Check out these rules out before you get started:
1. Never Start Cold
That's right, always take the time to not only stretch and warm up the muscles, but get your blood flowing. Do some light aerobic exercise to get your body ready for your workout: jog, cycle, or use the elliptical machine for 5 to 10 minutes. This will get your muscles burning, and will activate your fat-burning mechanism.
2. Go for Intensity
If you're lifting weights, train to failure (the good type of muscle failure). If you're going to run or cycle to lose weight, train to the intensity recommended by your trainer (which will depend on your fitness goals). Make sure to do the most exercise with the most intensity you're capable of (again, check with your trainer) in the least amount of time--that's the key to weight loss without spending hours at the gym.
3. Only Snack Afterwards
Never take a break in the middle of your workout to have a snack--it will make you feel lazy and slow. It's best to avoid eating directly before a workout, unless you're a power lifter or a marathon runner that will be doing 90+ minutes of exercise. Just have a light snack of 200 to 300 calories after an intense workout to help replace the energy you used. (Eating afterwards will train your body to replenish muscle energy without storing fat.)
4. Get Ready for Progress
If you work out properly, you'll notice some pretty amazing muscle gains over the first month or two. However, that will usually slow within three months, and you're going to have to work extra hard to keep the progress going.
5. Efficiency Always
Barbells always work better than dumbbells, as you can strain the prime mover muscles better with more weight. Do exercises that involve as many muscles as possible, as that will work out your body with fewer movements--meaning you can throw as much intensity into each exercise without tiring out too quickly.
6. Careful with Joints
Never lock your knees, your elbows, or your shoulders--that's the fastest way to get injured. When you lock the joints, it placed pressure on the cartilage and bones rather than on the muscle. Never hyperextend (extend beyond a safe point), and avoid using weight that you can barely handle.
Don't make the newbie mistake of holding your breath when you lift, or panting when you run. Make sure to regulate your breath when you run, and control your breathing if you want to go the distance. When lifting, breathe in when relaxing the muscle, and expel air when exerting force. This will prevent injuries and keep your muscles working well.
8. Watch Your Back
When you lift, you are putting pressure and strain on your back. If you're not careful to use the right posture and sit properly, you'll end up injuring your back. There's nothing that makes lifting harder than a back injury, so make sure that the exercises you do are done correctly with the proper form and posture. Get help from a trainer if you're not sure you're doing it right.
Take these practices to heart, and you'll be the most effective, most efficient weight-lifter and bodybuilder you can be. Good luck, and happy lifting!
Andy Peloquin had battled with weight loss issues his whole life. To overcome this, he began studying fitness and is now in the process of becoming a certified professional fitness trainer. He exercise seven days a week and is excited to share his down-to-earth knowledge of exercise and fitness.