The Gauntlet will publish a series of training tips in the upcoming months. Whether you have never set foot in the gym or are a seasoned veteran of the fitness centre, here is some advice from a University of Calgary kinesiologist and personal trainer to help get you started the right way.
DON’T deadlift like the hunchback of Notre Dame — as pictured above — and do 100 full sit-ups for your “core” workout. You need those discs in your lumbar spine when you’re older.
DON’T work out if you haven’t eaten for four to five hours. DO eat something two to three hours before, like fruit, vegetables and a source of protein. For example, eat an apple and almonds, a peanut butter and banana wrap or hummus and vegetables.
DON’T load the E-Z-curl bar up with a ton of five pound plates without securing them with collars. While important to get those curls done, it’s never safe to have weighted obstacles rolling around the gym.
DON’T teach your friend/girlfriend/boyfriend the workout routine you have been doing for years. Progressive overload is not simply kinesiology jargon. Perhaps your friend can temporarily keep up, but eventually they will start to hate you when they are injured or can’t move the following week.
DO wash your gym clothes and throw on some deodorant. The fitness centre regularly receives complaints about the various odours at the gym. After three days, those dry-fit shirts really lock in a musk.
DO let go of the treadmill, even when you have increased to maximum incline. This reduces the compressive forces on your spine and will help prevent back pain. You might be working a bit too hard if you have to keep a death grip to stay on.
DO stay focused on what you are doing in the gym. If you are reading Time while doing weights, you are not working out — put the magazine down. Strength training requires your full attention to make sure you don’t hurt yourself.
DO run in the direction of the arrows on the track. If your running also doubles as agility practice, it is likely you are going to end up in the Sports Medicine Centre.
DO look in the mirrors to check your technique. Contrary to popular practice, the mirrors are not there for you to make sure your tricep development is coming along or to touch up hair and makeup.