning the seat/bench if necessary after your turn. These are small things but go a long way in setting good social habits at the gym. Go the way. Finally, remember, consistency is very important. Going to the gym regularly and doing moderate-intensity workouts will give you much better results than a one-off high-intensity workout,” concludes Rihanna.
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