The Instagram generation plays by the rule “pics or it didn’t happen”. This also goes for posting photos from the gym and showing off perfectly toned and sculpted bodies. #gym and #workout are among the most popular hashtags and although this fit-body craze has many upsides including promoting a healthy lifestyle and physical activity, or encouraging people to start transforming their bodies, there are some things that are more important than looking sizzling at the gym, and staying injury-free is one of them. Here are some basic rules of gym safety that you should follow.
A dress code
Maybe the clothes don’t make a man, but they can cause a lot of problems and even some nasty injuries at the gym. Forget about comfortable, baggy clothes, as they can get caught in exercise machines such as stationary bikes. Apparently, there’s a reason why workout pants and shirts are tight-fitting and it’s not entirely for the purpose of being visually appealing and putting muscles on display. When it comes to your hair, if it’s long, either wear a hat or make sure to tie it up in order to avoid some freak accidents, or risk getting your curls caught in the weight stack machine.
A warm-up is a must
Many people don’t realize the importance of warm-up exercises and they end up with cramps, sprains, and even some more serious injuries. You need to prepare your body for all those efforts it will have to endure. This 10-minute activity will increase your heart rate and the circulation of blood and oxygen, thus getting your muscles and joints ready for the activity. Ankle and knee injuries are very common in this sport, and warming up prompts your joints to produce so-called synovial fluid which protects them from friction and improves their mobility and flexibility. To add another layer of security, always wear quality weightlifting shoes with padded ankle support and keep injuries at bay.
Know your limits
Weightlifting newbies are always impressed when they see someone who can lift the heaviest weights and they sometimes put too much strain on their bodies in order to get there as quickly as possible. However, this kind of training requires a step by step approach and pushing yourself beyond your limits can be dangerous since we’re talking about some serious weights here. What’s also crucial is that you should never lift weights alone as there are all kinds of mishaps or even equipment malfunctions that you can’t predict, which is why a spotter should always be by your side to keep an eye on you and come to your rescue if necessary.
Regular medical check-ups
Before setting your foot in the gym, you need to have a detailed medical check-up and get the clearance from your doctor that everything is OK. A safe workout routine is highly beneficial, and weightlifting can do wonders for your health, but still, not everyone is fit for such an endeavor, so it’s essential to find out whether there are some potential risk factors because of which you should follow a modified program to avoid injuries or medical issues. The good news is that weightlifting under controlled circumstances can have positive effects on people suffering from coronary artery disease and reduce the risk factors associated with it.
You already know that the timing is very important when it comes to your diet regimen. The food you eat pre-workout should energize you and be easily digestible. Stick to the 40-40-20 carb-protein-fat formula 90-120 minutes before you start your workout. However, whatever you do, never hit the gym on an empty stomach. And, no, a salad isn’t considered a proper meal in this case. Another big no-no is devouring hamburgers and fries as it will make you slow and sluggish, not to mention that you can feel queasy and nauseous. Post-workout, your body craves some carbs, and before replenishing it with some high-protein whey shake, down a piece of fruit or a sports drink to boost your insulin level.
No matter how common-sense these gym safety commandments are, many people fail to stick to them and they regret it later.