Category: Fitness Basics

3 things you can do now to build gym confidence

It’s a new year with new resolutions for millions of people across the country. Some are to quit a bad habit. Others are to start a good habit. Some of you might be looking to build your gym confidence.

Everyone has a different reason or rhyme for their own pledge to change something positively in their lives for the next year. My positive change is kind of silly to some people my age, but I feel it’s time to get hip with today’s technology.

My resolution is simply to learn how to use Microsoft Office tools by myself. I can hear the giggles and gasps from everyone that just read that. Sam has been the biggest help in the entire world with computer stuff that I have had to do. My little joke to her has always been she can find us a restaurant in a new town from her mobile device but if that doesn’t work I can get dinner from the woods or water with my hands.

How does this relate to the title? Technology scares me and makes me feel very uncomfortable, so I avoid it. That is until this year.

If your resolution is to build your gym confidence and you’re a little scared of the people staring and judging in the gym, then I have some tips for something I know way better than technology: and that’s how to become comfortable in the gym.

Just walk In

The hardest part is walking in and feeling like everything is foreign or already being used by someone else. When you get to a gym the regulars will already have their plans and places. Most of the time, benches are taken and the squat racks are full. These would be places to avoid while you’re getting comfortable with the setting of a gym.

Find a treadmill or bike or an open little area and call it yours. Do have a backup area in case yours is being used though. Here you can do your workouts and blend in if you’re worried about people staring. Make sure you have a workout plan before you enter and that you can complete most of the moves in your space.

Sam and I made these quick workout plans that you can print and keep in your gm bag for the next time you need a backup workout:

Try a class to build your gym confidence

Classes are a great way to begin going to the gym. You don’t need a plan. Just grab a towel, a water bottle, and some workout clothes and your instructor does the rest. This is also a great way to make friends and have some accountability on your workouts. Plus, you’re in your own room safe from the more experienced gym goers if that’s what you’re looking for.

Related: Crowded gym survival guide for beginners

Remember that people aren’t staring

Now this one will surprise most people. People in the gym aren’t staring at you. Most people looking around are either resting between sets and trying to catch their breath, or are new and trying to find their place by imitating someone who looks like they know what they’re doing. If you walk in and have your plan and your place, you’ll be one of the normal gym goers.

Getting comfortable lets you grow in the gym

If you are comfortable in the gym and your plans start to get old, then you are in an awesome place. Now you can branch out into other areas of the gym and your fitness and confidence will only grow the more you do that.

Do you find yourself intimidated by the gym?

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Trying to complete a great workout in a crowded gym can sometimes seem impossible. These are our top tips for surviving a busy gym. Plus, three printable workouts to keep as backup workouts. Click through or save this pin for later!

Crowded gym survival guide for beginners

Whether you’re just getting back in shape or you’ve been working out for the past year, the dreaded January crowded gym is enough to make anyone turn back on a resolution.

At The Athlete & the Mathlete, we believe in setting yourself up for success by eliminating as many obstacles as possible. Unfortunately, trying to find your best gym schedule can be a barrier in itself.

What’s worse? Trying to follow a new gym plan that might include workout methods that you’re not used to all while fighting for some space.

Buuuuuuut, we don’t think that’s a good reason to give up. Instead, we’ve put together our very best tips for navigating a crowded gym so that you can reach your goals anyway!

Find the best gym schedule for your fitness program

We’re letting you in on a little secret here: You don’t have to do your workout the same way everyone else does. In fact, as you plan your weekly gym calendar (a task that we highly recommend) keep yourself in-the-know when it comes to what everyone else is doing.

Call us crazy, but it sure seems like a lot of fitness plans start with chest workouts. What does that mean for you? It means that finding a free bench on Mondays is going to be a little difficult. But your Mondays can be used for cardio, a leg workout or a body weight workout. Save any workouts that require a bench for later in the week.

Speaking of body weight workouts, it’s almost always easier to find a mat at the gym than it is to find a piece of equipment. Plan your workouts accordingly.

Especially as a beginner, bodyweight workouts can be a great way to ease yourself into strength training. You’ll find that you can build up your strength, lose weight and tone up all by incorporating body weight workouts into your regular fitness schedule.

And finally, we recommend finding a way to avoid peak gym hours altogether. We’ve found that scheduling workouts early in the morning or after 7pm are the best way to avoid the gym crowds (even in early January). If these hours don’t fit into your schedule, try to utilize the weekends.

Many people believe that an effective fitness program has to begin on a Monday. Workout plans that start on Thursday work just as well. Going to the gym on a Thursday-Sunday schedule is great if you can commit to focusing on your goals on your weekends. Then, incorporate in-home workouts into your schedule Monday-Wednesday if necessary.

Related: How to make your Google calendar the ultimate fitness tracker

Study your workout

This crowded gym tip is pretty basic… don’t wait until you get to the gym to read through your workout. Set some time aside the night before to do the following:

  1. Read through the workout… top to bottom
  2. Determine the tools you’ll need (weights – know your size, gym equipment, a mat, etc.)
  3. Try to get a feel for how long the workout will take. That means, try to decide where you’ll need breaks and how long it will take you to transition from exercise to exercise.
  4. Find ways that you can switch up the order of your workout if the equipment you need isn’t available
  5. If you still have questions or concerns, take notes! Then you’ll know exactly what to ask the trainers at your gym before you start.

Related: Our three best 30 minute workouts!

Go in with a backup plan

Sometimes, you’ll find yourself on a time crunch (or you’ll just want to get the heck out of the crowded gym). For times like these, we recommend going to the gym with a backup plan.

Modifications can be used when you’re not able to snag the equipment you need to do your workout. A quick Google search can be used in a jam (but we recommend researching modifications before you get to the gym.) For example, a quick search for ‘lat pulldown substitute’ will tell you that pullups are another option.

But what if you’re not interested in modifications? Then you might need to be prepared to spend some extra downtime between exercises. If you’re OK with that, determine ahead of time what you’ll do in between exercises. We think this is a great time to add in some additional cardio work!

You might not be able to do the workout you were planning… .that’s OK.  You’re there, so make the most of your time. Take a few different plans with you that serve as back ups to make sure you’re getting a great workout in no matter what. In fact, we’ve created a few for you to print out and take with you to the gym for situations like these:

Understand unwritten crowded gym rules

Let’s be honest, the gym can be a little intimidating, and it’s even worse when it’s crowded. But, there a few unwritten gym rules that will help you navigate through the hustle and bustle like a pro.

  1. Clean your gym equipment after you use it. To follow this rule, you just need to know when to clean your stuff. Basically… Any time you’re sweating a lot on a piece of equipment, you’ll want to clean it. That means, wipe down your bench after you use it and anytime you’re on a piece of cardio equipment for a long time, you’ll want to clean it as well. However, don’t feel like you need to wipe down your dumbbells or barbells when you’re done using them.
  2. Put your weights away. Remember the cleanup rule when you were a kid? Put the stuff back where you found it.
  3. No small talk with someone with headphones in. Now, asking someone if a bench or treadmill is being used is no problem, but let’s keep it at that. If someone is using headphones, it means that they want to listen to their music.
  4. Just because you don’t see someone using the equipment, doesn’t mean it’s free. This one is sometimes the hardest unwritten rule to get used to. It’s not uncommon for a gym-goer to use multiple pieces of equipment in what’s called a superset. So, if you see an empty bench or machine, it’s not a bad idea to ask someone around you if the equipment is free.

Don’t freak out!

Our number one crowded gym tip is to take it easy on yourself. Getting to the gym is the first hurdle you’ve jumped. While you’re there, do your best to make the most of it (even if it means changing things up).

Do you have your own tips for surviving a crowded gym? Share them with us in a comment below!

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These 5 fat loss myths will lead you in the wrong direction and could even make you gain weight. This post rounds them up and provides healthy alternatives. Click through for more information!

5 fat loss myths you should forget right now

We’ve all been there. There’s a special event coming up and you need to shed some pounds to prepare. Unfortunately though, there are a lot of fat loss myths out there that will not only lead you in the wrong direction, but might actually make your fat loss progress worse. Chances are, you’ve heard at least one of these fat loss myths before. We’re here to clear up the confusion and send you on your way.

Fat loss myth 1: Add more cardio

For many beginners who want to lose fat, adding on a ton of cardio seems to be the first step. It’s a common misconception that doing endless hours of (often boring) cardio will allow you to shed pounds in no time.

The truth is, you will see an initial drop when you hop on the scale. But the sad part is, if you’re only doing cardio, those pounds are a lot of water weight and maybe a little fat loss. *womp womp* The really crappy part of only doing cardio is that our bodies are constantly adapting to the stress that typically burns fat. So, in the beginning of your new cardio schedule you might be able to burn some fat by running two miles a day. But soon your body will adapt and it will take three or four miles to get the same results.

What’s worse? After a while if cardio is all you do, you will end up burning up all of your fat and muscle at the same time. So the pounds? Yes, they’ll drop. But you’re not really burning off the stuff you want to burn.

But trust us, cardio is NOT the enemy! Slow steady runs, bike rides or elliptical sessions once or twice a week are great! Just don’t make them your only source of exercise. Try doing a HIIT workout or some form of circuit training to keep your muscle, burn your fat and still lose some weight in the process.

Fat loss myth 2: Majorly lower your calorie intake

We live in a world where we believe if a little is good then a lot must be better. Cutting calories by too much will make you lose some serious pounds in water weight. You will also be hungry, grumpy, and tired the whole time. Eventually your body will go into survival mode and start to burn up muscle and fat at the same time.

And that’s not all. Let’s say you majorly cut your calorie count. If it’s not sustainable and you go back to your old diet, your body will hold onto every calorie it can and store it as much as possible. So as a result, you’ve now actually gained more weight than you were carrying before.

The good news with this myth is that there’s actually a right way to restrict calories. But, instead of restricting all calories, try to restrict only certain types of calories. Yes a calorie is a calorie, but we believe some are better than others.

If you were to eat 2 slices of stuffed crust pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut, that would be roughly 680 calories. That’s just two slices. I know when we go for pizza it’s not just two. Now, let’s make a 680 calorie meal that’s healthy and filling. 10oz of chicken breast 220 cal, 1 cup brown rice 216 cal, ½ and avocado 161, and 11 cups of spinach with a splash of vinegar and pepper. That’s a lot of food!

Related: Portion control in 3 easy steps

Fat loss myth 3: Stop eating carbs

This is not good for a couple reasons. First, carbs are where you get your energy for your workouts and your energy to, you know, just comfortably live throughout the day. If you cut them out, you’ll likely become tired and grumpy.

Second, let’s be honest, carbs taste really freakin’ good. And if there’s one thing we’ve all learned from Regina George is that when you try to completely knock a delicious food group out of your diet, you’ll be craving some dang cheese fries! Healthy versions of carbs like sweet potatoes and brown rice can help you form a healthy and nutritious meal. These carbs are good for your body and will give you the natural energy you need to stay on track with your diet and you workout plan.

Fat loss myth 4: Avoid fruit

There are a few people out there who believe that because fruit has sugar you should not eat it while you’re trying to lose weight. We have a similar response for this that we did for the no carbs myth, and that’s consume your fruits in moderation.

Here’s what we love about fruit though… When you’re craving sugar, it’s an extremely healthy alternative to candy. Fruit will provide you with vitamins, water and antioxidants: all at a low calorie count. Eat fruit, but focus your energy on eliminating unhealthy sugars and carbs.

Fat loss myth 5: Eat more frequently to boost your metabolism

This is a common one that trainers everywhere tell their clients. Essentially the myth is that because your body is being fed more often, your metabolism will rise to keep up. There has never been any scientific proof that this is the case.

While eating 6 small meals a day to get your calories in is not a horrible plan if it works for you, don’t get discouraged if it’s just not practical. If you eat 3 meals a day and keep them balanced, you will get the same benefits of 6 or 7 meals with the same food spread throughout the day.

Your next steps

Now that you know what not to do, where should you go next? That’s where we come in! We’ve developed an awesome challenge that will get you on the right track in just one week! Join our Back on Track Challenge by clicking the link below. The challenge will guide you in goal formation and provide you with a week’s worth of manageable daily workouts. And it’s completely FREE! We can’t wait to hear about your progress!

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The initial hurdle to getting fit is finding the workout motivation to get you to the gym. The first few visits are the absolute worst. Luckily, we have 19 hacks that will help get you to the gym and going back over and over again. Pin this and reference for tons of motivation!

Workout motivation: 19 hacks to get you back to the gym

The initial hurdle to getting fit is finding the workout motivation to get you to the gym. The first few visits are the absolute worst. Luckily, we have 19 hacks that will help get you to the gym and going back over and over again.

1. Plan shorter workouts

Just because you’re working out today doesn’t mean you have to be in the gym for an hour. Even a 10 minute workout will get your heart rate up and burn some calories. Once you finish a 10 minute workout, you might find yourself sticking around for another 10 minutes since you’re already dressed and in your workout mindset.

2. Pay if you don’t go

This is a little trick I stumbled upon a few months ago. I am not a morning workout person. Almost nothing gets me out of bed  (other than work) in the mornings. Then I discovered ClassPass and their late cancellation fee. Sounds like a pain in the butt, right? Well, it is. But there’s nothing I hate more than paying for a class and then paying to not go to a class. Don’t get me wrong. I grumbled and pouted every single morning. Until it was over. Then I was so happy to have gotten my workout out of the way for the day. That feeling of accomplishment that starts in the morning lasts with you all day.

3. Sleep in your gym clothes

Another morning workout  motivation hack is to sleep in your gym clothes. Gym clothes and pajamas aren’t all that different if you think about it. They’re stretchy and comfy and can be wrinkled without judgement. The struggle is so real in the morning, especially when it comes to physical activity before sunrise. Roll out of bed ready to go. Put your hair in a messy bun and get your booty to the gym!

4. Treat ‘yo self

What would make you sooooo happy after a workout? Is it a smoothie you usually wouldn’t spend time making? Is it a Starbuck’s latte? Or all of the above? (Try this: 1 scoop  Cookie’s ‘n Cream protein powder, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 cup cold brew coffee, 1 cup almond milk. Blend. It’s heaven!) Reward yourself with something that will get you moving and excited to finish your workout.

5. Make it a date

You might be willing to break a date with the treadmill, but you’re much less likely to break a date with a human. Especially one you don’t know very well. Schedule workout ‘dates’ with the new girl in the office. You’ll feel guilty ditching her so your fear of letting another person down will serve as great workout motivation!

6. Pre-workout motivation

I think it would be absolute torture to drink a pre-workout and then not work out. The key here is to take the pre-workout before you can talk yourself out of it. For example, for this hack to work, you’d want to make sure you make it a habit to reach for it right when you get home from work every day. Then move it! You’ll want to get changed and in the gym ASAP before the drink kicks in!

7. Multi-task with something you love

This one rarely fails me. As long as I’m binging on a great book or a TV series, I actually want to get my workout started. In order for this to work, find some sort of media (TV, a book or a podcast) with GREAT reviews from not just the internet, but a good friend. Then only allow yourself to watch/listen/read while you’re working out.

Related: Health hack: Get smarter while you workout

8. Schedule a race

This workout motivation hack will work if you’re a little afraid of failure. If the idea of not completing a race is scary enough to get you training, this hack might be for you! Schedule your race, determine what you need to do to train for it, and then stick to your schedule. The bonus will be how great you feel once you’ve reached your goal.

9. Write down your goals

It’s hard to keep yourself accountable if you haven’t officially written out any of your goals. Write down your fitness related goals and then break them down into smaller goals. Keep track of them in a journal on a regular basis. The act of writing down what you’re trying to accomplish will keep your objectives at the top of your mind.

Related: 3 guidelines for sticky goals

10. Get really organized

Buy a notebook, use your Google Calendar, open up a Word Doc. Whatever your process… get yourself organized. It’s so easy to ditch your plan if you don’t have one. Pick a planning day (Sundays are mine!) and write down every single workout you’ll do for the week. Don’t stop there. Predict the challenges you’ll have and plan a reward for completing all of your workouts.

Related: How to make your Google calendar the ultimate fitness tracker

11. Find virtual workout motivation

You may or may not be a lover of all things Facebook. But one thing I’ve learned recently is that there is a Facebook Group for almost everything. If you’re looking for a community of like-minded people trying to reach similar fitness goals, there is a motivational group waiting for you.

12. Make it a competition

On the other hand, a little friendly competition might give you some workout motivation as well. Challenge your girls to a workout challenge. Set individual goals, track your progress in a Google Doc and get competitive!

13. Try something new

Always wanted to try ballet? Try it out. Never tried Pilates? What are you waiting for? Working out does not have to be a chore. In fact, it shouldn’t be. You will be much more successful if you find something you love and stick to it. Some people need to switch things up on a regular basis (that’s me!) If you find yourself wanting to try all sorts of workouts, I recommend signing up for ClassPass, which will allow you to pay one monthly fee and attend a wide variety of classes.

14. Plan ahead

Pack your gym clothes, plan your healthy snacks and get ready to be successful before your workout even begins. The more you plan, the harder it will bee to skip a workout. If everything you need is in its place and ready to go, your excuses will become limited and all you’ll have left to do is go to the gym.

15. Set (very) small goals

Like, I’m talking tiny. Commit to working out for 1 minute or doing 1 push up each day. The idea for this hack is that once you finish a one minute workout, you’ll do more… and more… Read more about that here: Mini habits will help you start working out

16. Combine cardio and strength

Why spend twice as much time working out? Workouts that combine strength and cardio can cut your workout time in half and allow you to continue burning calories throughout your day (after your workout is over!). This is the ultimate workout hack! Try some of our favorite short workouts that combine strength and cardio.

17. Buy some workout clothes you love

It might hurt your bank account a little, but in the long run, it could be an investment that’s great for your health! Similar to hack number two, if you spend money on workout clothes, you’ll be motivated to use them. Also, I don’t know about you, but I always feel wayyy more athletic in new gym clothes.

18. Find a fitness app you love

My Runkeeper app and my Fitbit app not only make working out fun, but their push notifications remind me when I’m slacking. These smartphone apps were designed to keep the fun in working out. As a technology lover, I find myself very motivated by fitness tech.

19. Find a plan and don’t quit it!

Pick out a plan and stick to it for a few days. I know… it sucks when you start, but you’ll find that you begin feeling more and more motivated as you begin seeing results. The real trick? Don’t stop. Keep doing something and you begin to form a habit that doesn’t go away. Then, you’ll become your own workout motivation.

Note: If you click through one of our links and then make a purchase, we will receive a small commission. Yay! Please note that this commission does not affect your purchase price. Also note that we think you’re really cool for clicking on our links.

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In this article you'll learn how to make your Google calendar your favorite fitness tracker and workout planner in 5 easy steps. Click to see how or save this pin for later!

How to make your Google calendar the ultimate fitness tracker

Oh technology. We love you and we hate you. To be honest, I’m a pen and notebook kinda girl. But, I’m also the kinda girl who refuses to cart around a pen and notebook when there’s a technologically more efficient way. That’s why I’ve set out to make my Google calendar an efficient and reliable fitness tracker.

why you need this

Are you wondering why you need a fitness tracker? Think about it this way… Your workouts are appointments with yourself. If you don’t schedule an appointment it’s SO MUCH EASIER to tell yourself you’ll do it another day. On Mondays, for example, why work out? You have 4 week days left to get to the gym. On Tuesday you decide to go to happy hour with some co-workers (because you had nothing else planned!) and so on…

Does putting a workout on the calendar prevent you from missing the workout? No. But it does allow you to visualize your healthy week early on. A fitness tracker allows you to motivate yourself, to think through your goals and to remind yourself of why you’re doing all of this. When it’s Wednesday and we haven’t been to the gym yet, our brains are already exhausted from making excuses. Don’t make it easy for yourself to just start over next week.

Here’s what I needed

Yes, there are a ton of fancy apps out there that can be used for fitness tracking. But I found all of the bells and whistles to be more than I was looking for. First and foremost, I wanted the following:

  1. An online solution that would keep me on track with my workouts
  2. A tool that could be accessed across all of my devices
  3. A tool that could track all of my workouts (classes, workout pins, my own developed workouts)
  4. A tool that would allow me to enter all of my workouts for the week (or month) quickly

the ten minute rule

The tedious typing. Most of the apps I’ve used required you to individually manage your workouts by entering each one into your calendar. Boo! Even when I took the time to think through my workouts AND type them into an app, I had a hard time motivating myself to do it every week. Ten minutes or less seemed to be the magic number. Anything more, and I ran the risk of not planning ahead and ultimately skipping workouts throughout the week.

Related: 10 little habits for a healthy week

sometimes the answer is right in front of you

I use my Google calendar and Gmail for organizing my life. But, I always struggled with adding every single workout in my calendar as its own event. That’s when I realized that of course there’s an easier way. And it’s powered by one of my very favorite things: a spreadsheet. Follow this step by step guide to learn how to schedule your workouts and keep a fitness tracker in less than 10 minutes each week!

What you’ll need

  1. A Google account
  2. Three or four workouts you’re excited to do this week
  3. The .csv template that I’ve created for you

step 1:

Open up your Google calendar by going to this link: https://calendar.google.com. Then, on the left sidebar, click the little down arrow and select Create new calendar.

Google calendar fitness tracker. Select create new calendar.

step 2:

Name your calendar and add a little description and the location (if you want!) Otherwise, a name only will work just fine.

Google fitness tracker. Name your calendar.

When you click back to calendar, you should see your new calendar in the left sidebar!

step 4

step 3:

Open up your .csv template and add as many workouts as you want. I’ve only added 4 in this example, but it’s so easy to add a month’s worth of workouts if you’re doing a 4 week plan. Or if you want to plan week by week, just add your weekly workouts to your fitness tracker.

Fitness tracker. Add your workouts to the template

Here’s a breakdown column by column:

Column A: This will be what shows up on your calendar as the name of your event

Column B: This is the start date. Just put the date of your workout here. It’s important that you don’t change the date format in this file. The import tool is very picky when it comes to formatting!

Column C: Start time. You’ll notice the template uses a 24-hour clock. When you enter your time, you can use the time you would use for a 12-hour clock (with AM and PM). Just make sure you add a space between the time and the am/pm. For example, use ‘6 pm’ instead of ‘6pm’. You’ll notice that when you move out of the cell, the time will convert to the 24 hour clock time.

Column D: End date. Obviously, your workout will not last more than 24 hours. Just use the same date you used for Column B

Column E: End time. Same story as Column C with the 24-hour clock!

Column F: You’re not working out all day long, so just keep the word FALSE (in all caps) in this column for each event

Column G: This is where you can add a link to your workout, your entire workout, or general notes about your workout

Column H: Add your location. This can be an address or a general location.

Column I: Unless you would like your calendar to be accessible by search for other people, just keep the word TRUE (in all caps) in this column for each event

step 4:

Save your file in a .csv format.

FItness tracker. Save file in .csv format.

step 5: Upload your calendar

Go back to your Google calendar. Click the little gear icon and access your settings.

Fitness tracker. Select settings.

When you click the calendars tab, you should see an import calendar option in the middle of the page. Click it!

FItness tracker. Import calendar

Then click browse and find the .csv file you saved. Make sure your calendar name is your ‘workouts’ calendar. Then click Import.

Fitness tracker. Browse and upload

Now, when you go back to your calendar you should be able to see all of the workouts you added.

Fitness tracker. check your new calendar

Now make it fun

I like to color code my workouts so that they stand out against all the other things I have going on in my week. You should be able to toggle between all of your calendars (including your new workouts calendar). The first few times you do this, it might take a few extra minutes. But, once you’ve mastered the process, you’ll be able to easily manage all of your workouts just like any other fitness tracker. Don’t forget to grab your template for easy tracking!

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Workout burnout? Tabata training can help!

Ever wanted to get a whole workout done in just minutes? Well there’s a realistic and effective way to do just that! Tabata training involves short bursts of 100% work followed by very short periods of rest. The rest periods are just long enough to allow you to recover so that you can go back to using 100% of your energy.

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Why we’re in love with kettlebell weights

So you’ve been to the weight area of the gym one or two times and you might still be feeling a bit out of place. Ready to take your workout to the next level so that you can feel like total badass at the gym? Enter: kettlebell weights. AKA, your new best friend.

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HIIT can be mastered at almost any level of fitness if you choose the right workout. As a beginner, HIIT will allow you to keep your workouts short and efficient so that you can get in and out of the gym and move on with your day. Get the download on HIIT and checkout the included workout, or save this pin for later!

HIIT for Beginners: Burn calories quickly!

Why HIIT for beginners?

If you’re like us, you’ve noticed that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts have been creating quite a buzz lately. We think it’s for a good reason.

The name may sound advanced, but HIIT can be mastered at almost any level of fitness if you choose the right workout. As a beginner, HIIT will allow you to keep your workouts short and efficient so that you can get in and out of the gym and move on with your day.

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What is a rep? Read on for your list of top gym vocabulary or save this pin for later!

What is a rep? (and other gym lingo)

Hey there, Mathlete! One of the most annoying parts of being a fitness beginner is trying to sift through the terms that appear in your workouts, workout plans and exercise descriptions. If searches similar to ‘What is a rep?’ are constantly in your Google history, they don’t have to be!

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6 common workout beginner mistakes

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Getting started is almost always daunting. If you’re a workout beginner, you’re probably focused on reaching your goals as quickly as possible.

With thousands of blogs, articles and videos giving you advice, it’s difficult to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Sometimes it’s best to dive right in. But, before you get too far into your plan, review these 6 workout beginner mistakes and do your best to avoid them while you kick butt at the gym.

6 common workout beginner mistakes to avoid

1. Doing too much too soon:

A go-get-em attitude is probably what got you off the couch in the first place. That’s why this workout beginner mistake tends to be common. Even though you might be experiencing a sort of high from all of the extra endorphins from your workout, it’s important to take the time to allow your body to recover. Stick to three tough workouts a week as you start out. If you feel like you want to do more on a recovery day, take a long walk. In addition, be sure to get enough sleep each night and add protein to your diet, which will help your muscles recover faster.

2. Only doing cardio:

According to the CDC, only 50% of adults ages 18 and over are getting the recommended amount of aerobic exercise. What’s worse? Only 20% are getting the recommended amount of muscle strengthening exercise. It’s a common misconception that the best way to burn calories is to focus solely on cardio. The truth is, a balanced plan that mixes both cardio and strength training will help you attain your goals and make you your healthiest self.

Only 20% of adults are getting the recommended amount of muscle strengthening exercise

3. Believing every workout should be long and exhausting:

Not only is this false, but it’s recipe for disaster. Hitting the gym hard every time you workout will likely burn you out and take you right back to where you started. While long endurance days aren’t all wrong, your workout will be more effective and more efficient if you incorporate intervals to your routine. Mixing high intensity intervals with rest periods, called high intensity interval training (HIIT), will allow you to burn calories during your workout and then continue to burn them throughout the day. Here are a few of our favorite HIIT workouts:

http://www.pancakewarriors.com/hiit-for-beginners/

http://thebluedressgirl.com/monday-workout-hiit/

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/10-Minute-HIIT-Workout-32491435

4. Ignoring the details:

Skipping warm-ups and cool-downs are a good way to injure yourself right from the get-go. Just 5 minutes of brisk walking or jogging will prepare your body for a difficult workout and lower your risk of injury.

Speaking of injury… more risky workout behavior is ignoring proper form during each exercise. Heavier, faster and harder are only better if you’re focusing on the basics of each exercise and ensuring proper technique as you build up your strength and endurance.

5. Not setting specific goals:

Saying ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to build strength’ are great starting points, but they’re hardly goals. Workout beginner goals should be both specific and attainable to ensure that you stick to them for the long haul.

Beginner workout goals should be both specific and attainable.

6. Switching the plan too often:

Workout beginners, especially, should try to avoid changing directions too early. It’s tempting to kick a new workout to the curb after a couple of weeks if you’re not seeing results yet. But in order to allow your body to truly gain the benefits of a workout plan, stick to it for at least 4 weeks. If it still isn’t working, then switch to the next thing.

No matter what your new routine looks like, if you’re a workout beginner, you’re probably not even thinking about some of these common mistakes. Avoid this list of workout mistakes that beginners make and approach every new workout like a pro, whether it’s your first or 100th.

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