Whether you’re a pro lifter, cant get enough cardio or somewhere in between, going to the gym is a great way to get in shape and increase your fitness. However you should always take some precautions when going to the gym, especially if you haven’t been in a while or going for the first time. Below I’ve got a few tips which help you stay safe and avoid injury.
1. Fuel up before the gym
It’s a common misconception that going to they gym on an empty stomach will help you burn off excess fat. If you do working out hungry can cause dizziness and low blood sugar. Your best bet is to have some carbs about 30-60 minutes before working out. I usually have some oats with honey, super quick and easy to make!
2. Warm up
On a daily basis I see people coming into the gym and going straight into lifting heavy weights or hitting some cardio hard. You may get away with it once or twice but it’s always best to start with some light cardio/weights to get your body warmed up and ready to exercise.
3. Bring the right shoes
Your feet are what connect you to the ground so it’s important to wear the right footwear for what you’re doing. Cardio fanatics, get yourself to your local running shop and ask for advise on what will work best for you to keep you going comfortably for longer. I personally like a good pair of Nike 4.0 Flyknit’s which you can get pretty cheap from the outlet stores. Weight lifters, get some trainers with a flat sole to give you good firm base. A relatively cheap option is a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor’s.
4. Good form
You can link this in with number 2. In your warm up you should practice good form for your lifts or cardio of choice. Exercising with poor form can cause joint stress and over work muscles. The internet is awash with videos, diagrams and forums to help show you what your form should be like for the exercises your doing. Do a little research and it’ll help massively.
5. Keep hydrated
This is such an elementary concept but you will often see people come without water and even go their full workout without having a drink. To keep your body cool as you work out, you will sweat, and as you do, you’re losing water through precipitation. Go buy yourself a bottle and top up before you start your work out.
6. Cool down/stretch
Just as it’s important to get your body ready to exercise, it’s also important to wind down as well and give your muscles a stretch to avoid any delayed onset muscle soreness. Most cardio machines will have a cool down mode at the end of your session. Don’t skip it, let your body calm down and I always find giving my legs a good stretch helps too.
That about wraps it up for the basics of safety. There are plenty of other micro tips but in my opinion, these six are the ones you will need to keep you in tip top form. Stay safe out there!