So you’re going to start working out — good! Regular exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, and hitting the gym is a fantastic way to burn some calories and improve your overall health while building muscle and taking steps toward creating the body that you want. Of course, to newcomers, the gym can be an intimidating place. It seems to have its own rules and rituals, and it can be tough to know how to truly maximize the merits of your exercise time. That’s why we’re here to help: here’s the workout plan you needed.

Getting Started: Choosing a Gym and Setting Goals

There are lots of things that you can do to get the absolute most out of your exercise time. But more important than any individual ritual or supplement, of course, is the simple commitment to actually putting in the work! You should absolutely take some time to think about how to get the most out of your workouts, but don’t be intimidated: the truly important thing here is to turn exercise into a habit and stick with it.

Your Workout Plan

A great way to make your exercise habits stick is to set goals. The key in setting goals is that they should be balanced: ambitious, but also realistic, say experts at a leading fitness center in Flemington, NJ. If you set unrealistic goals, you may become frustrated when you don’t reach them — or you could exhaust yourself by overworking things early. As a beginner, consider setting goals related to your commitment itself: try to go to the gym a certain number of times per week, for instance, and stay there for a certain length of time. Start with a limited number of basic exercises for major muscle groups. Then, as you get familiar with your strengths and weaknesses, start setting strength- and weight-related goals as needed. Remember to make them specific and measurable!

The Basics: Scheduling and Life Outside the Gym

Working out a gym is great exercise, but it’s also tiring. It’s tempting to imagine that succeeding at the gym is simply a matter of working out as hard as you can for as long and as often as you can, but hold your horses: you need a strategy, and the fact of the matter is that pacing and scheduling, as well as your lifestyle outside of the gym, can be key to your in-gym success.

You can exercise harder and more often with the right nutritional choices, but even professional athletes take time to rest. One way to maximize your gym time while still giving your muscles a break is to alternate or rotate through muscle groups: work arms and chest on one day, for instance, and then legs on the next. If you schedule your workouts with muscle groups in mind, you can hit the gym more often without exhausting or hurting yourself.

Your life outside of the gym matters enormously, too. You can’t out-work a terrible diet: only pro athletes eat like Michael Phelps, and even they are careful about what they eat. It would be nice if a hard gym workout gave us a license to eat unlimited candy, but it doesn’t! Eat healthy, focus on whole foods, and get plenty of protein.

Your Gym-Day Ritual: Supplements and More

A healthy daily diet will go a long way toward preparing you for a great workout, but there are also some workout-specific supplements you should consider. Generally, these supplements fall into three categories: pre-workout, mid-workout, and post-workout.

A good pre-workout, like a mesomorph pre workout, is designed to fuel your upcoming workout. Look for supplements with carbs, and try to find one that makes you feel energetic without filling you up. A mid-workout supplement works similarly. Don’t forget to stay hydrated during your workout, either — water might be the best mid-workout aid there is. Finally, a post-workout supplement is focused on muscle recovery. Protein is key at this stage, which is why simple whey protein supplements are among the most popular options here.

Taking It to the Next Level

Simply making the commitment to go to the gym — and following through, of course — will help you become healthier. Paired with healthy living at home (focus on diet and sleep), it can help you feel and look better fast. Throw in smart scheduling and supplements, and you’ll be well on your way!

Of course, there’s still more that you can do — so don’t stop here! As you grow comfortable with the basics, keep reading and researching to bring your workout scheduling specifics and nutritional/supplement game to the next level. Good luck!

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