When working out to lose weight or gain muscle, most people often overlook some simple things that can help them progress. Working out shouldn’t be a hard task, instead it should be a fun way for you to relieve stress. Follow these important tips for working out, and your workouts will be more interesting at the same time you can shed some weight or build that muscle you have always wanted.
Cardio and lifting weights are all the good parts of working out, but don’t forget to stretch and warm up before and after a workout. Most people neglect to do these essential pre and post workout routines, and it can only cause issues in the long run. The possibility of injury increases for those who prefer to skip the warm up and stretch. You need to first warm up to allow the cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems to gradually increase its function so that the main workout can be performed as well as increasing the temperature of the muscles so that they are more flexible. Stretching is done after the warm up to allow flexibility in the range of motions during any kind of workout as well as to prevent injury and improve performance.
You Need to Focus on Your Form
By focusing on proper form during lifting weights as well as any kind of cardio, you can prevent injury such as muscle strains, tears, joint and/or back problems. Before you start any kind of workout program, make sure you follow the proper techniques and movements so that the correct muscles are targeted and you have proper breathing. If in doubt, ask a personal trainer and make sure a buddy spots you during any kind of weight lifting.
Don’t Use Too Many Machines
Machines are cool, they are easy to use and target a specific muscle that you want to work out if you are a beginner. However, most machines at gyms are useless. Gym machines often only work a single muscle and limit your range of motion. By using free weights for working out muscles, such as many functional dumbbell moves, you can utilize and work out more muscle groups just with one exercise. Stick to compound exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, free weight shoulder and bench presses and limit isolation exercises.
Incorporate Proper Nutrition
Do you have sore muscles for days after working out? What about little to no energy? Most importantly, are you exercising but still not losing weight (or gaining muscle)? While it’s normal to be sore in the beginning of any new workout program you start, being sore for days even after you have been exercising means you are not getting proper nutrition. You need to have a proper nutrition plan before and after you work out. Eating is how you supply your body with calories and those calories give you energy. By giving your body the proper nutrients, you will help your body grow, become stronger, boost your metabolism and lose weight and gain muscle. Protein such as from white meat and eggs as well as complex carbohydrates are your best friends.
Sometimes a routine that gets repetitive, gets boring. You can also hit a plateau where you are not losing weight like you were initially or you are not gaining any more muscle. This is the point where you need to challenge yourself and change your routine. Stay with one routine for 4-6 weeks, then change it up. Incorporate HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), go through different workout programs, incorporate yoga and if you usually do use machines, switch to free weights. Increase your weights, decrease your rest periods in between sets or try supersets (two exercises are performed without any rest in between).
Long Distance Cardio Will Not Lose Weight Fast Enough
Running and other cardio is a great way to get in shape and will help you initially to lose some weight. However, long distance running, cycling or any other type of cardio for more than 30 minutes will eventually wear you out and you will plateau. This is where you start the HIIT training mentioned above. HIIT alternates high intense moments for 20-30 seconds with periods of low intense moments and the workout usually lasts no longer than 10 minutes. All the while calories will burn more efficiently and elevate your metabolism for longer.
Rest and Recover
People often believe that by exercising more and working out for longer is where they will lose weight or gain muscle. That is a bad idea. Working out breaks down your body. Resting and recovery is where you build your body back up and where you grow and progress. So make sure you leave two days of the weeks to only rest.