Updated: Nov 14, 2019
It’s that lovely time of year again when people go all out at the gym, either novice or experienced, and try to achieve those ever so lovely new year resolutions. UGH! I cannot stand this time of year. If you want to know what NOT to do just watch 90% of the people working out in the gym in January!! Here are some tips to help you be in the right!
1. Don’t rely on the calorie counter on the machine.The calorie counter on the machine is automatically set for a 200# 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. 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 have been a trainer for almost 15 years now and I can tell you for a fact that 90% of the people in the gym are doing their exercise wrong – for you. This statement ought to say, “To learn what NOT to do in the gym watch others!” Be careful out there! It is a dangerous gym. I’ll give you an example, my son and I were working out the other day when I noticed a guy doing something majorly wrong on the lat pull down (btw this is the most misused piece in the gym FYI.) This guy was even training a 10 year old little brother or son how to do this. It infuriated me for so many reasons. My son told me the only reason all those guys listen to him is because he is swole. Whatever! They’ll be wondering why their shoulders hurt and do not work like they used to when they pull ligaments by doing it all wrong. 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).
3. Calculate your heart rate before you hit the gym. Everyone should know what their heart rate should be during their workout. I can tell you it should never get over 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 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. Everyone ought to include some strength training as good muscle tone is good for many reasons whether you are 15 or 90 years of age.
5. Remember good eitiquette 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!! If your momma forgot to teach you these manners I’m here to teach you now. It is so difficult for the ladies to have to unstack those 45# 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! Period! Never ever 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