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10 Tips for Better Workouts

Are you ready to start?
Are you ready to start?

The new year always brings a flood of people who want to exercise. I love the enthusiasm. But before you begin, take a few minutes and put together a plan. Here are the basics to help you get started.

Choose appropriate clothing. That doesn't mean you need an $800 designer outfit. Start with a pair of comfortable shoes. Pick clothing that allows you to move freely. Don't wear a lot of jewelry that can get snagged while you're moving. Make sure everything you're wearing is clean before your workout. Simpler is usually better.

Decide what type of resistance workout you'll be able to stay with. You can build muscle with free weights, machines, bands, bodyweight exercises or any combination of those options. Figure out what you have access to and, more importantly, what you'll keep doing.

Have a program in hand before you start working out. There are several free apps for smartphones that build workouts. You can also use a personal trainer to design something specific to your goals and abilities. Many trainers will create a program you can do on your own and even teach you proper form. When you need a change every couple of months, you can use them to update your next phase.

Online Workout Program Generators

Fitness Programmer - https://fitnessprogramer.com/
Muscle Building Workouts - https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/muscle-building
Random Exercise Generator - https://www.generatorslist.com/random/sports/random-exercise
Workout of the Day Generator - https://www.thewodgenerator.com/

Online Workouts

APP Workout Program Generators

8Fit - https://8fit.com/
Fitness Blender - https://www.fitnessblender.com/
Fiton - http://fitonapp.com/
FreeLetics - https://www.freeletics.com/
Keelo - https://www.keelo.com/
Map My Fitness - https://www.mapmyfitness.com/
Nike Training Club - https://www.nike.com/ntc-app
Sworkit - https://sworkit.com/

Document what you do. Keep a log of your exercises, how much weight you used, how many reps you did, and any issues. Over time it'll show you areas where you're improving, what still needs work and alerts you to possible problems.

Get the blood flowing to your muscles with a proper warmup. Things like foam rolling or light cardio are both excellent options. Don't waste your time stretching before you workout. It doesn't reduce injuries, and it can make your workouts less effective. If you want to be more limber or if you have tight muscles, stretch after you finish exercising.

Anytime you do a new exercise, don't do more than your body weight until you've got the form down. So many accidents happen when bad form and weights meet. You're not going to get stronger if you're out for a couple of weeks recovering from an injury.

Once you've got the form down, keep your body challenged by slowly increasing weights, reps and sets. As you add more, keep a close watch on your form. If you're struggling and resort to cheating, you're strengthening that weakness. Cheating helps you lock in muscular imbalances. Don't do an exercise if you can't do it properly.

Give the muscles you worked out a 24-hour rest. If you work the front of your body one day, work the back of your body the next. Upper body one day, lower body the next. Remember to give the muscles you can't see just as much attention as the ones you can.

Follow a realistic schedule. When you're excited, working out every day seems like it would be easy. My recommendation is to start small. Choose two or three days a week that you're going to do at least 30 minutes of exercise.

Try scheduling Tuesdays and Thursdays to give you something to look forward to during the workweek. Those also tend to be a little slower times in a gym, so you'll spend less time waiting for equipment. If you're feeling especially ambitious, add a third workout sometime over the weekend. After you've gotten into the habit of regular exercise, then you can think about doing more.

Give whatever program you decide to try four weeks before passing judgment. If it's not working for you, try something else. Some people prefer working out in classes or with groups. Others like things more solitary. Look for options that make you feel comfortable.

There are so many ways to exercise, don't agonize about picking the perfect one. Try what looks interesting. If it doesn't work out, move on until you find something that does.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.