By Juan-Carlos Asse
How do you get started? I can't stress enough the importance of starting slow when beginning a workout program. How many times have you seen people go so intensely the first day that they can't move for a week because they are so sore and then don't want to workout at all? Or even worst get injured because their muscles are so weak? Start slowly and increase your intensity every 2 weeks by a manageable amount of weight and reps. Muscles adapt to being used, but will tear if they are overstressed. I recommend starting off with walking fast, 30-second planks, and 12 rep sets for the rest of your body parts. Don't do more than one or two sets for each body part. Listen to your body. If your muscles feel pumped up, then that is good enough. After you build up you base strength you can start increasing weight or intensity. I highly recommend using a good trainer to start you up safely and keep you injury free.
Once your are rolling, here are a few tips to maximizing your time in the gym:
1. Make sure you eat at least a 45 min to an hour before you attack the weights. It's important to have enough fuel in your body to get through your workout! As a plant based trainer, I recommend oatmeal with a banana in it or a brown rice cake with almond butter.
2. Set goals for yourself prior to your workout. For example, say I am going to do at least a 100 push-ups before I leave the gym. You will always accomplish more going after a goal.
3. Make sure you are properly hydrated. Nothing will sap your energy more than being dehydrated. Drinking water consistently throughout the day is the key to not letting that happen! You don't have to guzzle down a ton, just be consistent. Chia seeds and beet juice also help you stay hydrated longer for an endurance workout.
4. Get a good workout partner or personal trainer. Let's face it; we all get more reps in when someone is pushing us. If you know what you are doing in the gym, workout with someone who challenges you and pushes you. If you are not confident, hire a good personal trainer! Nothing is as important as your health, so invest that money in the only body you have!
5. Have a music playlist ready that motivates you. I have seen so many different preferences for workout music! It really doesn't matter what type of music you listen to, as long as it pushes you to get those extra reps in!