Its your first time.....
IN THE GYM that is ! Don't worry we were all there at some point, I get it, walking into a place that has a bunch of machine, grunting people, dumbbells, bars and lot of "fit" looking people can be super intimidating. What you don't see is that behind the faces of the people lifting are kind human beings that will help you if you ask. Fitness builds a community of people and if you are at a place that it does not feel this way, get out now and find a place that makes you feel welcome and part of something special.
I have met some of my best friends in the gym. We make eye contact and you know that they have your back without saying a word, You can do a simple nod and they know you mean business or hit a new PR.They challenge you and celebrate your success.
If you are new to the weight room, here is what you need to start to think about. First thing first is a warm up. Why should you warm up? The point of the warm-up is to literally warm the tissues in your body. The primary objectives of warming up are to Improve the ability to move without feeling stiff, increase your ability to tax your energy systems,Increase cardiac output, increase the ability for your body to move.
Next, cardio or lifting? Well let me ask you what your goals are. If your primary objective is to increase your time on running, it makes sense to focus on that first. If getting stronger, building muscle, and burning fat are your goals, lift the weights first. Why should you lift before cardio? Cardio is tiring, if your doing it right however, can be done post training. Lifting takes a ton of energy out of your body. If you do cardio first, your lifting session might not be the best therefore you will not see the necessary results your looking for.
Many people will perform LISS or low intensity steady state cardio in the gym post workout because you don't have to increase your intensity, just your duration. However, if you want to do a shorter more intense version of cardio, HIIT, high intensity interval training, would be your next best option. HIIT should be performed as a separate session from resistance training because both should be intense, and your body can only handle so much intensity at one time before it’s too much.
Lifting intensity is another important component to your fitness goals. You want to be able to lift with intensity and have time under tension.The amount of time under tension is considered your volume. Volume is measured in reps and sets not time or duration. Many times you will hear people saying 3 sets of 12 reps. Exercising at moderate-to-high intensities followed by adequate rest periods stimulates adaptations in your body. Lifting weights and HIIT do that job well.
Don't forget to take a cool down period. The end of your exercise session is a good time for stretching or self-massage techniques like foam rolling. This period of training should be used for 5-10 minutes of light movement, stretching large muscle groups, and massaging problem areas.
I hope this helps you even if your not a beginner to the gym but maybe to the weight room. There are so many things you can learn and I hope this is just the start of something great for you!