Beginning a fitness routine sounds simple. However, if you are not equipped with the proper techniques to get the cals burning, the process of shedding weight can be quite overwhelming. There are several things you can do to ensure that you will exceed your short and long term fitness goals, but there are also some practices you should avoid (at all costs) to stay on a successful path towards fitness and wellness. Here's a list of fitness do's and don'ts to follow this school year.
DON’T immediately begin a high impact workout without warming up first. Your muscles will snap much easier if they are tight. DO warm up with low impact activity such as walking, lunges, or arm circles.
DON’T immediately stop all activity after a vigorous workout. DO be sure to cool down to aid in the recovery process. Cooling down allows your heart rate to lower along with the relaxation of your tired muscles.
DO remember to stretch your muscles before working out and after, especially, since your muscles are still warm.
DON’T stretch prior to warming up because your muscles need proper loosening to prevent accidental strain and pulling.
DON’T push an injury. This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people simply ignore pain and continue working out (like myself). What may seem okay at the time can become an even bigger problem if not properly attended to, believe me. DO listen to your body. If a pain is persistent, DO consult a doctor as soon as possible.
DON’T lift too much or make sudden jerky body movements. DO be sure to increase weights gradually to prevent injury and quick muscle burnout.
DON’T stick with the belief that you can eat whatever you want because you worked out. Abs are also made in the kitchen, so choose your foods wisely. DO check food labels for nutritional content. DO choose foods that are filling to lessen the chance of binging later due to sudden hunger.
DON’T load up on sports drinks for short workouts. You’ll be tacking on a lot of unnecessary calories (this also includes energy bars). DO keep a bottle of water handy at all times to remain properly hydrated. DO drink before you’re thirsty. If your body is begging for water, you’re heading towards dehydration. DO consider sports drinks when you plan on working out for more than 1 hour.
DON’T get bored with your exercise program because it will be hard to stick with. Exercise can become very monotonous if you continue to do the same thing day after day. DO incorporate new exercises during the week to break up your usual routine.
DON’T wear clothing made with fabrics (ex. cotton) that are not breathable and can become saturated resulting in heaviness. You want to remain comfortable during a workout. DO wear clothing that wicks moisture away from the body (my personal favorite, dri-fit).
DON’T over exercise. DO take, at least one day of complete rest in order for your body to recover. This is especially important the day after vigorous activity has taken place. DO stagger your weekly workouts between easy, mild, and tough to create balance.
DON’T pretend that you know everything. DO consult a personal trainer for advice, tips, and examples of exercise moves to work a certain part of your body.