Do you ever get to the gym and feel somewhat clueless? Working out isn’t as simple as just showing up and getting into your routine. Whether you are new to the gym or a veteran, follow this plan to prepare for a workout. It’ll help you avoid injury, perform your best and see results.
- Plan – What will you do at the gym? Weights, cardio or a combination of both? Come to your workout with a specific plan. If you do, you’ll be less tempted to skip out the hard stuff. If I wait to do my abs after my workout, sometimes I’ll just skip and go back to my dorm a tad early. Know exactly what you will do and for how long at the gym. If you’re like me, do your abs before your cardio. Know which arm exercises and which leg exercises you’ll perform. Know how many miles you will run on the treadmill or how long your set of sprints will be. Be prepared!
- Fuel – As I’ve stated before, it is incredibly important to have a pre-workout meal. Maybe “meal” isn’t the right word, but a snack with some carbohydrates is a great way to get your body ready for intense exercise. Try some fruit, a granola bar or even some toast with peanut butter. Carbs will fuel your body with the energy it needs to get through any sweat session.
- Warm Up – If you’re short on time, it can be tempting to skip the warm up. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT skip this 5-10 minutes. If you casually walk into the SRC and go straight into doing heavy squats or extreme sprinting, you can easily hurt yourself. Skipping these few minutes could force you to skip the gym for months to recover from a major injury like a pulled hamstring or a torn ACL. Seriously, it happens. So just save yourself from injury and warm up your muscles prior to an intense workout.
- Stretch – You can either do dynamic stretches (like these from Runner’s World – which help warm up your muscles while stretching them) or stretch after warming up your muscles with an easy walk on the treadmill or any light cardio. Skipping your stretch session could lead to injury. And, believe it or not, simply holding a stretch for 30 seconds prior to warming up could also damage a muscle. It is important to warm up while stretching, like through dynamic stretches or warm up slowly and then stretch after.
- Get Rest – Sometimes the best way to prepare for a workout is to skip one. If you’ve been doing intense workouts every day for a week, you should take a day of rest. Your body needs to recover and rebuild. You’ll come back to your workout the next day feeling better than ever.
Workout Wednesday blog posts are written by UNC Campus Recreation. Each Wednesday we swap blog posts with the Tar Heel Tone Up blog so that readers can view more diverse post topics that will benefit their health and wellness. Workout Wednesday blog posts can be found both here and on tarheeltoneup.com.