The first time you enter the gym can be an intimidating feeling. You’re not quite sure where to start and the unfamiliar equipment looks daunting, especially combined with the fitness fanatics using it. If you don’t head to the gym with a plan, you run a higher risk of your new habit not sticking as there’s no clear path to weight loss. Fortunately, now you can enter your workout with an idea in place of how to approach your health journey with some tips that trainers recommend to lose weight at the gym once and for all.
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Don’t Focus On Cardio
Contrary to what you’ve likely been told, you don’t have to focus only on cardio to see weight loss results at the gym. Personal trainer and athlete Ashley Rademacher explains that while cardio is beneficial for putting you into a calorie deficit, too much cardio can set you back. “While it’s true that cardio burns the most calories, it can actually cause muscle to be broken down for energy as well. This means that the fat that people are most eager to burn is actually left behind because the body can much more readily break down muscle tissue instead of fat for its immediate glycolic needs.”
Focus On Compound Movements
The key to sustained weight loss is an increase in muscle, and focusing on compound movements is the best way to do this. While a common misconception about weight training is that it can cause women to appear ‘bulky,’ the reality is that weight training actually boosts your metabolism, increasing your calorie burn throughout the day which will lean you out over time.
Rademacher explains, “By performing compound movements such as adding a bicep curl alongside a traditional lunge, you can increase the muscles that are being worked, as well as the calorie burn, in a shorter amount of time.” As you advance in the gym, your muscles will become used to the weights, so in order to prevent a plateau, you will have to increase the volume of your training. This can be done by including heavier, shorter sets, as well as lighter, higher rep sets into your plan.
HIIT It Hard
Although it doesn’t have to be the cornerstone of your plan, a cardio aspect is valuable to include in your training to increase your daily calorie expenditure, putting you in a caloric deficit. If you hate the idea of running or long, extended cardio sessions, Rademacher suggests throwing a day or two of HIIT, or high intensity interval training, into your routine. “These high intensity intervals can get your heart rate up during strength training and keep it up while you perform other, lower-intensity exercise. The result is a more effective workout, increased metabolism, and higher fat burn than with strength training or cardio alone.”
While the gym can seem intimidating, going in with a plan is the best way to ensure you stick to your habits and get the most out of your workout. With a healthy balance of strength training and a little bit of cardio, you can feel confident in your routine and trust that the results will follow with consistency and time.