From one beginner to another…
1. Buy a little notebook – I was late to the game in this and I wish I started tracking it from the beginning, but if you want to see improvements and cut out on the “what did I do last time?” problem, then purchasing a mini-notebook can help you record what you are doing.
2. Plan it out in your mind ahead of time – I can look back and see what I did, then edit or add to it for the next time. I am getting to the point where I can start separating upper body into different muscle groups because I’m acquiring different moves for each muscle, but don’t want to be there for 2 hours.
3. Anatomy lesson – The employees at the gym are a good resource, along with checking out online. I got an iPhone application to search out different exercises for each muscle group. If you feel really ambitious, open a book at Barnes and Noble to learn some basic anatomy so you can see all the different muscle groups. When you learn the muscle groups, it is easier to remember some of the exercises and what you do (i.e. Lat row).
4. Lose the pride – It is okay if you overshoot your weights, realize you were doing an exercise with the wrong form, or need to take a break. I had to check my pride at the door when I realized I did not know much about weights. If I catch myself not knowing what I want to do next, I use these as buying time while I think.
- Squats or lunges – I need to give my upper body a break, so next to my bench I will do these to either think of what I am doing next or to be more efficient
- Get a drink of water – You just lifted. Get a drink.
- Zone out – I sometimes just sit at the bench and zone out while in between sets. Who cares if I’m taking a break!
5. Bring a stop watch – This is more for my core workout where I time the intervals, but having a watch with a timer keeps me accountable for making the most of the hour or so that I give myself. It also cuts out on looking at the clock. Mine was $10 at target.
6. Start slow – Unless you are training for weight training’s sake, many runners want to weight train for injury prevention (as was my case). The most frustrating thing is when you injure yourself while trying to prevent injury. Take it slow. You do not want to completely defeat yourself and keep you out of commission for a few days. You want to go back and continue.
7. Protein – Whether I am incredibly sore or just slightly sore is related to if I decide to properly refuel or not. Tearing millions of muscle fibers and not giving them the resources to repair is what leads to the really bad achy feeling you get the next day.