The gym is one of those places where it seems like everyone knows exactly what, where and how to do something. This location and the people you look up to can still overwhelm a beginner. To prepare for these intense work-outs, there are a few tips that you simply must know and remember. So read on!
Don't compare yourself too much to others
Starting with one of the most important tips. This is the tip to make sure your motivation doesn't collapse right away. Of course, it is impossible to look at others with a toned body or abs and not thinking 'wow I wish I had that too', but as hard as it is: try not to compare yourself. Drawing inspiration is of course allowed, but remember that these people have often been training (intensively) for years.
In other words: you can also achieve such results if you train for a longer period of time. Avoid insecure or jealous thoughts, use them as motivation, continue with your training and after a while look back at the results you have achieved!
Don't be too hasty
Speaking of getting demotivated: don't assume that you will get a great body after one day of exercise. Just like the people who great bodies have, you too need to train for a longer period to get such a toned body. Being driven is fine, but too much is not. Especially if you are just starting out in fitness, it is important that your muscles, bones and tendons can gradually get used to the load. If this doesn't happen, you are much more likely to get injured and overtrained. Good training requires a lot of patience, consistency and perseverance.
Don't train too often
Don't go 'too hard'. You would think that training several times a week (or even daily) would help you progress towards your goal. However, nothing could be further from the truth: in most cases, training too much will actually move you further away from your goal. After training, your body needs recovery time. This recovery time depends on the intensity of your training, but usually takes 48 to 72 hours. Is your body not sufficiently prepared for the next training session? Then it will complicate your training and you will not be able to give your best. Training at least twice a week is enough to make progress.
Important: many do not realise that your muscles only grow at the time of recovery; your muscles do not grow in the gym! So there is no point in training (the same muscle groups) every day. Get into a routine where you train different muscle groups so that you don't overload a particular group. Simple example Upper/lower body. Monday upper, Tuesday lower, Wednesday rest, Thursday upper and Friday lower. Choose a schedule that suits you.
Be careful with heavy weights
If you easily overestimate yourself and only want to go to the gym to impress others, then - as a beginner - start right away with heavy weights; if you are sensible, start with light weights.
Of course, we want a challenge right away and you might think that this is the only way to make rapid progression. However, this is obviously not true, especially if you are a beginner in the gym. If you start training right away in this way, you only increase the risk of injuries, and if you get them, you will make the exact opposite of progress! In addition, heavy weights as a 'beginner' will make you pay less attention to the execution of the exercise as well as teach you the wrong technique. These aspects are both very important for training. When you have mastered the exercises with the light weights, you can start on the slightly heavier weights.
So to please your muscles, build up your workout slowly. As described in the second tip: your muscles, bones and tendons need to get used to the load gradually, so keep that in mind.
Avoid drinking too little and pay attention to your diet
It is important to drink a lot and eat enough. This is extra important when you are a gym beginner.
In general, you should drink plenty of water, but it is even more important to do so if you are doing fitness. Water promotes natural muscle recovery, endurance and muscle strength. It also expels waste products from your body and is essential if you want to lose weight because it boosts metabolism. Try to drink 2-3 litres of water daily and drink especially well before, during and after your workout.
Just as important as water, it is important to eat enough (but not too much either!). Eating too little results in too few sufficient building materials, and the consequence is that your body breaks down muscle mass to produce energy. Building muscle mass requires more calories: you need to consume more calories than your body uses. Of course, you shouldn't overdo this either, because your body is only able to consume a limited amount to build muscle mass, in a given period of time. So eating more does not automatically equate to more muscle mass.
Don't forget the warm-up
A good workout requires a good warm-up. A warm-up prepares you physically and mentally for some strain (which you will certainly have during your workout) and loosens your joints. As your muscles warm up, blood flow improves, reducing the risk of injury. The transport of oxygen is also stimulated, allowing your body to transport fuel to your muscles more efficiently. A warm-up will also make you more focused on your workout.
Cooling down after your workout.
At the end of your workout, your muscles are completely warm and tight from the workout. A cool-down brings your heated body back to normal. There are several ways of cooling down. The main ones are: walking or cycling your muscles out at a moderate pace promotes metabolism. In addition, stretching to reduce tension on your muscles. Do this in a static way so no fast movements but rather calm and deliberate. Finally, should you take a hot or a cold shower? Both! Taking a hot shower improves blood circulation, allowing your body to get rid of waste faster. A cold shower causes your muscles to contract to retain heat. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and ensures that waste products are squeezed out of the muscles as the muscles contract. Yoga also helps as a Cooling down read all about it in our blog yoga for your mental health.
Fitness tips for beginners
Hopefully, fitness tips for beginners will help you better find your way and rhythm in the gym. And remember: build up your workouts slowly. Also read our blog on 7 training laws. If you really seem ready for strength training, for example, and your ultimate goal is to build muscle, then protein shakes highly recommended 😉.