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8 Workout Tips
by Justin Leonard
Written on October 28, 2000

Tip 1: Don't Favor Body Parts

Balance is of the essence. If you do develop muscular imbalances, try using priority training as a remedy. Priority training is when a weak muscle group is trained with first priority.

Tip 2: Avoid Overtraining

Usually, beginning athletes see good results early on in their training endeavors. They then think that doubling the amount of workout time, weight, sets, or reps will contribute to even greater gains. This is a big mistake.

The muscles and joints will actually begin to get weaker, due to the effects of overtraining. It may not happen right away, but overtraining can come back to haunt you after years or even months of training. The best way to avoid overtraining is to create a limit that you will not exceed. This can be something as simple as cutting your workout to only 1 hour (recommended) instead of 2 hours, or training 4 days instead of 5 days per week.

Tip 3: Eat High Carb Meals After Workouts

This type of eating replenishes vital nutrients and calories lost during exercise, and ultimately leads to rapid muscle growth.

Tip 4: Know Your Limits

Gym safety is important. Always know your limits, especially when it comes to performing exercises where the muscles can fatigue very quickly. For example, extremely heavy weights or maybe an ending movement in which a high amount of reps are performed. I'm putting emphasis on the spotter. Don't be afraid to ask for one! You've heard it before, "Better safe than sorry! "

Try to utilize the help of a partner or friend. If a spotter is unavailable, consult with your gym staff. Nine times out of ten, gym employees are required to possess a personal trainer and CPR certification. They care about the safety of their gym members, and would be more than willing to help.

Another option is to choose someone who looks like they know what they are doing. Be careful with this option because looks can be deceiving. Not all big guys or gals know how to spot properly. The last option is to use a machine. This is probably the safest way to ensure you don't get stuck under a bar. Use judgement and make smart decisions!

Tip 5: Concentrate of Form

I often see people in the gym who use momentum to power up heavy weights. These people can be seen on benches pressing up weight with big arcs in their backs, as well as curling using swinging techniques to power the weight up. This is a big mistake! You're only cheating yourself. If you think about it . . . what good is it doing? Swinging and cheating weight up is not really putting emphasis on any one muscle group. It is however, putting a severe strain on the back muscles and increasing your risk of injury. That is why you should concentrate on precise technique while keeping a constant link between the mind and the muscle.

Tip 6: Stretch

Why is this important? Because being flexible prevents injury, increases range of motion, promotes relaxation, improves performance, improves posture, and reduces stress. Stretching helps prevent muscular imbalances. It also reduces the duration of muscle soreness as a result of a strenuous workout.

What is the best way to stretch?

Stretching should be done very slow, controlled, and gradual. Each position should be held for about 10 - 30 seconds. Stretching should not be painful. Be sure to stretch the muscle fascia only after it has been warmed up. If you stretch it when it is cold, you increase your chances of injury.

Tip 7: Don't Let Myths Ruin the Way You Train

I get several questions about full reps and half reps, high and low reps, heavy and light weight, and short or long workouts. There is no right or wrong answer! Every technique, no matter the type, is going to work for someone, somewhere. Don't always go by what you hear. Try different techniques for yourself and see if they work for you.

Tip 8: Be Patient

Trust me, I know first hand how discouraging physical gains can be if they don't come as fast as you want them to. Your goal may take some time (months, even years) to accomplish. Don't let things like high-caliber magazine and TV athletes cause you to give up and lose hope. In fitness, nothing happens right away. Your level of success is measured by how patient you are.

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