Six tips for the newbie gym-goer

Bench Press (Shaft) by Usodesita

Puedes encontrar una versión en castellano de este post aquí.

As spring approaches, “operation bikini” and ads for gym memberships are going to start blossoming everywhere.  In my usual style of being too early or too late, here are some ideas I try to put in practice about, well, my practice. Beware, though, as I’m no expert: I just talk from the p.o.v. of someone who has been going to the gym for the last 6 months, and has discovered certain patterns that could be of use for people starting out.

Always work out on mondays. If you’re somewhat like me and stay in bed late on sunday, monday will catch you with your sleep pattern wrecked. You are going to spend all day fucked up, groggy and tired. Hitting the gym early in the afternoon, –if only for cardio and some abs work– wakes me up. I start the week happy and proud of myself, and fall asleep much earlier at bedtime.

Have a bite as soon as you finish. A banana, a chocolate cookie, a couple of raisins or something like that. I’ve found that if I don’t have something light to eat after my workout, I will get to the dinner table with kind of a voracious hunger, and end up eating way too much.

Do what you have to do. Nothing less, nothing else. Don’t try to do today the exercises you missed yesterday. Or tomorrow’s. Even if you feel full of energy and totally able to do them. DOMS are unforgiving and you will feel awful tomorrow. Ah, and just to mention it: don’t go to the gym to spend your evening socializing. Please.

Take some rest from time to time. Take a week off every couple of months or so. Sooner or later, fatigue will build up and you will see it’s harder to keep up the rhythm. Recharge yourself for a few days and everything will be mint again.Think how you’ll feel afterwards.

Think how you will feel afterwards. Some days, laziness will invade you. If you start thinking “gosh, i’m tired today. I’ll go tomorrow”, just try to remember the way you feel when you have just finished your exercises for the day and step into the shower. Now, compare this with the way you will feel after spending your day in front of TV or the computer.

Go for a walk. OK. You just can’t do it and your body is screaming at you to get home and relax until bedtime comes. That’s fine. But if you can gather enough strength and have a splinter of free time, go outside for a walk in the sunset. It’s a great way to ease muscle congestion and unwind after a hard day’s work!

That’s it. It’s 16.30 and I’m preparing to go to the gym. If you have your own advice about this, go ahead and comment :)