So you’re ready and raring to get back into a fitness routine? Good for you! A few simple workout tips will help you keep up your excitement.
A fresh start can feel great—but beware of pushing too hard too soon. When you’re coming back from a break from regular workouts, it’s common to start strong but burn out before you start seeing the benefits. Follow these workout tips to stay motivated, prevent injury, see results, and most importantly—enjoy yourself!
1. Throttle your intensity.
The number-one mistake people make when starting a new exercise plan is going too hard too soon. The fallout is strong carbohydrate cravings, lackluster results (if any results at all), quick burnout, and a drastically increased risk to injury.
Instead, keep your effort level at “challenging, but not grueling” for the first month about a six or seven on a scale from one to 10. “You’ll actually see bigger, better, faster results if you start more conservatively.”
2. Work out every other day.
It can be tempting to want to exercise every day to try to form a habit, but an every-other-day routine will actually boost your results. After a workout, your body needs time to repair your muscles and re-up the stored energy (known as glycogen) in your cells.
Exercise no more than three or four times a week for the first two weeks. If you’re feeling good—that is, your energy levels are high and your muscles aren’t sore after workouts—it’s OK to add another day. But even once you’re in a regular workout schedule, it’s a good idea to alternate hard days and easy days to ensure proper recovery.
3. Warm up the right way.
A good warmup is essential to preventing injury during a workout. However, a five-minute walk on the treadmill isn’t going to cut it. Light cardio does have some benefits, like increasing blood flow to your muscles, but it falls short of preparing your body for a workout.
To prime your body for exercise, a warm-up should include big movements like Downward Dogs, body-weight squats, and glute bridges. These exercises activate large muscle groups like your core and glutes (butt muscles), increase your core temperature, and take your joints through a full range of motion.
This type of exercise prep, known as a dynamic warm-up, is widely accepted as the gold standard for athletes and casual fitness enthusiasts alike.