Throughout my years as a personal trainer I have seen how certain fitness habits make a huge difference in my clients as well as other members at the gym in terms of reaching the fitness level they are hoping for.
10 Tips for Fitness:
1. Goals are key
Without goals it is easy to come to the gym and be productive. Every goal should be specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic, and time-bound = SMART. When your goals are that detailed you become motivated, driven, and confident.
2. Technique is a higher priority than weight
It is normal to want to lift heavier weights but it could potentially be detrimental to your health and goals. Always make sure you have proper technique before you begin lifting any heavy weight. Improper technique results in not working the muscles that were meant to be strengthened while straining others and potentially injuring yourself. Always take a look at the directions on the equipment or ask a fitness specialist for help before using a new machine or trying a new exercise.
3. Weight training is important for everyone
I have found that weight training is one thing that often gets less focus. While it is true that cardio is the best for immediate weight loss, resistance training has its benefits. Resistance training improves your performance of daily activities, it improves bone density, increases strength of connective tissues, muscles, and tendons, improves quality of life, and when you increase in muscle your metabolism increases as well.
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
CBS reported that up to 75% of Americans fall short of the recommended hydration intake of 10 daily cups of water by the Institution of Medicine. Many symptoms of dehydration are extremely common and are often times mistaken for other things. Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration are: dry, sticky mouth, sleepiness, thirst, decreased urine output, dry skin, headache, constipation, and dizziness or lightheadedness.
5. Dynamic stretching before; Static stretching after
Warming up and cooling down is extremely important to prevent injury as well as increase range of motion and reduce possible soreness. Dynamic stretching (the use of movement to stretch muscles rather than a static hold) is recommended during your warm up while your muscles are still cold and stiff from inactivity. Static stretching should be performed after your exercise when your muscles are loose and warm. Static stretches should be held for 10-30 seconds.
6. Your mind set will determine your future
Your attitude and how you think changes everything in the gym. It is what gets you here and what keeps you pushing when you are sore. If you start out not expecting to reach your goals there is a good chance you won’t achieve them.
7. Weight loss is 20% fitness, 80% diet
When it comes to weight loss, controlling your eating is paramount. You can burn all the calories you want in the gym, but if you’re eating is not in check most likely the scale won’t be going down any time soon. If you need help with nutrition ask about our nutritionist on staff.
8. Try new things
One reason why people stop coming to the gym is because they get bored. It never hurts to try new things and switch it up. Try different classes in the water or on land or purchase a personal training package so that you can branch out of your usual routine.
9. Figure out a schedule
Determining a set time to go to the gym is a great way to make sure that you are actually getting to the gym a certain number of days a week. In order to come to the gym consistently it needs to be a priority in your life. Make time for it and schedule it in!
10. Failures are an opportunity for growth and reevaluation
There is never a good reason to give up taking care of your body. If you have a bad week and couldn’t get to the gym or you gained weight or made less healthy food choices, use that experience to reevaluate your strategy. It is never too late to reach your goals.
By: Lindsey Dreyer, BS, ACSM-HFS, NSCA-CSCS, Fitness Specialist/Personal Trainer at Valley Health Wellness & Fitness Center
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