Many start the gym with hopes of a different life. It could be for the glorious gains. It could be because you’ve always been skinny or overweight. Perhaps you simply just want to be healthier.
Whatever the case may be, let us be real here. It is extremely difficult to get into shape when we are novices to the fitness and nutrition world. Diet and physical activity go hand in hand. Abs are definitely made in the kitchen and a strong bod is made in the gym. Many new gym goers feel anxious when they first start due to the fact that they have little to no experience when it comes to lifting weights.
Questions may arise:
- Where should I start?
- How do I use this machine?
- What muscle group am I even using when I perform this exercise?
- What should I eat?
- How much should I eat?
Here are some hacks to give you a good boost towards achieving your health and fitness goals:
#1 Hire a Trainer
Working with a trainer will help you reach your goals faster, and most importantly, safely. A trainer will create an individualized workout program for your personal needs. They will educate you on the proper ways of lifting and exercising. They will hold you accountable and keep you motivated. It is definitely worth the investment.
#2 Macro Intake
There are many websites you can use to calculate your daily macro needs. Simply type “Macro Calculator” in the search bar engine of your liking. When you click on a website it will ask you basic info as in weight, body fat %, type of activity level, etc. Remember your nutritional intake is what makes those washboard abs visible. I personally use Bodybuilding.com to calculate my macros.
A quick trick is 1 gram of Protein = 5 Calories, 1 gram of Fat = 9 Calories, & 1 gram of Carbohydrate = 4 Calories.
Calculate your daily macro intake, read labels, keep track of them by logging them down, and watch your body transform.
#3 Fitness App
There are plenty of apps that will help you create a workout regimen.
Here is a list of some apps to get you started:
- Pear Personal Fitness Coach
- Workout Trainer
- Nike+ Training Club
#4 Quality Sleep
We all work out for the benefits we earn from exercising but what if I told you that you are actually holding yourself back from receiving those benefits when you are not getting quality sleep on a daily basis.
When we get obtain quality sleep the body produces growth hormones, also known as HGH, growth hormones help us build lean muscle and aids our body in the repairing process.
Without good sleep your body can not fully recover. Poor sleep can cause you to feel less energized altering the intensity of your workout. After just one restless night your physical endurance decreases causing you to reach fatigue a lot quicker than usual making it difficult to work out to your full potential. Poor sleep can also have a negative effect on your diet triggering your cravings and increasing your appetite. The good news is that exercise actually helps quality of sleep. So, make sure you work out at a moderate to high intensity and that you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
#5 Recovery Days
Rest days are necessary for optimal results, longevity, & overall well-being. But what should you actually be doing on a rest day? Definitely not staying in bed all day.
You want to have at least two active recovery days. I highly recommend foam rolling. While it being one of the most affordable tools for recovery, foam rolling helps myofascial release reducing muscle soreness, improving coordination, increasing circulation, and could also increase range of motion. Other tools you can use to massage connective tissues are a lacrosse ball, acumobility ball, massage stick, boom stick, or a theragun. Active recovery days should involve activities such as swimming, steady walking, jogging, or yoga.
Make sure to practice mobility drills, stretching, and myofascial release on your recovery days.
#6 Dress for the Occasion
Dressing appropriately plays a big role! Wear something comfortable when working out. You do not want to feel restricted in your mobility due to bad choice of gym attire. When picking something to wear figure out what type of person are you. When I say this I mean, are you more of a conservative person that is self-conscious and likes to hide in their clothing? Well no worries, so am I. A larger shirt or sweater with enough wiggle room would be most advised with a pair of basketball shorts, sweat pants, or joggers that fit just a little loose enough for you to feel like they are not hugging your legs but they aren’t falling off either. This way you can exercise comfortably without having to be self-conscious or causing dysphoria.
If you are the type who is more comfortable with tighter clothing, a good dri-fit shirt and leggings would be more suitable for you. You can try stringer tank tops, compression shirts, and even some shorts to show off the legs.
This here goes to all of you. Wearing polyester boxer briefs is a must. It keeps you away from getting thigh burns caused by the seats of the machines or from your own thighs rubbing together. I personally wear the long polyester boxer briefs. They keep me happy and care for my thighs from self-inflicting pain.
Here is a few tips for those who do not wear boxer briefs or who do not wear boxers at all. If you wear shorts or loose pants, make sure to wear leggings under them. If you are wearing short shorts make sure they do not go higher then mid thigh for your own comfort.
When wearing gym clothes, the softer the material the better unless you are squatting that day. What happens is the bar will slip on the material of your shirt when performing a back squat and it will be a hassle to maintain the bar in proper position. Trust me, I have made this mistake before and it ruined my leg day.
Most importantly wear the right shoes! Cross training shoes are usually the best choice. they are meant for running, jumping, and lifting. Wear athletic shoes that fit. Having the right shoe will help prevent injuries and will allow you to workout comfortably.
#7 Create a Dope Playlist
Listening to music while working out keeps you for being completely bored out of your mind. Music can actually put you in a great mood and help increase your stamina. Music makes everything so much better! To get a really good pump going, choose music that has a tempo you want to move to while you sweat. Be in sync with your workout!
#8 Make a Schedule & Stick to It!
Motivation is great! But motivation comes and goes. Discipline will always make it happen whether you are in the mood or not. If you wake up every morning and make your bed regardless of how you feel you will always leave your room with a nice made bed. Same goes for working out. Fit it into your schedule and just go! Create an agenda and be a master of time management. Creating a schedule will defeat the excuse that everyone loves to use “I just don’t have the time”. We all have the same amount of hours in the day. Make the time for a better you! Commit & show up!
#9 Tell Your Loved Ones
There are studies that show when committing to something telling the people you care about the most will help you keep your word. You would not want to sound like a liar or not meet expectations of your loved ones. Spread the word, the more people you tell how committed you are about getting in shape the more effort you will put in to meet your goals.