Getting into shape is easier said than done. Gazing into bathroom mirrors, people make mental notes of all the things they would like to change about their physical appearance. They wish for smaller waistlines, tight, strong muscles and fewer lumps in general. In many cases, these alterations are all possible with a little physical exertion.
However, before you head off to the nearest gym and start pumping weights non-stop, take a few minutes to formulate a plan. Without one, the odds of a successful exercise regimen sink dramatically. Matt Probst is the owner of Personalized Wellness Center in Akron. Among many other things, he is a medical exercise specialist. Probst has seen first-hand the struggle that many people have when they begin a new fitness routine. He has a few tips that can help any beginner in the gym to not only stick to their plan, but actually see results.
Start slowly. “What tends to happen is that people get very aggressive and think they’re going to knock off a whole bunch of weight really fast—they overdo it,” says Probst. Instead of rushing into the gym, guns blazing, he suggests starting off conservatively and then building up to more moderate efforts.
As with anything you do in life, it’s important to have a plan before you begin. Probst couldn’t stress that more. “Having a plan of attack makes a lot of sense, and taking the guidance of a good personal trainer will help you,” he says. Once you have a plan, it is vital to not only stick to it, but have the patience to see it through. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your ideal body. The process takes time.
A gym or recreation center is full of tools that you can use to help you achieve your goals. However, many people don’t fully understand how to use them. “We see this all the time,” Probst says. “People come in and just randomly begin to push on things—again without a plan—and they do it
in such a way that can create injury.” The basic mechanics of exercise are also important to understand. Probst boils it down to the simple equation of force=mass x acceleration. “When you’re trying to move a mass on a machine, many people get injured because they accelerate that motion so quickly that they end up straining or tearing muscle.” Fully comprehending how to use each machine is one basic way to prevent injury right out of the gate.
Many people jump into fitness in the first half of the year to shed a few pounds. However Probst says that exercise is not the key to weight loss. “Weight loss, specifically fat loss, is 80 percent what you do with your mouth. You cannot out-exercise a bad diet.” In fact, as you exercise more and more, Probst says that you create a calorie demand. This means that you eat more when you get home, often ending in the opposite result than what you were going for. “To really maximize weight loss, it really comes down to three components: food, strength training to increase muscle mass and calorie expenditure,” Probst says. “When you really break it down, those are the three things you need to focus on.”
By balancing your diet, gaining strength and making sure you are burning the appropriate amount of calories, Probst says you are more likely to see the results you want.
In many cases it is wise to seek the advice of a good personal trainer. “You wouldn’t attempt to do your taxes without guidance,” he says. “Why would we attack our bodies—which are very sophisticated science projects—without any sort of knowledge whatsoever?” By doing your homework and finding the right trainer for you, not only will you have the right advice, but also the encouragement you need to continue into a new year as a healthier version of yourself.