You’ve heard it before: bring a water bottle, stretch, yadda yadda. But you just ate five servings of Thanksgiving leftovers and aren’t going grocery shopping because in your mind, you justified your lack of self control — since it’s almost the new year. It’s December. You have at least another month to get your head out of the plethora of pies and into the gym. Now, it’s time to improve your workout IQ.
DO: Start. It’s easily the toughest part about going to the gym. Actually going requires planning, coordination and confidence — but come on, you’ve got this. Every muscle in your body will be thanking you afterwards. Don’t wait for Monday, for the new month, until those new pair of leggings come in. Working out only works if you do. New to the gym? Ask an experienced friend to come with you. They’d love a workout buddy and your questions will be answered. “Gymtimadation” will quickly turn into “gymspiration.”
DON’T: Restrict yourself. As much as we all crave toned legs and abs, it’s important to work out several muscle groups in order to reduce strain and allow for ripped muscle tissue to heal. If you plan on working out arms for four days a week, you’re hindering the process. Take a day off in between muscle groups or rotate what you’re working day by day. We recommend working out upper body one day, lower body another day, and getting cardio in two to three times a week.
DO: Read labels. It’s true that you’re burning calories, but if you’re hoping to rock a body-con dress by the end of the month, you’ve got to watch what you’re eating. Protein bars mislead gym beginners with their intense carb and calorie count. Protein is obviously important after a sweat sesh (they keep you full longer and repair ripped muscle tissue) but you can get the same result with less calories from Greek yogurt and pineapple, sliced turkey with low-fat cheddar and chocolate almond milk.
DON’T: Check the scale meticulously. Results will slowly be visible – and we know how much you hate waiting. Consistency will be key here, and when consistency can’t happen, don’t freak out and quit altogether. Missing a day, a week or a month doesn’t mean you can’t be seen in tennis shoes ever again.
DO: Make the playlist. Research shows listening to music distracts from any “pain” you may face while working out (although too much pain isn’t what you want). Faster music pushes you to new distances and emotional hits will carry you through the last reps. Plus, headphones mean you don’t have to listen to dudes wearing Crocs and socks brag about their bench personal records.