No, not THE golden rule.
You know, the one that says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
That’s a really good rule, but we’re talking here about the golden rules of fitness.
OK, not THE golden rules of fitness, but SOME golden rules of fitness.
Here’s a list of 10 good ones:
- Always warm up
- Do cardio
- Lift weights
- Change up your workouts
- Get enough protein
- Remember to stay hydrated
- Don’t forget to stretch
- Track your progress
- Choose workouts you enjoy
- Get rest
Warm up is important, even if it’s just a few minutes on the treadmill. Loosen up and lubricate those joints and get the ol’ blood pumping a little bit. A little stretching before you work out can be good, too, depending on what you’re doing that day. For instance, when I’m going to do strength training for my back, the exercises I like to do — pull-ups, for example — can be a strain on the shoulder joints, so I take some time to stretch and loosen up my shoulders a little first. Same thing when it’s time to do some shoulder exercises.
Both strength training and cardio should be part of the equation. I’ve been starting my workout most days with 25 minutes of intervals on the treadmill. Sometimes, I’ll do intervals on a stationary bike. Some people recommend cardio before weight training and some recommend cardio after weight training. Whatever works for you, I say.
Change up your workouts every six weeks, at least, to prevent boredom and routine from setting in, but also to hit those muscle groups in a little different way. The body adapts pretty quickly to the same thing over and over. Variety is the spice of life! Also, when it comes to weight lifting, do things like mixing in heavy days and light days, fewer reps and more reps.
Eat protein every time you have a meal or a snack.
Some people carry a little notebook or notepad around, meticulously charting their progress. If you can do that, more power to you. It’s a great idea. There are templates you can print out or use as a guide.
Stretching is important. I do a lot more stretching than I used to, especially since I developed a sore knee in my old age. A lot of times, things like lower back pain, hip pain, knee pain, etc., are symptoms of muscle imbalances and tightness. Massage therapy is a great thing, too.
And make sure you’re enjoying your exercise program. It’s ain’t always going to be rainbows, of course, but if you absolutely dread doing whatever you’re doing, it’s going to be hard to maintain it for the long-term and get the results you want.
You can do it!