Have you ever hit the gym and wondered, "what does the calorie counter mean?" "Should I be doing what that guy is doing?" or "what is my heart rate supposed to be?" Here are 6 tips to lead you in the right direction.
1. Don’t rely on the calorie counter on the machine.The calorie counter on the machine is automatically set for a 200 pound male when you hit Quick Start on the equipment. And not everyone burns the same amount of calories when working out. Everyone has a different metabolism. The best way to know your actual calorie burn? Use a fitness tracker like an Apple Watch - and watch your heart rate. Because you program in your statistics in your fit tracker it is more accurate. Yes, when you program your age and other numbers in the machine it will be closer but still not totally accurate. The good news? You more likely burn more calories than is stated on the machine!
2. Do not watch others in the gym to see how it’s done. I simply ought to say, “To learn what NOT to do in the gym watch others!” Be careful out there! It is a dangerous gym. To be on the safe side, use machines first. All machines in the gym have pictures on them demonstrating how the exercise is done. The pictures also show you what muscles are being used. It is a great idea to study the picture, practice the exercise, and make sure you feel the muscles being worked (the ones in the picture). Mind to muscle connection is so important.
3. Calculate your heart rate before you hit the gym. Everyone should know what their heart rate should be during their workout. You max number is 220 minus your age in beats per minute. And during your workout it should stay between 65-85% of that number to get adequate caloric burn or “heart work” as I like to say.
4. Rest is just as important as working out. Some people start working out and think that they have to work out every single day for hours on end. This is NOT the way to perfect health. It is all about balance. What is good for you personally is individual. But on average, a good cardio workout would consist of 20-30 minutes of exercise 3-4 times per week. And add some strength training in there too. Lift weights for good muscle tone is good for many reasons whether you are 15 or 90 years of age. And ladies don't worry, you won't bulk by lifting weights. That is a myth!
5. Remember good etiquette in the gym. This is often overlooked. Be sure you do not hang out on the equipment if others are waiting. It is probably best to not hang out on the equipment at all, you may not know if others are waiting. Do not stand around and talk to friends while you sit on a piece of equipment. And remember to re-stack your weights when you are finished!! It can be difficult for the ladies to have to unstack those 45 pound weights that these guys left on the leg press or bench press. That is just plain rude!
6. It is ALL ABOUT POSTURE!! If I were to come up with a motto about my training this would be it. Fitness is all about posture! Try your best to not lean on the equipment when doing your cardio. You are doing yourself a dis-service when you do this. Not only are you training your muscles wrong but you are putting your spine out of alignment and setting yourself up for injury. It looks LAZY to see people leaning on the equipment during their cardio. Perhaps the settings are too high, maybe you need to try another piece of equipment, or maybe you need to just stop. Whatever the issue, be sure to stand up straight and focus on re-training good posture!
Happy Training, Kathie
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