When we first start hitting the gym, we don’t really know what we’re doing. This can lead to some mistakes that veteran exercise enthusiasts simply aren’t going to make. We’re going to give you a bit of a heads up on how to avoid this eventuality, and make sure that you’re getting the most out of your time in the gym.
Some of these mistakes range from not warming up properly, all the way to simple picking the wrong equipment. By the time we’re done, you’ll know how to avoid these like a pro.
Hey, who needs a warm-up?
It’s happened to all of us, the alarm goes off… We get some amazing range of motion exercises in hitting that snooze button like a mouthy teenager. The repetitions vary, sometimes it’s just the one, other times we do a full set of 10 before realizing that our two hour workout routine has just been cut down to one by virtue of over-sleeping.
The warm-up is the most important part of your workout for a lot of reasons. It’s an opportunity to help you wake up an become more aware, it warms up the body and muscles preparing them for the workout ahead, and it helps to keep you limber.
Remember that if you’ve only got time for a short workout today, you want to keep your muscles used to being woke up and ready to go. If you’re going to skip anything, it’s likely best the weight training, the cardio is going to keep everything up and fresh and going, and ready to do it again tomorrow.
The Waiting Man
There’s a non-exercise we’ve all seen someone doing at the gym, possibly even ourselves, and this is the time honored non-exercise of ‘the waiting man’. This is what happens when the piece of equipment you want to use next in your building routine is either in use, or worse has a queue that you have to join. Allowing this particular situation to limit you is a huge mistake, and there’s some very simple ways to avoid it.
To start with, try getting into the gym when it’s not quite as busy. The best hours to get an interruption free workout in are going to be after 7 in the evening, and early in the morning before the prime time birds hit.
It may be a bit more inconvenient, but it’s going to keep your workout from being interrupted. The better alternative is to always have a backup plan for working that particular muscle-group. This prevents you from cooling down while you wait, an may even be a refreshing change from your usual workout.
We’ll take it as it comes, or “How to get less out of your gym time”
The best businesspeople in the world know that nothing beats having an action item list to help you get things done. This applies to working out as well. If you have a plan of how you’re going to work out during your time there, you’re far more likely to make better use of your time.
You’ll have a checklist to work your way down, an once you get to the bottom, you’ll have a feeling of accomplishment knowing you’ve done all you planned to do that day.
When you’re doing something that can be as onerous as working out, it’s nice to have a definite finish line. Before using a planned workout, it’s not unusual to feel like “well, I’m done”, without having any clear indicator of what you’ve actually accomplished or worked that day.
It’s also far easier to just decide you’ve done “enough” that day, and not make the most of your time. Having a list to work your way through makes sure you hit all the necessary muscle groups, and that you’re keeping yourself accountable as pertains to your workout.
Keep your strength for where you need it.
Cardio is an excellent way to build endurance, get your body warmed up, and make sure your heart is awake and ready for the day, but it’s also a great way to fatigue muscles you’re going to need later in your workout. If you intend on doing an intensive set of exercises targeting your leg muscles, it may not be the brightest plan to spend an hour at an all-out sprint on the treadmill.
There are a lot of perils that come with ignoring this seemingly simple rule. The first and most important requires you to remember that proper safe strength building requires an adherence to form. If you’re fatigued, you may not be able to hold the proper form to target the right muscle groups. At best this will lead to an ineffective workout, at worst you’re going to find new and creative ways to hurt yourself.
Do your cardio after you’ve done the weight-training to ensure you have the strength you’ll need to be safe and effective in your workout.