RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) – Hitting the gym is a common new year’s resolution, but many people stop going after just a few weeks. However, there are things you can do to help set yourself up for success. Here’s how experts say you can make your resolution count.
“Nobody knows your body better than you do,” said Joel Link, the general manager and head trainer at Infinite Health and Fitness and the owner of No Weak Link, LCC.
Link says if your muscles are so sore that it limits your everyday movements, you’ve done too much.
“You want to hit the ground running, which is spectacular. In a new year, you’ve got big goals, you’ve got stuff you want to accomplish. But, you’re never going to get to those goals if you’re injuring your body and not recovering properly,” Link said.
To reduce soreness and get blood flowing, begin your workout with dynamic, moving stretches like leg swings, which are easier if you find a bar to keep yourself supported and upright.
“Anchor your outside leg and then all you’re doing is keeping that leg straight and extending back and pushing forward,” Link said.
Another exercise is skipping, which you can do in place.
“Raise the knee, extend out and down. And then same thing– pushing out, back in and then down again,” Link said.
You can also do side lunges beginning with a nice wide base.
“If we point the toes out, it is going to open up our hips and give us more flexibility. And then all we do is, our eyes stay nice and tall and we just extend from side to side,” Link said.
Moving to the upper body, arm circles are great for rotator cuffs. And swinging your arms back and forth to open the chest.
“It’s not as ecstatic as watching Michael Phelps do it, but it works,” Link said.
Link says another good way to wake your muscles up is hopping on a treadmill or elliptical just for a walk. He adds hopping on a treadmill after a workout is a great way to cool down and walking is totally fine.
If all the equipment overwhelming, he says trainers are there to help you, including through group classes.
But don’t line up back-to-back hard workouts. Link says your body needs 72 hours to recover, especially when lifting weights.
And hand in hand with getting good sleep is good nutrition, like incorporating more protein in your diet. Also think about when in the day you’re eating your calories.
Link says a mistake many people make is eating a small breakfast and lunch, and loading up with a large dinner.
“Have your lean meats, if you want white meats, chicken and fish. Even snacks are good. I do a lot of hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, tuna fish. Small incremental meals throughout the day are really big for fuel and recovery,” Link advised.
When it comes to lifting weights, Link suggests doing between six and 15 reps. If you can pump out 20 easily, add some weight. But if you can’t get out six good reps with proper form, take a little weight off.
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