Tomorrow’s professional athletes are today’s novice and intermediate gym rats. That means if you’ve decided 2016 will be the year you progress in everything from your on-field or on-court skills to losing weight or gaining muscle, it’s critical to adopt good gym habits now. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself sidelined with an injury and watching your teammates and opponents evolve past you. To help you avoid the aforementioned blunders, we put this handy list of things beginners should look out for when they start their training programs …
#1. Going Too Heavy
While it’s a good idea to look at other lifters for inspiration, technique tips, or new exercises, don’t compare yourself to them. Just because someone else is putting up 400 lbs. on the bench press doesn’t mean you should aspire to do the same (right away, anyway). Going too heavy when you’re not prepared to handle heavy weight can lead to using wonky form and injury. Stick to your program and document the weights used to monitor your progress.
#2. Using Straps or Belts
Straps and belts are crucial for powerlifters, but for starters, it’s a better idea to build up the grip strength and muscles on moves like deadlifts and shrugs. Once you’ve evolved to powerlifting or strongman training, then consider straps or belts.
#3. Avoiding Machines
Yes, compound exercises (squat, bench press, deadlift, etc.) that rely on free weights are great at building strength and muscle, but exercise machines have a place in the weight room, too. Using machines can help you go heavier while reducing the risk of injuries, and save your joints from additional punishment. Especially when you’re in-season, using machines can be a great way to keep strength up and limit joint issues. Just don’t adopt an all-machines routine for too long; build up your stabilizers by utilizing barbell and dumbbell work as well.
#4. Not Staying Hydrated
Dehydration can mess with strength and stamina. While it’s recommended that athletes who train hard drink water that totals half of their bodyweight in ounces, we also sip on plenty of other liquids throughout the day, including coffee, tea, and P4 workout supplements. Energy Formula and Recovery Push Formula are two high-quality supplements that are ideal for pre- or intra-workout consumption that’ll help you remain hydrated and full of energy. Energy Formula contains caffeine, green tea and white tea extract, and vitamins to keep energy levels soaring, while Recovery Push’s vitamin matrix and carb loader offers caffeine-free energy to finish strong. Taking either is easy, too — just add a scoop to a shaker bottle with 8-10 ounces of water, shake, and consume.
#5. Going Too Often
More isn’t always better — especially if you’re not getting enough rest to allow your body adequate time to rest and recover. Going everyday can lead to overtraining and, ultimately, injury. Develop a plan that suits your schedule and your fitness needs, stick to it, and progress when you’re confident enough to do so.
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