I started working out seriously in September of this year. Even though it’s only been two months, I’ve made some amazing progress. And yes, I’m allowed to brag because I worked my ass off.
Now, I’m not claiming to know everything there is to know about staying in shape. But I did speak with a few trainers these past few months, and I’ve started noticing not only changes in my body, but in my environment also.
Take today for example. I was at the gym, as usual, when I noticed a girl in first year struggling with some of the workouts. I spotted her issues right away: her posture was off and as a result, she was improperly lifting and thought she could lift more than she really could. Sure enough, though this girl seemed in good shape, I noticed she slouched the entire time she was at the gym, probably from improper posture her whole life that had only been encouraged by her workout habits.
It’s sad too because I’m not the kind of person who gives people advice at the gym (seriously, who wants to be “that person”?!). But at the same time, I wanted to help this girl and other workout newbies (myself included) who may not know some of the fundamentals. Ladies, this is especially important for y’all to know.
- Posture is EVERYTHING.
I’ve already touched on this with my earlier example, but I’ll elaborate. When you’re lifting ANYTHING EVER, you need to have good form, especially when it comes to your posture. I myself have always slouched up until recently. It’s because my posture has been working out alongside me these past months, and I stand straighter and am more flexible as a result.
Let me put it this way: most people know not to lift with your back, but do you know why? BECAUSE YOU’LL SNAP LIKE A FREAKING TOOTHPICK, THAT’S WHY! Seriously, learn the proper form for whatever workout you’re doing BEFORE you attempt it. This is especially important to everyone who deadlifts without keeping their fucking head straight (99% of all the guys at Loyalist College, I’m looking at you). You’re going to break your neck.
Just ask someone, such as a friend or gym employee, to spot you before trying anything new. That way, they’ll be able to help you with your technique and save you from horrendous potential injury.
Remember: it’s better to do your sets correctly than it is to do a whole lot of them.
(But seriously, if you deadlift like that, I think you’re an idiot.)
2. Stop. Doing. Nothing. But. Cardio.
Ladies, I’m looking at you fools. It’s been backed by several studies now that doing nothing but cardio won’t slim you down to a size zero or whatever. It will help you lose weight for a bit, but it will be a terrible, slow process and will make you hate yourself. Trust me.
Instead of focussing on being slim, focus on losing fat. It might sound like the same thing, but most people don’t understand the difference. Fat doesn’t just *poof* off of your body; you convert it into muscle (unless you have a plethora of fat that you need to get rid of, then it kinda *poofs*, or at least seems to). You’re not going to convert anything into muscle unless you challenge your body.
Challenging your body means you need to build strength, not necessarily endurance – unless you’re a track star or something. Please please PLEASE girls, try lifting weights and using the machines. I swear to God you will see results in one month of solid working out as opposed to the several months it would take for you to see results if you just stick with cardio.
3. On a related note – IF YOU JUST DO CORE, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GET SKINNY!!!!!
OH MY GOD stop only exercising your core. Why the hell would you do that? Do you realize how disproportionate you’re going to look in six weeks????
Let me rephrase (and calm down). Think of it like this: when you work out any part of your body, you’re going to gain muscle in that area. While having a six pack of abs would be great, if you only workout your core, you’re going to bulk up in your midsection. It’s just a fact, sorry.
Most of the girls (I say girls, but really it’s everyone) who believe this myth get it from size zero fitness bloggers who have amazing stomachs who tell them, “Core is everything! Anyone can look like this!”
I’m sorry to burst your first world bubble, but no, not everyone can. Genetics built that woman naturally small, she just trimmed down her waist by EATING HEALTHY and doing HITT exercises (which is fine, but again, I recommend lifting if you’re trying to lose weight. I find it gives you the fastest results).
4. For the love of Christ, if I see one more person try to stretch before they workout, I’m going to punch them in the face.
DON’T DO IT! It will kill you!
Not really, but it’s bad for you.It destabilizes your muscles and can be counterproductive. Always stretch after you workout, when your muscles are warm. Before working out, warm your muscles the fuck up with cardio.
Yes, I said cardio. It’s not all bad, I swear. But more than twenty minutes a day and you’re just going to make yourself tired for no reason.
Please watch this amazing video that will explain far better than I can why you’re an absolute fucking walnut if you stretch before a workout.
5. If you’re a girl, you won’t bulk up from lifting weights. Now get off your high horse princess and start those benchpresses.
I’m not going to lie, I thought I’d bulk up too. I thought I’d start looking like a female bodybuilder by Christmas, but nope, still me.
Fact: men have 20-30% more testosterone than women do (thank gosh, because I’d hate to have a beard, amirite?) which allows them to bulk up easier than women. Like, way easier. The only way you’re going to bulk up is you you start taking steroids, which I don’t recommend.
Lifting weights helps to lengthen and lean muscle out. Lifting weights is also good for your bones and helps with overall good health.Also, the more muscle you have, the more fat you’re burning. See how that works?
6. Don’t use weights on the cardio machines unless you want to die at the ripe old age of 28.
This one boggles my mind. I can see how you’d think there’d be a bit more of a caloric burn, but the risks outweigh the benefits.
You won’t be focussed on your body, you’re destabilized all over (meaning “flailing like a chicken with its head cut off”) and you’re going to have joint discomfort. If you really want to burn more calories, increase the resistance or incline of the machine. Don’t pick up a pair of weights and try running.
7. Don’t overexercise.
I’m guilty of this one. I workout at thy gym five days a week. Plus I do an hour of yoga each Wednesday, PLUS an hour of pole fitness each Saturday, so Sunday really is the day of rest for me (Biblical puns are funny).
But I try to limit my workouts to just one hour whenever I can (as opposed to my usual two+ hours each day) and I make sure to take rests whenever I need to.
The dangers of overexercising are as follows: dehydration, muscle fatigue and failure, injury, unbalanced electrolytes, thrown off hunger cues and binge eating.
Also, don’t go too hard, too fast. It’s not going to happen overnight, so please don’t try to make it happen overnight. It’s a long process, but it can be fun when you listen to my rules. Oops, did I just say that?
8. This one can be described with a hilarious photo.
Not just leg day, but any day. You need need need need need need variety in your workouts, or your entire body is going to be unbalanced and frankly, laughable.
You’re going to burnout your muscles if you do the same routine all the time. This means you’ll be tired faster, and you’ll probably end up quitting as a result. I know you hate leg day guys, I used to too. But don’t skip it. Don’t be the leg day meme guy.
So there you have it, folks. Follow these tips to stay healthy and happy at the gym, and have a fun time working out!