Going to gym is a complicated pastime, the internet has meant that within a few seconds thousands of articles can appear that each tell you different things about how to get fit, build muscle or lose weight (sometimes altogether). Fortunately, I’ve been going to the gym or doing some form of regular exercise for most of my adult life so I’ve made the mistakes for you. In this article I’ll run through some of the common myths and downright lies that are often believed by beginners.
Supplements Are the Be All and End All
One of the first things people who are starting out a new exercise regime do is go and buy all manner of supplements. From creatine to glucose mono-hydrate the options are endless and all claim to be essential to getting ‘cut’ or ‘ripped’ etc. In fairness a lot of supplements do work especially creatine and whey protein (although I’m iffy whether I’d even count that as a supplement) but many are expensive luxuries you don’t need.
Think of it like this, those statues you see from Ancient Greece and Rome those men have big biceps, defined abs and chiselled chests but they never ate any supplements did they (those statues would have been based on something – clearly some people in that period looked like that)? So in short supplements should be used to supplement only; they should not form the basis of your diet.
Going to the Gym Every Day is Healthy
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people new to the gym boast that they went five times last week for a couple of hours at a time. Doing an exercise regime like this is really not very good for your body, why? Well your body needs to rest and recover after exercise – especially an intense weight session – because the muscle fibres will have torn slightly. It is these fibres that, once they’ve repaired themselves, come back bigger and stronger increasing muscle size and strength. If you don’t give them time to repair then you aren’t likely to see as many gains.
I’m Going to the Gym Later so I Can Eat What I Want Now
This is an easy one for people to slip up on if they’re not careful. Just because you’re now going to the gym three times a week that doesn’t mean you can gorge on unhealthy food (well if you’re serious it does).
I read somewhere once that getting fit is around 80% diet and 20% exercise although I’m not sure it’s that heavily weighted you get the idea. If you’re serious about getting into shape then you have to combine your efforts in the gym with what you’re eating out of it.
If I Don’t Feel it the Next Day I Didn’t Try Hard Enough
It isn’t uncommon to find slogans like “Push until it hurts” and such posted on gym walls up and down the country. As ‘inspiring’ as these are they are actually unhelpful and put the false notion that if we don’t hurt we haven’t worked hard enough.
I’ll start by saying that in a few cases you will probably hurt the next day; if you’re a beginner, if you’ve started a more intense regime or a new activity then a bit of muscular pain should be expected. If you’re sore after every gym session then you should look into lessening the intensity or frequency of them.
Women are often very reluctant to do anything in the gym other than the treadmill, cross trainer or crunches – despite the benefits of strength training including weight loss and body tone. For many the reason is simply that they don’t want to use any weights or other forms of strength training because they’re scared that they will develop a prominent muscular frame. However, this is a myth; generally speaking women find it hard to build muscle naturally because they have very low levels of testosterone. Testosterone is important in the muscle growth process and so women should not be scared of developing massive biceps.
With an increasing number of apps at our disposal to help guide us, manage or monitor many aspects of our lives, anyone interested in getting fit has little excuse not to get themselves motivated and moving. For beginners to running and die-hard enthusiasts, here are five of the best running apps to get your mitts on.
This free app is great for beginner runners. It is based on giving you a nine-week workout to help you slowly work your way to doing a 5k run. It provides timed workouts and audiovisual coaching tips to get you on the road, as well as interesting training tools and a virtual dog to act as your companion during running workouts.
You can choose your own coach who will create a program to help you meet your targets in a safe way. Even better, when you’re finally up to doing a 5k run, you can use the app to get discounts off entry fees for certain running events in your area.
This all-in-one app is great for those who want to share their running progress with friends and family via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. If you’re training for charity runs or a fun run, for example, then MapMyRun will allow you to share how you’re getting on with others who may also be part of your running regime.
This app also lets you keep an eye on your calorie intake by tracking the food that you eat – great if you’re trying to stay in shape for your forthcoming running event.
You can also view your route workout information, track your fitness activities, record your workout details including route travelled, speed, duration and distance.
Suitable for Android and iOS, this free app from Nike enables you to get time, distance and pace readouts during running sessions. You can also set yourself running goals, track your progress and help stretch your goals that bit further.
This user-friendly app also has a wide range of social data-sharing features, where you can let others know how your running is going as well as track how your other running buddies are getting along. When a friend clicks ‘like’ on Facebook, the app will post you a motivational ‘cheers’.
You can also choose a ‘powersong’ which will help keep your spirits up during hard workouts.
Whether you’re training for a fun run, 5k run or a marathon, this app offers everything to suit your needs.
This free app has the advantage that it can be used with GPS watches, mobile devices or on the Strava website. As well as being suitable for Android and iOS, it is compatible with the Garmin Forerunner and Garmin Edge devices, which are one of the few app ecospheres beyond the mobile phone market.
Easy to use and with a sleek, minimalist design, Strava offers a wide range of features for the amateur and seasoned runner or cyclist. As well as being able to track routes, and get pace readouts, you can also compare reports of previous running activities undertaken. You also have the option of adding further features to the Strava running portfolio by purchasing Strava Premium.
This feature-rich app uses GPS to enable you to keep track of all of the running routes you take. It is also adaptable for use on a treadmill. Aside from allowing you to post your running activities, you can track them, monitor your footfall patterns and schedule workouts.
I’m not someone who can claim to have super washboard abs or a slim and slender figure, but I can happily say that I have come a long way since the time that I was too large to see my toes on the weighing scale! In fact just following a few small steps to a smaller clothing size got me so far that in the last year I was able to participate in stage plays as the leading female actress, model for a diamond jewelry brand, and even get that close to a calendar shoot—all without trying to be “noticed” at all! When you take proper care of your body it usually will do the talking for you. So, with this article I’m going to teach you how to lose weight three times faster than most the things that you’ve already tried.
1) Eat 6 small meals a day. I don’t know how some of my friends do it, but I’m never able to pass up good food. As a teen, my girlfriends and I would go to town for parties and while they were like “Oh, I feel like such a pig for eating potato chips”, I was like “Bring it on!” Of course, this usually left me feeling a little more than glutinous and guilty afterwards. I’ve tried for years to shed pounds by not eating, but even when I didn’t eat for days it didn’t work. However, as soon as I started eating 6 smaller meals, I started to see marked improvement.
2) Do something energizing that you love. This next step I forced myself to discover, shortly after I started to see success with step number 1. For years I’ve tried and failed with just about every workout video or exercise gym routine that I put my time to. I’m a person with a short attention span and even shorter available free-time frame, so for me grueling workouts that consisted of rep after rep, three types of crunches in sets of eight, and push-up variations that lasted 20 minutes of precious time were not what kept me coming back for more.
At the age of 19 I finally discovered the physical exercise activity that I secretly thought I was too big for—dancing. Hip-hop leads to jazz, jazz leads to contemporary and contemporary leads to belly dance, which is where I still am at today. After I started dancing I literally shed pounds with sweat. It was awesome! So, probably my biggest advice to you as far as work-out is to find something that you love doing and let that work for you. Not everyone is cut out for the dull halls of a gym and the droning of an instructor. Of course, after you find what you love doing as far as exercise, make time for it every day. Learn to grow with it and make it a passion, something that you love to do, not that you have to force yourself to do just to lose weight.
3) Balance food patterns. It’s commonplace in most family homes to have the small meal as a light luncheon when dad is busy at work, mom needs time to fix the home, and the kids are out to school, while saving the bigger meal for when the family can dine together. While this does produce its fair share of happy moments and a longer bonding time, it’s kind of not so good for your metabolism to go to bed with a big chunk of steak and a dollop of mashed potatoes in your stomach that still need digesting. Some years back, as a family, we decided to have the bigger meal of meat and heavy starches for lunch (even if it meant packing it) and the lighter meal for dinner. Things like stake were saved for lunch only while soup and bread, stir fried veggies and omelets, or cheese and salad were for dinner. This did wonders for my weight loss as well. Of course, if you are in a fully-fledged family household (dad, mom, and kids) then this may be hard to incorporate keeping everybody’s comfort in the equation. It did take some time for us to get used to too, but having snack in between meals helped to balance things out and adjust eating patterns a bit better.
So that’s that. Those are the few simple steps that got me so far, from 69 kilos to 54! The final cherry on the cake, of course, is consistency. I hope that helps! Some women I know have had equal success using weight loss pills like the XLS Medical, but for me, I usually prefer to go the natural route. True, it does take a bit longer, but the results usually last for longer as well. Feel free to share your own ideas and success stories. We’d love to learn from you too!
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