7 Expert Fitness Tips Every Lifter Should Know
Whether you’re an experienced lifter or just starting out, these expert fitness tips will help you get stronger and make better progress.
The order you perform your exercises in can actually affect how much weight you can lift. Try pre-exhausting your muscles with an isolation exercise before hitting them with a compound move.
1. Know Your Limits
Knowing your limits is a crucial component of being an expert lifter. It’s important to push yourself during each workout but not so much that you risk injury or burnout. This is where training with an expert coach and proper programming come into play.
A good benchmark is if you can talk to someone while at the end of a high-intensity cardio workout and not feel like you’re going to pass out. You may also want to avoid a lot of “no-repeat” workouts such as unilateral work, sled work, and weighted carries.
2. Keep It Simple
If your workout isn’t fun, you’re unlikely to stick with it. Find activities you actually like and can enjoy, and make them a regular part of your schedule. Set a time and place for your workout, just as you would for any other appointment or meeting.
Keep your exercise routine simple by laying out your gear and prepping your fueling foods the night before. Try using a fitness app to help hold yourself accountable to your workout commitments, and use consistency to build your results over time. Then you can really maximize your intensity and strength.
3. Stay Hydrated
Whether you’re doing a one-hour HIIT class or running a full marathon, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. When you sweat, you lose fluids that your body needs, and dehydration can make you feel tired and reduce your performance levels.
So, how much water do you need to drink before and after a workout? The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours before you work out, and 8 ounces right after. If you prefer, try a sports drink, chocolate milk, tart cherry juice or plain water.
4. Don’t Swing the Weights
Whether you’re new to weightlifting or a seasoned lifter, the temptation to jump right into your workout can be tempting. However, skipping warm-ups can lead to injuries and a lackluster workout.
Instead of going straight into your workout, take a moment to stretch and warm up with a light set of dumbbells or bodyweight exercises. Once you’re warmed up, start lifting heavy. When choosing a weight, aim to choose one that tires the targeted muscle by the last two reps while maintaining good form. This way, you can continue to make strength gains without losing control or compromising your form.
5. Don’t Overdo It
Leaving room for rest and recovery is one of the best ways to keep your body safe as you get stronger. This means working different muscles every day, and making sure to include non-weightlifting exercises like unilateral work or weighted carries.
It also helps to focus on quality over quantity. That means taking your time, and focusing on your form. Don’t push through pain during workouts; if something feels wrong, stop the exercise and consult a trainer.
Finally, it’s important to prioritize healthy eating and getting enough sleep in addition to your workout regimen. An overworked body needs fuel to repair itself and to grow.
6. Don’t Skip the Stretches
Most people are taught that stretching before and after exercising is a must. The idea is that without stretches, muscles are prone to strains and sprains.
Stretches help release tense tissues that hold tightly against tendon attachments. These tight tissues are more prone to strains, sprains, and chronic inflammatory pain. Stretches coax these tissues back to their former length, making them less prone to post-workout damage.
To get the most benefit out of your stretches, warm up first. Much like taffy, your muscles stretch more easily when they’re warm.
7. Get Outside
Getting outside can be as simple as walking to your car in the morning or taking a longer walk at lunch. Incorporating outdoor hobbies like hiking, biking, gardening or tennis can be fun ways to get exercise that also make you happy.
If you’re looking for a more structured way to get active outdoors, try a group exercise class, adult sports league or a running/walking club. You might find that the camaraderie can help keep you accountable and also makes exercising a lot more fun. And if you’re not into formal workouts, bodyweight exercises like squats, burpees or pushups on a hill incline can be effective and challenging.