Men often judge physical fitness by the size of their muscles. They tend to skimp on cardio exercise and flexibility, spending a majority of their workout pumping iron. While weight training is an integral part of a successful workout regimen, it’s important to keep your workout balanced with equal time spent flexing, heart conditioning and stretching. Below are tips to do just that!
Men’s Must-Follow Beginners’ Guide to Fitness
1. Don’t start off as a workout-aholic. Many gym beginners train feverishly at first only to find that they can barely move the next day. Overly sore muscles will keep you away from the gym, ending your fitness program before it even started.
2. Always warm up before strength training and cool down after. Increasing your body temperature by riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill for 10 minutes will decrease your chance of injury. Also, flexibility is important for whole-body fitness, so follow every workout with a 5- to 10-minute stretch.
3. Do fat-burning cardio workouts. Interval training for at least 20 minutes can really get the heart pumping, whether it’s running or walking uphill on the treadmill, hopping on the elliptical cross-trainer or swimming laps. Cardio also helps boost your mood, de-stress, improve your metabolism, promote better sleep, and exercise reduces the risk of various health issues such as diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, fatigue and high cholesterol.
4. Weight train three days a week. Rest a day in between each weight-lifting session to give your body recovery time, and never train muscles that are still sore. Start by using muscle-building resistance equipment that gives you instruction on form, which is important to follow. Some basic weight-training exercises include front squats, seated rows, lat pull-downs, bicep curls, leg presses, hamstring curls and the chest press.
5. Eat protein after strength workouts. Without proper nutrition, you won’t increase muscle mass, regardless of how much you lift. Protein helps in repairing and rebuilding your muscles, so incorporate foods that are high in protein but low in fat, like lean meats or cottage cheese, into your weekly diet.
6. Switch up your workout. Your body easily adapts to routine. If you feel like your body has reached a plateau, change your routine to continue gaining strength, muscle growth and definition.
Set goals, educate yourself and listen to your body. Change can be subtle, but if you stick to an effective workout program, results will happen! —Life Fitness