To me, the idea of working out was always intimidating. I’m a pretty fit person, but I have almost no stamina or endurance. Because I had never really pumped any iron at the gym before, I was scared to go alone and make a fool of myself. As a girl, I’m not going to workout to the extreme or try to get super buff, but it’s nice to stay in shape and tone those muscles. Okay girls, I’m going to tell you about the basics of working out along with my personal experience.
I started working out with my good friend Rachel at the Rice Fitness Center just a few weeks ago, and man, I’m feelin’ the burn. The Rice Fitness Center was remodeled in 2011 and has really nice equipment; I actually look forward to going to the gym because I have someone fun to workout with and everything is brand new.
1. Take a Friend! I would definitely recommend taking a friend along; a partner cannot only motivate you, but it is easier to space out your breaks between reps. Rachel is quite experienced, so it was nice to have someone to show me the ropes.
2. Take It Easy! If it’s your first time working out, be sure to take it easy. Start off small with any weights and machines you are using otherwise you’ll pay for it the next day with some major soreness.
3. Warm up! Warming up is a huge part of exercise because it reduces the risk for injury and helps get your oxygenated blood pumping. Some stretches beforehand are good followed by a nice jog on the treadmill. I would recommend warming up on the elliptical because it reduces the impact on your feet and legs.
4. Step by Step! Each time we go to work out at the gym, Rachel and I decide which muscles we will be focusing on that day, whether its biceps, triceps, glutes, calves, quads, or abs, etc. The machines are very handy at targeting specific muscles. We use the different machines, hand weights, medicine balls, and do core and resistance exercises such as planks, crunches, lunges, and squats with the 45 lb bar.
5. Reps and Sets! Reps are super important for toning and building muscles. You want to aim for 10 to 12 reps per set. Rachel and I tend to do 3 sets per muscle.
6. Breathing! Don’t forget to breathe. It is recommended that you exhale when exerting and inhale on the easier part of the exercise.
7. Form Your Own Workout Plan! Rachel has come up with a nice workout plan for us. If you are inexperienced with forming your own workout plan, think of what areas of your body you would like to tone down and ask a friend who works out at the gym or search online to find others’ workouts.