Whether you’re a beginner to exercise, have been training for years, or returning from an injury, these tips will give you the much-needed advice and motivation to ensure a fitter, faster, and stronger life.
1) Build a routine. Make exercising and fitness part of your daily or weekly routine. This way you’ll create long-lasting habits and reap the benefits.
2) Be controlled. As a beginner or intermediate lifter, you must be controlled with your movements to maximise the loads on your muscles rather than momentum. You’ll also build a strong mind-muscle connection.
3) Warming up and staying mobile. Unless you have youth on your side, you’re going to need a solid warm up and mobility movements before exercising. 5 minutes on the treadmill just won’t cut it. Use a foam roller for bands to mobilise the muscles you’re about to work.
4) Compound movements. If you’re at a stage where you feel comfortable to jump into compound movements – do them. Compound movements are exercises that involve the use of multiple muscles rather than isolating just one. These are squats, deadlift, overhead press, bench press and the like. Ensure you’re properly warmed up and mobile before compound movements.
5) Perfect form. Ensure you’ve got a great form by asking the right people, watching experts on YouTube and critiquing yourself.
6) Learn from your mistakes. Listen to your body and understand what works for you – this will not necessarily be the same for everyone else. Exercise and fitness are for life so you should ensure you’re doing the right thing for you.
7) Ask questions. The gym shouldn’t be an intimidating place for anyone and asking questions to your fellow gym-goers can result in positive conversations and insightful new learnings. Don’t be afraid to ask!
8) Have clear goals. Are you trying to be stronger, bigger, smaller, faster, or more flexible? Identify and understand what your goals are before getting to the gym. This will help you decide how you train and measure your performance.
9) Consistency is key. It’s better to give 75% effort 100% of the time, rather than 100% effort 50% of the time. Make sure you know how often you want to exercise and track how often you go. Be accountable for your actions.
10) Surround yourself with active people. This is incredibly helpful to maintain consistency and hit your goals. Having motivated and active people around you will ensure you’re training and working out more often than not.
11) Exercise how you like. There isn’t a rule to say you have to go to the gym. If you love tennis, pick up a racket. If you love dancing, shake your booty girl!. Doing something you enjoy will promote much better results.
12) Injuries. Understand the easy ways to avoid them. As a beginner, you should always ease into new moves and exercises. Stretching, foam rolling, warming up and cooling down is paramount to a good routine.
13) Understand that exercise is looking after your body. Health and fitness shouldn’t be seen as a chore – although sometimes it can be. By moving, exercising, and building on your fitness you’re ensuring that you live a long and healthy life.
14) Compare yourself to yourself. Everyone is different and you should measure your performance against yourself – not Janet next door.
15) Setbacks. As with anything, there will be times where you’re not performing as well as you should. You may get sick, demotivated, hit a plateau – this is normal. It’s possible to overcome with a fresh mindset, self-reflection, and being real with yourself.
16) Enjoy your dopamine hit. Exercising releases the much-loved dopamine hit that makes you feel great. Ensure you get your fix daily!
17) Preparation. Hate getting up in the morning to hit the gym? Ensure your workout gear is ready and waiting to avoid more steps to hit your goal. Prepare that post-workout shake beforehand and have it in your bag. Sometimes the mind only needs 1 reason to quite – don’t let it happen.
18) Running hills. Instead of hitting the flat concrete road – run hills to soften the blow on your knees and ankles. It also has proven to burn more fat due to the intensity and reduce the shock on your knees.
19) Write it down. Make sure you’re tracking your performance somehow. The best app for training is Strong – use it to your advantage.
20) Enjoy it. Exercise should be fun and enjoyable. You should feel good after giving it your all.