New Year Tip: Hunt For Gym Coupon Codes!
New Years is (obviously) one of the busiest times of the year for gyms. They love new sign ups! In fact they usually offer coupon codes around that time of year that you can use to save up to 50% off your new membership. So do yourself a favor and save yourself some money before you start shedding some pounds!
And now that you’re at the gym, here’s some tips for what to do at the gym:
Crash Course: What to do at the gym
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the gym! But now you are probably thinking, “What’s next?” You are certainly not alone in feeling a bit lost when it comes to knowing what to do at the gym, so I’ve designed this crash course to make it more straightforward.
Step 1: Clothing and Equipment
Get comfortable. Going to the gym is not about wearing the trendiest fitness fashion and looking fabulous, despite what popular culture may reflect. Wear clothes that feel comfortable, that you can move in, and that you are not afraid to get dirty. As far as equipment, you don’t need much. In fact, the only two items I view as essential are a supportive pair of athletic shoes and a water bottle.
Step 2: Stretching
The second you step foot in a gym, you should stretch. Pick a handful of stretches that target your tightest muscles, likely your hip flexors and upper back. Ensure that you hold each stretch for 30 seconds for maximal benefits. My favorites are kneeling psoas stretch, runner’s lunge, and supine crossover, but you can choose any stretches you like.
Step 3: Warm Up
Following your stretches, a five- to ten-minute warm up is needed to get your heart rate elevated and blood pumping. Warm ups can be any cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, jogging, stair climbing, cycling, etc. But also consider warming up by practicing the movements you plan to do in your workout less intensely. For example, if you intend to do weighted squats, warm up with body weight squats. That prepares your body and muscle groups for what’s to come.
Step 4: Core
Although there is no official order, I like to perform core exercises following the warm up. Pick two or three basic movements and perform 10 to 25 repetitions of each. Consider floor bridges, V-passes, and cobras. It is all about proper form here, so if you can only complete four reps correctly, that’s where you stop or take a break.
Step 5: Balance
Balance training is often overlooked but quite beneficial in teaching your nervous system to recruit certain muscles together, in particular, your core muscles. Never skip balance training! Try single-leg touchdowns, multiplanar lunges, or exercises on a Bosu.
Step 6: Resistance
Resistance training is the main calorie-burning portion of your workout. You can use anything from body weight to bands to weights. Start with your body weight and build up, adding extra resistance as your muscles get strong. Choose two to four exercises per muscle group, performing one to three sets of eight to 20 reps.
If you are exercising two or three times per week, a total body workout is probably your goal. But if you work out more frequently, break up your routine into muscle groups and work them on three different days: 1) legs and glutes, 2) arms and shoulders, and 3) chest and back, for example.
There are many ways to approach resistance training, but overall, listen to your body. Remember to give your muscles about 48 hours of recovery time before training that group again.
Step 7: Cool down
Just like the warm up, the cool down should consist of about five minutes of movement. Your body produces lactate and hydrogen ions during resistance training. When cooling down, your goal is to flush these substances out of your muscles and into your blood stream, thereby allowing for faster recovery.
Step 8: Stretching
Post-workout stretching is like extra credit. Your muscles are all warm and loose, so this is an ideal time to stretch them. You will be able to stretch further than you were able to before the workout. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.
Once you know what to do at the gym, and why you should do it, you can feel confident when you walk through that door.