Workout rants from the desk of Sir Zachary Stewart

By Zachary Stewart- Fitness Specialist

Hello people of the MHA nation. It’s once again time for your favorite rosebudder to write his news article. I thought maybe I should write about mistakes beginners make and mistakes I made surrounding the gym when I first started out. Because to tell you the truth we all make mistakes. And the reason we grow as gym goers is the drive to learn and get better in a safe manner.

Ok, so you made it to the gym. Great! But the work doesn’t stop there. Remember this if you wanna be the man, you gottta have a plan.  I used to walk around aimlessly hopping on empty machines and hoping I would get a wicked body. Having a program written out will not only give you more confidence and in that you know what you’re doing in the gym, it also leads to better results. It’s more important to know not only which exercises to do, but also how to perform them properly. Executing each move safely should be your top priority. Being a beginner doesn’t mean you have to go through learning pains. In chest and back workouts, for example, you should never put the health of your shoulders in jeopardy. The next mistake I had was setting unachievable goals. Instead of jumping in too quickly and going whole hog right off the bean, begin your fitness journey with a two days per week training schedule. A few hours of gym time can be integrated into your life without much upheaval. Setting a goal you can realistically achieve is a confidence booster and then any extra days you train are just gravy. On days that you’re pressed for time, focus on efficiency to get the most out of a short session, rather than simply skipping the gym. Always plan for the unexpected by keeping a quick, 20 minute workout in your back pocket. Remember, the only bad workout is the one you didn’t do. And don’t let limited equipment be an excuse either. You can knock out a full-body workout with just a set of dumbbells and a few rounds of exercises. High-volume complexes are a great way to get in and out of the gym quickly, because they force you to complete a large amount of work in a short amount of time. A few rounds of 10 reps of dumbbell presses, bent over rows, and reverse lunges with limited rest can be a great way to initiate muscle growth. Once you hit your goal of training two days a week for three weeks, try adding another day to your schedule. Remember, there’s no rush. Consistency and long-term habits not short spurts of over-the-top workout are what breed great results. 

Which leads me into my next mistake of trying to do too much too fast. I believed extremism would yield quicker results, but the reality is that results take time, effort, and consistency. When it comes to lasting success, there are no short cuts. Too many people rush into programs that are too intense for their fitness level or start on extreme diets that are nearly impossible to stick with.  You need to remember that your body has it’s limits and a good program is one that you’ll be able to stick with for the long haul. Becoming truly fit is a lesson in patience. Enjoy the journey, and you’ll be at the finish line before you know it. Now talking food, that barrels us into my next subject.

The nutrition aspect. What you fuel your body with before and after your workouts will dictate how well you perform in the gym and whether or not you gain muscle. If you eat foods that provide your body with adequate amounts of nutrients, your muscles will recover from the weights and grow back fuller and stronger. When it comes to proper nutrition, whole foods should be prioritized. And in my opinion that is the truth, no supplements or fad diets can beat that. And believe me I have tried diets like the keto and yes I liked them. They serve a purpose, but good quality food, portion control, and sticking to a plan is the way to go.

 Last thing I can tell you is you cannot cheat your sleep. Period. Everyone has different schedules, but you should try to get at least seven hours of quality sleep every night. If you go to the gym feeling tired and sleep deprived, you won’t perform as well as you would if you’d had a full night’s sleep. Occasionally, you can get away with eating some unhealthy foods and still have a decent workout, but when you train on a bad night’s sleep, there’s no amount of caffeine that will help you. Lack of sleep will increase cortisol levels, which leads to more body fat and fewer muscle gains. So, get off the games, get off social media, and get to bed!