I know a lot of guys wanna improve their strength, and summer is definitely a good time for that. Many of us have more free time now that it’s summer. Perfect time to try out the gym. If you’re thinking of working on getting go the gym more this summer, I have a few tips that could really help:
Starting off is tough. Get through 2 weeks, though, and you’ll probably be able to make going to the gym a consistent habit! The first week is definitely the hardest. If you can, find a friend to work out with. Put the offer out there, and you’d be surprised who might say yes. It’s definitely more motivating to go when you have a friend going with you. It’ll keep you both accountable, on track, and motivated. Trust me, it worked for me back when I first decided to get serious about exercising.
Start taking a multi-vitamin. Sure, you should be able to get enough nutrition from food alone, but some diets have holes in them and multi-vitamins can fill those in. If you don’t have proper nutrition, you won’t see results, and you might actually strain your body. I know not all of us make the best food decisions every day. This will help your body stay on track.
Increase your protein intake on days you work out. When you lift weights, this is especially important. Meats are all high in protein. Try and make choices that tend to be lower in fats. Eggs are your best friends! Fish is great, and omega oils are Good for you, yo. Beans, peanut butter, nuts, milk, and yogurt all have protein, too (and the dairy items have calcium! an extra plus!), so don’t stress if you can’t have meat! And while we’re on the subject of protein, this is extremely important to point out: Protein shakes are NEVER a meal-replacement. Skipping meals or eating less than 2000 calories (if you’re counting) will hurt you. Seriously. Don’t do that. Protein shakes are meant to be consumed after workouts, unless they are specifically pre-workout shakes. Whey protein will be tough on those of you who are lactose-intolerant, because it’s made from milk, so even though it’s typically cheaper than other plant-based protein powders, the extra money will help you not feel terrible. The easiest on the stomach, I have found, are rice-based protein powders. If the store has little individual packets, buy different flavors and different ones to see which one(s) you like best. I personally am partial to the generic CVS chocolate flavored whey powder.
If you are just starting out on lifting, do NOT go heavy. Your muscles will build p strength faster than your tendons, so you could hurt yourself if you try to go too heavy too fast. If something hurts, do NOT do the exercise. Know your limits, and never push yourself to a crazy degree. I know you wanna impress your friends you’re at the gym with, or even the cute person you’ve been eyeing across the gym, but if you hurt yourself, you will look like a huge fool. It will ruin you. Don’t. Instead, do lighter weights with higher reps. I usually go for 3 sets of 10 reps, but you can go for anywhere from 8-12 reps. Only after you have built up a certain degree of strength would I even attempt to go heavier and even target certain body parts and muscle groups more intensely than others.
Have at least 2 rest days! Rest days are important. Your body needs to recover, or else it will never grow. You’ll also just exhaust yourself, and that’s not good. Use your rest days to just chill out. Stay hydrated and stretch so the soreness from your gym days won’t make you stiff and will dissipate faster!
Split your lift days by muscle-groups. This will keep your workouts structured and keep your body’s development proportional. I divide my days up like this: pull day (biceps and back), push day (triceps and chest with some shoulders), leg day (and yeah, don’t skip it), and shoulder day (since I just really want mine to develop well lol). I do abs every time, after I lift, but you can also do them before. Don’t skimp out with abs. Sure, it hurts, but the results are great. Core strength will really help with overall strength! I do at least 5 weight-lifting exercises for each designated day. Stretch before, and then get going! If you are unsure about your form for an exercise, most gyms have personal trainers who are willing to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask them a question! Youtube is also a great resource for videos on form. I like AthleanX’s videos, as well as Gabriel Sey’s, and Buff Dudes. Proper form is extremely important, otherwise you could strain your body or even seriously injure yourself. It’s especially important for heavier exercises.
Cardio days are good for you! Have at least 1 cardio day in your week! Walking, biking, jogging, dancing, and the elliptical are great for cardio. Swimming is also good cardio, but as a poor swimmer myself, I don’t really get much of a workout from it. If you have friends who like to play sports, soccer, basketball, etc are great for getting in some cardio and also making it fun (because jogging is honestly boring unless you jog outside or have a killer playlist). Speaking of jogging, I know this may sound silly to some of you, but try not to jog at night, especially if you’re a younger guy. Safety is important, and believe it or not, younger men in their 20s are the most common victims of violent crime. Know where you are, jog with a friend or two, be aware of your surroundings (if your music is so loud you can’t hear the cars passing by, turn it down a notch), and have your phone available in case you need to make a call. If things look iffy, call it a night and go home. If you’re in a hospital (or freaking dead), you won’t be working out much anymore.
This may sound silly, but celebrate your results! Get excited over your gains. Take selfies, flex in the mirror, admire those veins that pop that weren’t there before. Also, little tip: the secret to getting arms that look bigger is working your triceps. They’re more of your arms than your biceps, so even though nice biceps look hot, good triceps will make you look stronger. It’ll make you look impressive! And being excited about your results from all your hard work will help keep you motivated!
Those are a lot of tips, so that’s enough for now. If you have questions that are more specific, my ask box is open and you can even message me if you’d prefer. Don’t be afraid if you don’t know anything about working out – that was once me, too. I ain’t gonna judge you, yo. Like I said, I don’t have any professional knowledge, but I figured some of what I know may be helpful. I won’t be able to answer every question you send my way, but if I can find a video or article that can, I will definitely send that your way instead. Have fun, and try and stay motivated! Best of luck on them gains, yo.