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Should you hit the gym?

Should you hit the gym?

Most of us would like to join a gym but with a gazillion things to do, we just don’t seem to have the time. So we make do with home workouts. After all, YouTube has made exercising accessible and easy. There are even quick 10-minute workouts that you can do when you are in a rush. But joining a gym has its perks. You are more likely to be consistent with your workouts and reach your fitness goals when someone is guiding you. 

Prashant Maharjan, who runs Evergreen Fitness in Lalitpur, is a qualified personal trainer with eight years of experience in helping people achieve their fitness goals. Babita Shrestha from ApEx spoke to Maharjan who believes going to the gym is always a good idea if you want to become healthy and fit. 

What are the benefits of working out at a gym compared to exercising at home?

Home workouts and gym workouts serve different purposes. Home workouts typically focus on flexibility, whereas working out at a gym involves weight training, cardio, and muscle toning. It’s multi-faceted. It’s also always a good idea to work out with a professional guiding you so that you don’t make mistakes that can result in injuries. 

Gyms are equipped with trainers who can help you figure out what works for you as well as keep you motivated. Having a trainer by your side will ensure that your approach, form, and technique are correct. Additionally, trainers will also be able to give you information about your lifestyle and diet so that you can make better choices outside the gym as well. 

Why is form and technique important while exercising?

Every piece of equipment has a specific purpose and if it’s not used properly, it can lead to injuries. A good understanding of form can help avoid strains and injuries. You have to make sure your posture is right as that prevents unwanted twisting of muscles. Also, proper usage of exercise equipment can result in enhanced physical strength and help people reach their fitness goals. Good form and technique are crucial for a pain-free exercise session. 

How do you make sure your exercise session is safe? 

It’s vital to warm up before starting an intense workout. Make sure you don’t push yourself too much, only do as much as your body allows. I would also recommend drinking enough water 30 minutes before working out and then taking little sips in between to avoid dehydration and fatigue. At the gym, don’t try to copy other people. Figure out what works for you. Asking the trainer for help is always a good idea. 

What’s the right way to increase muscle mass and lose weight?

Eighty percent of muscle gain depends on your diet. Only 20 percent of it is exercise-related. You want to focus on a nutrient-dense diet with enough lean protein. Chickpea can be a great substitute for protein powder in your diet, given that it’s more cost-effective. Bananas are regarded as the fruit of paradise because they help in muscle growth and weight gain. You might want to use weights and resistance equipment in addition to doing exercises like squats and weightlifting. To lose weight, you must cut down your calorie and carb intake. Exercises that increase cardiovascular activity, such as running, cycling, aerobics, and high-intensity interval training can help burn calories while preserving muscle mass.

What are some common fitness myths?

The most common fitness myth is diet-related. People believe they have to eat less to lose weight. It’s not about how much you eat but what you eat. Your diet should be rich in the right kind of nutrients depending on your fitness goals. Then, people tend to believe that taking a break from exercising can lead to weight gain but that’s not true at all. It’s important to have rest days to allow your body to recover. 

Talking about rest days, how can you achieve the right balance between training and recovery? 

Recovery typically takes 48 hours, which is why four to five days of working out is enough for everybody. When you workout, you create microscopic tears in your muscles and rest days are important for your muscles to heal and grow back stronger. During rest days, your body gets the chance to remove the excess lactate from the muscles and that can help relieve muscle pain and soreness. Rest days are also important because overexercising can tire your mind along with your body. I’d also advise people to get at least eight hours of sleep to achieve mind-body harmony. 

How important is goal-setting in fitness and how can you be realistic about it?

Goal-setting is important as it helps you understand what you want to achieve. Take pictures and videos before and after your workout sessions, say every week or so, to monitor your progress. To monitor muscle mass and fat reduction, use a measuring tape. These days, it’s possible to measure calories burnt and pulse rate using wearable devices. One thing you shouldn’t do is weigh or measure yourself every day. Have fixed days for it. Be consistent with your routine and don’t be too hard on yourself if and when you miss a few sessions.