Scratch’s Guide to Gettin’ the Most Out of Your Gym Membership

Gym GirlWhen it comes to goin’ to the gym, you’ve really gotta work hard to get the most out of yer membership fees. That doesn’t just mean making sure ya go at least twice a week either! What you may not know is that even when you’re at the gym you’re probably not using it to its full potential. Fortunately, good ol’ Scratch is here to give you my very own expert tips for how to make sure you’re getting the most out of your membership!

      – Use the “Heavy Weights”

      Sometimes it can be a lil intimidatin’ to venture into the weight room, ‘specially if it’s filled with bodybuilding types that make everything look easy. Unfortunately, you aren’t doing yerself any favors by hiding in the corner with the 5lb dumbbells. As Michele Olson, Ph.D. professor of exercise science at Auburn University put it, “If you don’t use heavier weights, you neglect an entire set of muscle fibers, namely the fast fibers, which are important for moving quickly, lifting weighty objects, and for spine and hip stability.” Also, for you cavewomen who are worried about addin’ too much bulk to yer bodies by hittin’ the heavy weights, women have low concentrations of testosterone – a hormone that’s necessary to add the bulge to your muscles. By adding heavy weights to your workout regiment, you’re not going to Hulk out, you’re going to tone up!

      – Use More of Your Upper Body During Cardio Sessions

      If you hit the gym for your cardio dose and all ya do is jump on the treadmill, you aren’t gettin’ the most out of your gym membership. Try cardio machines that engage your torso as well as yer legs – like the elliptical. To really push yourself, try alternating which muscles you use more on the elliptical. Spend two minutes pumping the handles with just your arms, then switch and do three minutes with your legs, and switch back. You’ll be surprised at how much more of a workout you get just by changin’ up how you get your cardio!

      – Push Yourself!

      Alright, you’ve just spent an hour at the gym. How do you feel? If you aren’t feeling the burn, then you’re not getting the most out of your exercise. It’s true that fitness should be fun, but if you’re not pushing yourself to tackle more weight or stay on that elliptical just a few minutes longer each time, then you’re not pushing yourself and you’re not going to get the results that you want. This is why interval training has become popular. Experts recommend a range of intensity levels so that you can push yourself appropriately while not over doing it.

      – Take Advantage of the Experts

      If yer club has trainers, specialists, nutritionists, or dietitians, use ’em! These people have the skills you need to help you get the most out of your diet and exercise. This is particularly important if your goal at the gym is weight loss. These guys can help you keep from burnin’ out, under-eating, or over-eating!

      – Don’t Leave Without Stretching

      Skippin’ the post-workout stretch is a very common mistake that a lot of people make. Sadly, stretchin’ after your workout is the best time to stretch! Your muscles are warm and have a lot of oxygen-rich blood pumpin’ once you’ve exercised. Keeping your muscles well stretched can not only help prevent that awful post-workout soreness, but it can also prevent future pulling and tearing of your muscles!

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