12 Fitness Tips You Should Know Before Even Breaking a Sweat


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Whether you're a power lifter or have never worked out before, there are things to know before hitting the gym or doing a home routine that will make the most of the time there -- helping you stay fueled with energy, motivated to stick to the work, and less likely to hurt yourself.

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Decide what to do with workout time before beginning. Just going to the gym and wandering aimlessly from machine to machine won't accomplish anything. A plan that takes into account which body parts need work will also help avoid overdoing certain areas, which can cause injury.

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One thing to keep in mind when making a workout plan: It doesn't feel like work if you like it. Make the time zoom past by taking into account whether you enjoy riding a bike but hate running, or love playing pickup games of basketball but hate logging time on a stair stepper machine.

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There are three body types; knowing yours is one of the things to know before working out, because fitness routine customized around a body type are more productive.

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Ectomorphs have a thin, lean, and long body type, and have a hard time gaining and keeping on weight. So they should plan three workouts a week that focus on total bodywork and aren't too heavy on cardio, which can prompt weight loss.

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Known as the "dad bod" in men, endomorphs tend to gain weight easily and carry it around the midsection. Endomorphs should plan out low-impact, continuous workouts that work large muscle groups and boost metabolism. This helps avoid injury and keep weight levels down.

Young fit couple running
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Mesomorphs tends to gain weight easily, but most weight is in muscle mass. Cardio is important to a mesomorphs' conditioning routine, and they should ideally plan three cardio sessions a week. Weightlifting is good too, but keep in mind that reps should stay down, while the amount of weight should be higher.

Senior couple lifting weights in gym
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No matter the body type, as you age workout efforts should shift from cardio to more muscle-building activities, since gaining muscle mass helps boost metabolism. Design workouts that focus on circuit training combined with lower-impact cardio.

Young man stretching in the park
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It's important to work out with the right gear and appropriate attire. Moisture-wicking, stretchy material that keeps athletes from overheating and allows proper motion is ideal. There are good options under $25.

Sporty young man starting his music for a run
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It's a fact: Workout music can increase endurance by distracting from fatigue and pain. Try Jog.fm -- an iPhone app that matches music to pace or to the length of a run -- or create a motivational playlist from a phone library or streaming service such as Google Play Music.

Closeup of a green apple with a healthy young woman in the background
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Snacking before a workout can provide the fuel to push through a tough sweat session. Try a small healthy snack an hour before working out and see how it feels. Adjust when and what's eaten depending on what works for you.

Asian woman drinking water after a jog
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Working out burns calories, but also depletes water weight. Hydrate before working out, during, and after. Start with 20 ounces of water about 30 minutes before a workout and adjust the amount and time later for subsequent sessions based on how it felt.

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No matter what type of workout is planned, the warmup is essential for success -- it preps bodies for a workout and helps prevent injury. Ten minutes of low-impact movements that increase gradually in intensity is the minimum before getting into the main part of a workout. This will save a lot of pain and cost associated with injuries. Even if pressed for time, do not skip the warmup.

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