October 1, 2012 | Filed Under Getting Started, Workout Goals | No Comments
As you put together a healthy workout plan, joining a gym can support your long term goals. But not all gyms are created equal. Range of equipment, class availability, and even the culture of a gym can have a strong impact on your results and your overall motivation. How can you find a gym that meets your needs and doesn’t stand in your way?
How to Choose a Gym that Supports Your Goals
- Consider the location and hours. This may be the most important feature of the gym you choose. The facility absolutely has to fit your schedule, and it should be located close to at least one of the places you frequent on a daily basis. Choose a gym within a minute or two of your home, workplace, or both. Don’t let poor access and inconvenience provide you witChoosing a gym may be an important first step for your long term healthy workout planh an easy excuse to skip workouts.
- Think about the type of workout plan you’ll be relying on and make sure your gym supports that plan. If you’ll be taking classes, lifting weights, swimming, or toning specific areas of the body, find out what kind of equipment and resources your gym offers before you sign up.
- Think about the kind of gym culture you find motivating and the kind of culture you find demoralizing. Do you want to surround yourself with lean, beautiful bodies owned by competitive people? Or would you rather find a more relaxed and friendly environment where you’ll feel comfortable progressing at your own pace?
- Trainer availability should play a role in your decision. Not everybody needs to workout under the guidance of a trainer, but many people benefit from the kinds of clear instructions and motivation that only a professional trainer can provide. Make sure the option is available if you choose this route.
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June 18, 2012 | Filed Under Workout Goals, Workout Tips | No Comments
If resistance training plays a strong role in your workout routine, it’s a good idea to make sure your training goals are clear. Muscle tissue responds differently to different exercises at various levels of intensity, and once you clarify your goals, you can choose the exercises (and even the nutrition plan) that can help you get where you need to be. Are you trying to build muscle strength? Or do you care more about volume and size? Here are a few workout tips that can be applied to specific muscle building goals.
Muscle Building Workout Goals
For a muscle building plan focused on size and mass, rely on the burn-down or drop set lifting approach. This means lifting heavier weights at lower reps. The fastest muscle building strategy comes from lifting until you reach the point of failure, or until you’re entirely unable to continue. After a short pause, continue until you reach the failure point again.
Strength Building Workout Goals
If you’re trying to increase muscle strength and agility and you don’t care much about getting big, focus on lower weights and more reps. Make sure you’re creating resistance in the rails, or supporting small muscle groups that contribute to core stability, balance, and speed. Building muscle strength can be great for your athletic performance, but if you pursue this method, you may never get the bulky, muscular look of a professional body builder.
For both types of muscle building goals, remember to get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated (choose juice or water), and eat several servings a day of lean protein. Legumes, fish, poultry, eggs and nuts can support the muscle building process and help your muscle tissue recover from the miniscule damage caused by high intensity resistance training.
November 3, 2011 | Filed Under Workout Goals, Workout Routines | No Comments
If you’ve been working out at the same place, at the same time of day, using the same basic routine for a long time, you may have settled into a comfortable relationship with a healthy habit. That’s good news, and there’s nothing wrong with turning exercise into a regularly scheduled part of an ordinary day. But in the interest of keeping your body healthy and your motivation intact, it might be time to change your routine if you fall into any of these categories:
1. You’re bored.
If you’re bored with the gym and you’re beginning to drag your feet and give less than 100 percent, change your workout before you start finding reasons not to go. Maybe it’s time to get out of the gym altogether for a little while. Consider going running in a park or using the equipment on an outdoor fitness trail. (Take your Gripads—they work just as well outdoors!)
2. Your abs are in perfect shape. But you aren’t sure about the rest of you.
An unvarying routine can certainly sculpt one targeted area of your body to near perfection, but you don’t live in just one part of your body. You live in the whole thing. It may be time to let the triceps go for a while and focus new energy on your obliques or quads.
3. Your routine hasn’t changed for more than a year.
If your routine has been the same for twelve months or longer, it’s time for a new one. If you aren’t sure where to go from here, have a conversation with a personal trainer and let her know what you’ve been doing so she can move you to the next level.
4. You need new partners.
Your workout buddies can be helpful when it comes to getting you on track, but at some point, your goals and plans may begin to diverge from those of your partners. If a relationship is holding back your progress, try to find a way to stay in touch for some parts of your routine while diverging in others. And remember, you can still stay friends outside of the gym.
October 26, 2011 | Filed Under Finding a Trainer, Workout Goals | No Comments
Working out feels great, as experienced athletes know. But sometimes, even when we know we’ll feel fantastic at the end of a session, it can still be difficult to get off the couch or out of bed when it’s time to put on our gear and begin exercising. Working out with a friend can help, but sometimes the buddy system isn’t quite enough. When your willpower flags and your workout partner cancels, it can be helpful to have a commitment or appointment already in place. Especially if the appointment is with a professional trainer or the commitment is to a class that only happens once or twice a week.
Most professional trainers are not just fit and knowledgeable about exercise science—They also know how to tailor a workout routine to meet the individual needs of every client. An excellent trainer can shout at someone who needs to be pushed and find other strategies for those who respond to gentler tactics. Make sure you find someone who listens to you and clearly understands your fitness goals. And remember that a positive relationship with a trainer is built on trust. She’ll tailor a plan for you, but you need to be willing to rise to the challenge, show up on time, and follow her directions.
If you’re investigating a class, watch a session for a few minutes to see if the pace and the environment are right for you. If you need competition to succeed, find a class where you can show off your skills. If you’re turned off by competition, find a class where you can move at your own pace. Within limits, accommodate your weaknesses. If you have a bad ankle, don’t take a high impact class with lots of jumping. And use the phone. If you need to target or favor a certain body area, make some calls and ask questions about zumba, cycling, yoga, martial arts or any other classes that are available in your local area. Once you sign up, follow through. Even if the class doesn’t seem right for you at first, attend at least a few sessions before you make up your mind.
October 13, 2011 | Filed Under Hand Protection, Workout Goals | No Comments
You’re doing everything you can to get the most out of your workout, both on and off the gym floor. You’re eating a balanced diet loaded with plenty of whole grain carbohydrates, green leafy vegetables and lean protein. You’re getting at least six hours of sleep each night. You’ve found a strong support network among your family and friends. You’re staying hydrated, motivated, and on schedule.
But there are a few additional things you can do to clear the path to your goals and protect the value you get out of each hour you spend at the gym. Let’s talk about your gear.
Your clothes, shoes and hand protection should all be part of the system you rely on to keep your performance at optimum levels. Choose your gear carefully, since small details can have an effect that you may not feel at first. The difference between the right and wrong running shoes may not become apparent until months down the road, and the difference between the right and wrong hand protection may affect your technique, the amount you’re able to lift, and the reps you can sustain.
Gripads can protect your hands from sweat, germs, blisters and slippage during one workout. But if you use your Gripads consistently, they can protect not only your hands, but your overall workout goals. Gripads can prevent the minor injuries that can cause you to favor a hand without realizing it and lose your technique. And they also protect your motivation. Healthy, blister-free, injury-free hands won’t slow you down, and they won’t let your workout turn into a painful chore.
From your choice of gear, to the location of your gym, to the time of day you choose to work out, make things easy on yourself. Don’t let minor obstacles and irritations interfere with your goals. Gripads can help.