A gym membership is a smart investment in your health and wellness. While you can perform some basic exercise at home, gyms have a plethora of high-end equipment and machines to better help you achieve your fitness goals. This article explores five simple tips to improve your gym workout.
Studies show that roughly 57 million Americans have a gym membership. Whether you’re trying to shed some unwanted pounds, build muscle mass, improve your health, or a combination thereof, visiting the gym can help you achieve your fitness goals. You can enhance your gym workout, however, by following the five simple tips listed below.
1) Eat Complex Carbs Before Working Out
Contrary to what some people believe, not all carbohydrates are bad. There are both good and bad carbs. Simple carbs, for instance, consist of sugars and starches that digest quickly. In comparison, complex carbs include whole grains that absorb more slowly. As a result, they provide sustainable, long-lasting energy to fuel your gym workouts.
Furthermore, carbs allow your body to use protein for muscle synthesis. Without carbs in your diet, your body will struggle to repair and rebuild muscle. So, consume a high-carb snack before working out to promote more significant gains.
2) Isolate Your Muscles
When lifting weights, try to get into the habit of isolating a specific muscle or group of muscles. If you’re performing bicep curls, for instance, you should isolate your biceps, so they are doing all the work. That means limiting movement in your core and wrists, thereby forcing your biceps to lift the dumbbells.
Lifting weights is usually easier when you engage peripheral muscles. However, this takes some of the stress off the primary muscle, resulting in lackluster gains. Focus on a single muscle or muscle group when working out at the gym.
3) Add More Protein to Your Diet
Carbs are an excellent source of energy, but protein is perhaps even more important in building muscle. Without protein, your body won’t have the nutrients it needs to repair damaged muscle tissue and make new muscle tissue. Protein, often dubbed the “building block of muscle,” is a critical nutrient for all bodybuilders and athletes.
You can increase your protein intake by eating more lean meats, such as chicken and fish, as well as drinking protein shakes. Just a single scoop of whey protein can pack up to 40 grams of protein. Therefore, drinking a few protein shakes per day can help your body meet its dietary needs.
4) Don’t Wait for Machines or Equipment
Assuming your gym is busy, you may discover other members using your preferred machine or equipment. Rather than waiting for it to become available, however, you should use something else. Those 10 minutes spent waiting could be used running on the treadmill or using the elliptical.
Of course, you can also plan your gym workouts on days with low traffic. Studies show that the busiest times for gyms is early morning (around 7 to 11 a.m.) and the evenings (4 to 7 p.m.). By planning your visits around these times, you’ll have a more extensive selection of machines and equipment from which to choose.
5) Increase Your Weights
The golden rule of lifting weights is to increase the amount of weight you lift gradually. Whether you are performing bicep dumbbell curls, barbell chest presses, barbell squats, or even kettlebell swings, you need to lift heavier weights; otherwise, you won’t experience any noticeable gains.
It’s not a bad idea to keep a journal of how much weight you lift, as this allows you to track your progress over time. You don’t have to add 10 pounds to your lift every week. Instead, try adding just 1 or 2 pounds. Forcing your muscles to lift heavy weights naturally yields more significant gains—and that’s the purpose of your gym workouts.
These are just a few ways of improving your workouts. Most importantly though, keep visiting the gym. Statistics show that roughly 80 percent of Americans with a gym membership don’t use it. If you don’t the visit the gym, you won’t achieve your fitness goals.