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Gym Tips for Beginners

Tips I Wish I Knew As A Gym Newbie

So you decided you want to get fit huh? good for you! Everyone knows getting daily movement is essential for your health, but only few people choose to intentionally get a workout not to mention go to the.. dare I say it.. gym. Yup I know a few people who cringe when I bring that word up. Well sorry to break it to you but there are no gremlins or scary monsters waiting to be unleashed at the site of your entrance to the gym. As a matter a fact, after showing up to workout consistently you eventually start to crave this wondrous haven that once seemed so intimidating.

Before we go further into this though, I want you to get real with yourself and think about why you want to begin this health journey. Having a clear reason is helpful because in times in which you feel like caving and not going to that cycle class you will always refer back to the reason you started in the first place, so what is your reason?

Forming a Habit :

They say it takes about 21 days to form a habit. Given that humans are creatures of habit, creating a routine for when you go the the gym will help shape your mindset by easing you into forming this as a new habit. It’s also important to remember when beginning your gym journey that change may feel uncomfortable at first, but it is necessary for personal growth otherwise you remain stagnant. Embrace the journey, and remember, health and fitness are lifelong commitments—an act of self-love and care.

Lets Talk about the pillars of going to the gym. This is all important information that I came into knowledge through personal experience and I wish somebody would’ve told me when I was a newbie.

The Importance of Warm-Ups:

Before starting any workout I highly recommend warming up your muscles. This basically gets your muscles activated which leads to an improvement in performance because the muscles are awake and can generate more force and power. Warming up also increases blood flow, raises body temperature, and reduces the risk of injuries. It is also known to increases neuromuscular function by activating the nervous system and this typically results in an improvement in coordination and reaction time.

For example, if your desire is to grow your glutes then it would be beneficial to perform glute activation warm-ups, on a leg day, as it can fire up the glute muscles and make your workout more efficient by improving muscle engagement and helps establish a strong muscle mind connection which we will get into later. Although performing muscle activation warm ups is beneficial, it is important to note that the warm ups alone won’t make your muscles grow faster. To promote muscle growth, you need to incorporate progressive overload, proper nutrition, sufficient rest, and I definitely recommend a workout program. You can create a regimen for yourself by determining which sets and reps of an exercise you want to perform on the given day. The actual exercise being determined by the desired body results as each exercise activates different muscles. Sets and Reps determine the structure of your workout. A set is a group of repetitions (reps) of an exercise. For beginners, I recommend starting with 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps per exercise.

Cardio and Weightlifting:

While cardio is an essential component of any fitness routine, it’s best to avoid doing it before heavy lifting. Cardio exercises predominantly burn carbohydrates, which are necessary for energy during weightlifting. If you deplete your body’s carbohydrate through cardio beforehand, your body won’t have sufficient energy for effective weightlifting. Do yourself a favor and separate cardio and weightlifting sessions or make sure you aren’t doing cardio until after weightlifting. Although cardio before weightlifting isn’t ideal, I do recommend adding some form of cardio into your workout regimen seeing that it has numerous health benefits and also increases stamina and endurance which really helps with any other workout you’re wanting to perform.

When weightlifting for muscle growth, compound exercises will be your best friend! Compound exercises allows you to lift heavier weights and stimulate more muscle fibers by activating multiple muscle groups and joints during the workout. Examples of this include squats, deadlifts, or bench presses. Form is key so make sure that you always achieve proper form to get the most out of your workout. I also encourage you to shed focus on progressive overload as you need to challenge your muscles over time. You can do this by gradually increasing the weights you lift, the number of repetitions, or the intensity of your exercises. This progressive overload stimulates muscle growth and adaptation. Other key take aways to muscle growth is getting an adequate amount of protein daily and prioritizing recovery because muscles repair and grow stronger during rest periods.

The Muscle-Mind Connection:

Muscle-mind connection refers to the intentional focus on engaging specific muscles during exercises. Basically by consciously connecting with the targeted muscles, you enhance the effectiveness of your workouts. You can achieve this by visualizing the muscle working, feeling the contraction, and maintaining proper form while performing the exercise. This connection helps you engage the right muscles and maximize your gains which is why I highly recommend incorporating it into your workouts.

Boosting Energy Levels:

It’s no secret that the foods we eat fuel our body. So then establishing and maintaining a balanced nutrient rich eating regimen is pretty important and conducive to having energy to fuel your workout. Foods rich in proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, and of course anything rich in vitamin and minerals is massively important to establishing a gym routine.

I’d also like to note, due to conditioning and availability, most of us have grown accustomed to consuming processed foods and supplements that most of the time aren’t even potent in nutrients because of loss during processing. I challenge you to consider adding more LOCAL fruits and veggies to your diet as well as implementing a more holistic approach as replacement or in addition to common supplements.

For example; When you need an extra energy boost to fuel your workouts, Instead of relying on energy drinks, try replacing it with watermelon juice. This is a great replacement because it contains natural electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, has a high water content which helps with hydration, and contains L-Citrulline which is an amino acid. When I say watermelon juice I am referring to homemade with the only ingredients being the actual watermelon. Definitely not store bought juice which is mostly preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and like maybe 5% real juice. The reason as to why I encourage you to take a holistic approach is because the cleaner you eat and the cleaner the supplements you put into your body, the better you’ll feel. Supplements are made from ingredients and chemicals that are derived from the foods that you probably come across on a daily. Creatine can be found in fish and meats. Most tropical fruits contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. BCAA’s are typically derived from plant or animal protein sources. Pre-workout is typically made through using amino acids and green leaf extract or coffee beans. Now I’m not saying you can’t have a diet that is consisting of mostly processed foods, I am simply arming you with knowledge so you can apply it however you deem fit.

The Journey of the Gym

Congratulations on taking the first step towards your gym journey! Remember, it’s not about overnight transformations but rather a lifelong commitment to your well-being. The intention behind the tips I’ve listed in this article is to help anyone that’s starting or even thinking about starting their gym journey. Everyone has a different way of doing things so only apply what you believe will help you make positive progress in your journey. Embrace change, establish a routine, and create healthy habits. With consistency, patience, and a positive mindset, you’ll achieve your fitness goals and discover a stronger, healthier version of yourself. Goodluck ♡

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