10 commandments for a healthy workout
Effective fitness training starts with the right preparation. To avoid injury and ensure a healthy and safe workout, you should follow the 10 rules below.
1. Consult a doctor
Health should always come first when it comes to getting in shape. Compare it to checking your car before you enter a car race. A medical examination is therefore essential before you start your fitness training.
2. Know the language
It is important to know the basic terms of training. A rep is a one-time performance of an exercise (lifting and lowering the weight). A set is a set of repetitions that you do multiple times. 8 to 12 repetitions per set are recommended.
3. Stick to the order
The training program should work the larger muscle groups (legs, back, chest and shoulders) first and the smaller muscle groups (triceps and biceps) last. This is important to avoid injury and to stabilize the body. Exercises for the larger muscle groups also activate the smaller muscles that are needed with heavier weights.
4. Use a helper
A partner or trainer can help you manage weight and give you motivation when you get tired. Especially with exercises where you press weights overhead, it's important to have supervision.
5. Let the air flow
Many people make the mistake of holding their breath when performing exercises. This raises blood pressure and deprives the body of valuable oxygen it needs for energy. Instead, keep breathing evenly, exhaling as you rise and inhaling as you lower.
6. Keep it gentle and controlled
Exercising too quickly or constantly shifting your body as you lift causes the weight's momentum to deflect upward, preventing your muscles from getting a full workout. Working slowly isolates the muscles you're trying to work and reduces the risk of injury. It is recommended that you spend 2 seconds lifting a weight and four seconds lowering it.
7. The right time between exercises
After each set, your muscles need a chance to recover before the next lift. Rest 60 to 90 seconds, but watch the clock. Waiting too long gives your muscles time to cool down, while starting a set too quickly doesn't allow you to do their job properly.
8. Pay attention to pain
Muscle pain during or after a training session is normal; it means you are making significant progress. Contracting a muscle beyond its limits creates a buildup of toxins and other acids inside. Experiencing that burn means your muscles are getting bang for their buck. If you feel a muscle spasm, stop and gently stretch the muscle until it relaxes. When you finish exercising, if you feel a sharp, persistent pain that lasts for a few days, stop exercising and see a doctor.
9. Take a day off between workouts
Muscles don't grow in the gym - they grow while you're at home in front of the TV. Training lets your muscles know what to expect from you. After that, they need time to repair themselves for the next time. This muscle rebuilding takes place when the muscles are left alone for at least 48 hours. To make sure you're giving your body enough time to grow, split your workouts into every other day.
10. Monitor your progress
Keeping track of your training is as important to your future as tracking your expenses.
The quickest way to see results is by challenging the muscles with every workout. But you will never achieve this if you can't remember how hard you worked the day before. Write down every detail about each workout (how much weight, how many sets and reps, etc.) and refer to it before your next workout. If spreadsheets aren't your style, buy a workout book.