A piece on what you should be doing in the gym. If you aren’t working out smart that may be the reason you don’t see results, get tired of doing the same thing everyday, or you hittting a plateau.
Below is a combination of information I have learned throughout my Human Kinetics schooling, with personal experiences and what helps me to perform my best in the gym. I love fitness and want to share with you all the proper ways to be working out to ensure you don't injure yourself or perform pointless reps at the gym. Having worked at multiple fitness facilities, I have seen many incorrect techniques and movements. Unfortunately, not everybody gets taught to workout properly in high school which I believe can lead to improper fitness in adulthood. Feel free to share this post to encourage others to work out smarter.
First off I want to acknowledge that it is mandatory you establish what your goal in the gym is. Is it to loose weight? Gain muscle? Train for a race? Get stronger? Get faster?
Every goal can be attained in a different a way and is individual for each person. We all start out small and work our way up. I encourage you all to make small goals in your fitness journey to track your progress and keep your confidence high. It can be difficult at times and you may want to give up, however; if you stay strong, you will grow. Pick an attainable goal in something you enjoy.
Making the gym a place you want to be instead of dreading to be is mandatory as well for success. Get excited to get stronger. Find a love for wanting to be better physically, mentally and emotionally. My favourite part of the day is usually my workout.
These basic tips are in no particular order but in my opinion are necessary for a successful gym session. Working out improperly can be dangerous and may be the reason you never actually see results.
If you want to lose weight you HAVE to be in a caloric deficit (burning more calories than consuming)
If you want to gain weight you HAVE to be in a caloric surplus (eating more than consuming)
If you want to maintain weight you HAVE to be in a caloric balance
This will play a large role in your energy levels, sleep habits and physical appearance. Once you have your macronutrient ratios down, you need to eat real, nutrient dense food and focus on eating protein in most meals. Carbohydrates and fat will give you energy while protein will build your muscles.
2. Perform proper reps/sets/weights/rest for your goal.You need to decide if you want to build strength, muscle mass, power or endurance. You can easily train for each goal throughout a week. (One day strength, next day power etc.)
This picture is a good example for someone to follow.
3. Challenge yourself. If you can do 8-10 reps without any difficulty...it is too easy. To see changes in your body you need to be challenging yourself daily or nothing will happen. You need to stress your muscles and body to allow them to adapt = RESULTS
4. Take rest days. This is one I will admit I don’t always follow (I have a hard time finding myself resting enough). In addition to performing the correct workouts you need to supplement your body with rest to let yourself adapt. 24-48 hours after a resistance training session is necessary for proper growth. Not resting can lead to overtraining. Overtraining can lead to burnout which is difficult to recover from.
5. Don’t exclude muscle groups. Do you do leg day 4 times a week? Do you work your core enough? Realistically, you should be exercising each muscle group equally throughout a week. To grow a butt you do not need to do leg day everyday. Focus on including each muscle group evenly to produce a balanced physique. Our body naturally needs a backside twice as strong as the front side which means a 2:1 ratio of push to pull exercises. Meaning if you train chest twice a week you should be training back 4 times to counteract.
6. Always include core exercises. If done correctly, you can improve your core strength in most exercises at the gym. A neutral spine is necessary for proper form, and in conjunction with bracing the core, will contribute to whole body strength and correct posture. If you are unsure what I mean by a “neutral spine”. This infographic is a great representation.
7. Get your heart rate up. This is so important. Even when you are doing a weight lifting session it is mandatory to increase your heart rate at least once every day to increase cardiovascular health. This does not mean you have to get to your max heart rate (approx. 220-age), just that it needs to be above resting to see any changes within yourself. If you are going to the gym and are not covered in sweat by the end of it, did you work hard enough? It’s easy to add exercises to increase your heart rate in any workouts. Plyometrics are my favourite (jumping jacks, jump squats, burpees, alternating lunges) or you could add simple cardio (running, biking, rowing).
8. Always mix it up. You should be training yourself in multiple modalities to see the most gains (resistance, weight, cardio, plyometrics, bodyweight, ballistic). Get good at what you’re bad at. It’s fun to try new things and see yourself improve each time. Go to that tabata or yoga class, run that hill or swim in that lake! Become confident in trying new challenges and realizing your body’s true abilities.
I recently got asked to make a workout plan for a family member and it really got me thinking about how much I love training and helping others become fit. If you ever want a group trainer, fitness information or a workout plan please don’t hesitate to ask me! I want to share my knowledge with all of you to make sure we are all getting healthier and stronger physically, mentally, socially and emotionally.
MY PERSONAL FITNESS TIPS
I follow all of the the tips above.These are my gym tips I live by and have found to work best for myself in decreasing fat mass and increasing lean mass, power, balance, agility, speed and strength. Please remember everyone is individual and this is just what works best for myself. Your body may be different.
1. Deadlift often. Deadlifts are my absolute favourite exercise to perform on any day of the week. There are many variations for specific muscle groups. A deadlift is a compound movement that uses multiple muscles throughout the body. In my eyes, they are mandatory for improving whole body strength. They are challenging, however; once you start increasing the weight you are lifting, you won’t want to stop.
2. Always brace your core and strengthen it as much as you can. This is an easy muscle group to forget about. This does not mean doing endless crunches or planks. You use your core for all lifting and balance exercises. Don’t be afraid to strengthen it.
3. Lift heavy. You will not become bulky, as many people assume so. The benefits are endless. Gaining muscle burns more calories at rest.
4. Consume protein during and after. I love protein. I didn’t start seeing results until I made sure I was having at least 20 grams of protein after every workout.
5. 10 push-ups everyday! (A fun little daily challenge I took on from a fitness leader I follow on social media).
6. Always throw in some cardio. It does not have to be much. But enough to get your heart pumping for a couple minutes. (Works best fitting plymoterics in between sets). You'll thank me later.
7. Attempt a head stand everyday. I do at least one if not two headstands every single day. I struggled at first but through months of practice can get up into one just about anywhere. They are great for clearing your mind, increasing your core strength and raising your heart rate.
Thanks for reading about how I try to flourish in fitness.