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.
MAKE A PLAN
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.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
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.
KNOW YOUR BODY TYPE
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.
ECTOMORPHS SHOULD SKIP THE CARDIO
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.
ENDOMORPHS SHOULD GO SLOW AND STEADY
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.
MESOMORPHS MUST KEEP CARDIO IN THE MIX
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.
MATCH WORKOUTS TO AGE
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.
PUMP UP THE VOLUME
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.
HAVE A SNACK
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.
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.
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.