Everyday for the past two weeks I have been hitting up the gym. Growing up with my mum, a gym fanatic woman who's life revolved around getting fit and eating healthy, I had the basic knowledge set of what to and what not to do at the gym. So, today, I decided to share it with you guys, whether it is for to get fitter or to lose those love handles, some tips to maximise your experience at the gym.
1) Sometimes, people are so driven with losing weight they forget to eat regularly and they often over-exercise, while going to the gym is good for various health and cosmetic reasons, it is important to keep a healthy and balanced daily diet.
2) Drink plenty of water! Water is an amazing fluid that will help you flush the bad toxins out of your body all day long, however, don't over drink it, don't go over board with it, don't drink 10 litres a day, it is bad for you and you can even die from it!
3) Wear comfortable clothes! I see so many girls going to the gym whose shorts are too tight and their boobs are basically jumping out of their shirts. The gym is a place for you to sweat and not pick up a date.
4) Always cool down after an exercise, rest is a commandment while doing a workout. If you run for an hour, rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes, if you do 4 sets of 25 sit-ups make sure you rest 10 seconds in between - and drink plenty of water!
5) Before anything, don't forget to warm up! By warming up and stretching before starting any exercise helps you prevent injuries and pain in the future. Take five to ten minutes everyday to stretch and warm up (such as star jumps or jogging in place) before exercising.
6) Last but not least: Set realistic goals that you know you can achieve and you will be happy with. You can't expect to lose 5 kilos a day, it's not only unrealistic but also unhealthy.
Five tips to strengthen your exercises efficiency:
1) Eat plenty of protein-rich aliments. Foods such as red meat, fish, tofu, low-fat cheese, beans, eggs, nuts etc are a few examples of the wide variety of protein foods. Protein is important because it is needed to build and repair muscles.
2) Slowly lift weights, this way you maximise each move on the muscle you are working on.
3) Limit your workout. Even though it has been proven that by limiting your exercise to 30 to 40 minutes maximises your strength, always seek a professional as everyone has a different body mechanism. However, if you over do it the intensity of the workout isn't as strong as popular belief makes it out to be.
4) Water, water, water. It takes a couple of hours for our body system to absorb water. So don't forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially during the morning because at night you become more dehydrated.
5) Change your workout every couple of weeks. Don't stay with the same routine every day, your body will eventually get used to it and the effectiveness of your workout will drop drastically. Change your cardio time or exercise, or the weight of the weights. This way your body stress levels won't be the same, and this way you will always be building muscle and burning fat faster.
Four things not to do at the gym:
1) Don't be an inconvenient person. If you see someone doing something wrong don't act like you know it all and bring them down for it, politely explain how to do the exercise. Also, don't maintain loud conversations while in the gym, whether you are talking in person or on the phone.
2) Always clean the machine after you use it. Some people sweat more than others, and there is nothing more disgusting than to sit on a machine and having to exercise on someone's sweat.
3) Don't be the person who hogs the machines. If your gym has a policy of certain time frames on certain machines so you should follow the privacy.
4) If you take something out of it's place, put it back where it belongs. Common courtesy takes you far.
I will also share with you guys my exercise goals and routines. Firstly, I am not extremely fat or in need of a change of diet, however, last year I ended up putting on 10 kilos, and I want to get my body back. My routine started from my diet, which used to include: Mc Donald's, KFC, Subway, Hungry Jack's (Burger King) and tuckshop food to things like: vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, cauliflower and beetroot, I also depend a lot on things such as fish, eggs and carbohydrate-rich foods such as pasta and potatoes - this way I am burning fat and building muscle. My mum, as stated before, a gym freak helped me formulate an exercise routine which was appropriate for my body height and weight, they include:
4 sets of 25 of leg exercises, they include:
- The leg press
- The leg curl
- The abductor/adductor
As for weights, I do 30 kgs for all of them.
Also 4 sets of 25 arm exercises, they include:
- Lat pull down
- The seated row
- Weight exercises
I do 20 kgs on the first two, and 4 on the third one.
For cardio-exercises I power walk 5 km, and use the bike for 20 minutes. To finalise my exercise I do four lots of 30 seconds step ups, four lots of 20 squats and four lots of 20 hip-lift exercises.
To wrap it up, before you start any form of exercise at the gym, always consult a professional who will guide you on what exercises to do and the appropriate weight you should use. Remember to use shoes which will support you while you run, if you use normal everyday shoes or sandals such as crocs, it can damage your knees permanantely. DON'T use those weight loss pills, they may work for a little while however, they are bad for your health and as soon as you get off them you will gain all your weight back. And remember to have fun, the gym is not a place to be serious about everything, make new friends and maybe even start a group exercise routine.
- L.D x