To some, the New Year is an opportunity to start with a clean slate and tackle those goals put off in 2014. And like many of us, this means starting, or getting back into, fitness.
While this is a great goal, how you approach it is very important to your success. Too often, one’s eagerness to get started without proper preparation can lead to injury. To help you navigate your way along your fitness journey, we’ve asked Professional Athletic Performance Center Director Dean Maddalone (PTA, CSCS, USAW) for some tips to stay safe when you decide to hit the gym.
- Consult a medical professional first.
If you have not worked out for several months or years, or are returning from an injury and want to get back to the gym, always consult with a medical professional before starting any program.
- Find the right gym or program for you.
There are many places to work out and so many different fitness programs available to purchase. Make sure you don’t feel pressured when looking at gyms; you want to feel comfortable when choosing the right facility. Don’t pick a place just because it has the best deal. A gym should fit your needs. If you’re an athlete, make sure the facility you choose has enough space and equipment to practice for your sport. If you’re looking for general weight loss, you’ll want a gym with plenty of cardio equipment and free weights.
- Be inquisitive when selecting a Personal Trainer.
Be sure to ask the Personal Trainers about their qualifications and certifications. Some examples are CSCS, NSCA-CPT (both best for sports training and strength and conditioning), NASM, PES, ACSM, CES (all best for injury prevention) USAW (best if you’re looking into Olympic weightlifting), and USATF (best for running and track and field). These are the credentials recognized by the American Medical Association and collegiate and professional sport strengthening and conditioning programs. Inquire how long your trainer has been certified and the type of clientele they have worked with. If you’re returning from an injury, ask if the trainer has experience working with post-injury clients.
- Prepare to be sore.
When starting an exercise program, you WILL have muscle soreness. This soreness usually occurs 24-48 hours after your workout. If the soreness lasts longer than 5 days or increases, that is a sign that you may have done too much and might need to consult a medical professional. To prevent overdoing it, start off slow with moderate weight and ease into your training. Progress once you’re comfortable with the current weight or rate. Also, don’t take on too many exercises at one time. For example, 3 sets of 10 reps for 10 different exercises can add up quickly and lead to injury if your body isn’t accustomed to the volume.
- Set attainable goals.
If you were able to bench 300 lbs in college, that doesn’t mean you should try to bench 300 lbs now. Always start conservatively, and steadily get your muscles used to working out again. Progressively increase weight, and chart your progress for all of your exercises. Setting attainable goals may seem like common sense, but injuries are all too common from taking on too much weight during training.
Always take things slow and listen to your body while you workout, and your New Year will be filled with fitness gains, not training injuries!
Professional would like to help you take that first step in your fitness journey. Call our Athletic Performance Center in Garden City, NY at 516 227 2373 and mention the word “RESOLUTIONS” to receive one (1) FREE personal training session*!
* THE FIRST TEN (10) PEOPLE TO CALL WILL BE OFFERED A TRAINING SESSION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. You must call by April 1, 2015 to schedule your personal training session. Session times are based on coach availability.