Apr 032010

Going to the gym is more than just pumping the iron until you can’t go any more – you also need to approach your problem in a smart way, and develop a routine which will serve to help you reach your goals in the shortest time possible. The basics of a good fitness routine are different depending on what you’re trying to do, so read on to find out how to make the most out of your own.

First, to determine how long you should dedicate to working out each day, use 45-75 minutes as a rough guide. Remember that your body’s muscle building processes begin to rapidly deteriorate after about 60 minutes, so you should take that into account when calculating the time for your workout. Devote enough for a rest around the middle of the workout as well, to give yourself some “breathing room” while you’re at it.

On a weekly scale, leave at least two days of rest every week – not consequentially, of course, but try to do something like three days of working out and one day of resting. Many people get the wrong idea that their muscles grow in size while they’re working out at the gym, fooled by the temporary immediate effect – in fact, your muscles grow when you’re resting during the days between your workouts, and if you don’t give them sufficient time to do so, your progress will be badly affected in the long run.

It doesn’t matter if you want to see results in one muscle group mostly, you should still make sure your fitness routine is varied enough. A body looks good when its muscle groups have all been equally and proportionally developed, so if you just concentrate on one, you’ll end up looking rather badly.

Make sure you know the difference between working out to lose weight, and to build mass – there are different exercises you’ll have to include in your fitness routine in both cases, and if you don’t familiarize yourself with them well enough, you may get the completely wrong result in the end.

Also, take your current season into consideration when deciding on your exercises. During the winter, you’ll want to build up muscle mass (provided your goal is to become strong and well-built, of course), and you won’t be worrying much about shaping those muscles properly. The reason is simple, during the winter you’re normally wearing thick clothes and your body isn’t that well-defined underneath them.

When you get to the spring though, start working out in ways that define the shape of your muscles – more specifically, burn lots of fat. If you do it well enough, you’ll look lean and beautiful in the summer, when you can show off your body a lot more freely thanks to the hot temperatures all around. Keep up the fat burning during the entire summer season, and when the fall comes, switch to the muscle-building exercises – do this in a cycle and you should be all set.

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