Exercise is one of the best ways in which you can spend your free time. It betters both the body and mind in plenty of different ways. Getting into the habit of exercising can be difficult, but once attained, it can give you life-long benefits. It may not seem like it to many, but it is actually extremely enjoyable when you introduce it into your routine. For many people, exercising is a favoured part of the day and something to anticipate.
One of the most popular forms of exercise is weightlifting. Of course, this is something that is a little bit unusual in the sense that it’s not a childhood hobby. Many people who play sports, or draw, or read have done so since their younger years. However, weightlifting and going to the gym can actually be quite harmful for young people. This is why you often see people who have loved sports as a kid transition to weightlifting. That doesn’t mean you can’t still pursue your love for sports as you go to the gym, however. A career in the industry is always a viable option. For example, St. Bonaventure University has a fantastic sports journalism course. This means you can still have that sporty lifestyle even if you aren’t playing anymore.
Going to the gym is something everyone can benefit from. Whether you just want to get into shape or want to pursue a career in weight lifting, the choice is yours. However, one of the main reasons that people often struggle to go to the gym initially is because of intimidation. Of course, the gym can be a scary place for beginners. Not knowing what to do, where to look, or what to wear can make life difficult. However, 9/10 gyms you go to will have a friendly and welcoming environment. If you need some advice for starting out in the gym, you can consider some of the following.
Many people get super enthusiastic about joining the gym, which is great, if done in the right way. You can’t go head first into weightlifting. Many new members are far too eager to lift the heaviest weight and to build some muscle. However, that isn’t the way it should be looked at. You need to start slow when first joining a gym. That means getting plenty of rest between workouts and using light weights in the beginning. This may seem frustrating for some, but it allows your body to recover properly and prevent injury. For your first few weeks, maybe try going twice every seven days. Once you feel comfortable and pain-free, you can then up the frequency of your workout.
Diet is a massive part of weightlifting in the gym. If you do not give it enough attention, then you will see little progress. There are two main things you should focus on when it comes to eating for the gym. First of all, you need plenty of protein. Protein helps to promote recovery in the muscles and helps to build them stronger. This is key to your development in the gym. You should aim to get your protein from good sources such as chicken, turkey, and lean beef. Carbohydrates are another thing that you must focus on when training. These are foods that give you energy and fuel. There are good and bad options when it comes to eating carbs, however. Oats, potatoes, and pulses are all examples of good carbohydrates that will give you energy and not make you gain too much weight.
Train With a Partner
Everything is that little bit easier if you do it with a friend. Starting to go to the gym is no exception to this. It can really help to boost your confidence and feel more comfortable in the gym environment. Even training with someone for the first few sessions can give you the confidence you need to do it on your own. The experience level of your partner doesn’t really matter. They can be a fellow newbie or a professional powerlifter. Of course, someone who is more experienced will be able to offer you advice and teach you things. But if they don’t have experience, you can help each other learn and develop. It is worth remembering that plenty of people at the gym will be more than happy to help. This means if you are unsure of anything, you should feel comfortable enough to go ahead and ask.
Do Not Ego Lift
Ego lifting is a term used by people in the gym. What it means is lifting more than you are capable of with improper form. This is something a lot of new members will do. Even people who have been going to the gym for years will do this. However, it does you no favors whatsoever. First of all, you don’t look as good as you think you do. It will be apparent to any gym goers that you are ego lifting straight away, so if you think you look impressive, think again. Secondly, it highly increases your chance of injury. Not being able to comfortably lift and control a weight is extremely dangerous. You could sustain an injury that ends up preventing you from going to the gym for a long period of time. Lastly, you won’t be able to keep proper form when you are ego lifting. This will prevent your muscles from being properly engaged. Doing this means you are preventing your own progress and not developing your body properly.
The Importance of Form
As mentioned above, the importance of form is undeniable. Without it, your muscles just will not grow and develop to their full potential. The proper range of motion and movement should be your priority when you are training your muscles. This means trying to isolate the targeted muscle, trying to get that one area to do as much of the world as possible. For example, a common exercise that people are not attentive enough to their form with is bicep curls. You are aiming to use your bicep and only your bicep. This means that the upper half of your arm should be stable and immobile. Focus on contracting your bicep within the full range of motion. If you are leaning back and swinging, the weight is too heavy for you. You should try to lower the weight so that you have maximum control over the barbell or dumbbell. This helps to activate the targeted muscle group, making it more beneficial for your progress. If you need any advice on form or movements, ask someone in the gym for some help. It can often be hard to judge your own form on the likes of squats and deadlifts. Again, people will be more than happy to help out.
Know When Not to Train
Part of training efficiently is knowing when not to train. Many people think that powering through pain or fatigue to lift weights is a good idea. It’s not. If your body is very clearly signaling to you not to train, you should take this on board. There is a clear difference between muscle fatigue from training and injury. If your fatigue is too bad, you should give yourself adequate rest. If you feel as if you might be injured, you need to rest until you are fully healed. If there is no progress in regard to your recovery, it could be time to be seen to be a professional. The likes of wrist, shoulder, and knee pain are all common injuries among gym-goers.
Understanding Your Goals
When you join a gym, you should outline what your goals for your weightlifting journey are. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to gain weight? Do you want to be stronger for sports? These are the questions you should be asking yourself prior to starting. Depending on your goals, your diet and training methods change. Outlining your goals prior to training helps you do the right things and motivate you to be consistent with it. Once you start lifting weights frequently, you can start setting goals for weights and reps. For example, you might aim to improve your bench press by 10kg within the next two months.
The gym gives you confidence. However, you can’t get carried away with how big and strong you are getting. You might feel comfortable shoulder pressing 10kg dumbbells, but that doesn’t mean you should shoot up to 20kg. All of your improvements should be gradual and patient. Rushing into new goals and weights will make you far more likely to ego-lift and sustain an injury. No matter how comfortable you feel on a weight, you should always build up slowly. Although this may be more time-consuming, it is far more beneficial to your progress. It will allow you to keep better form and encourage you to keep aiming for new records, and is more sustainable.