Many people forgo lifting weights when trying to lose weight because they are unaware how to safely train.
Lifting weights play an important role in maintaining your overall health. If you've made a resolution to lose weight, find a gym and get started.
Related - How to Lose Belly Fat
Weight lifting builds muscle, burns fat, and strengthens your bones. That is, however, if you remain injury-free.
Whether you've never stepped into the gym or you have been hitting the weights for a year, let's check out 7 tips to remain injury free.
8 Ways to Avoid Gym Injuries
#1 - Save the Static Stretching for the End of Your Workouts
Static stretching stretches your muscles and creates instability in the joint.
Dynamic movements before a workout prime your body for lifting. Air squats, high-knees, and other low-impact exercises are a great choice.
Save your static for your post-workout. You can use this time to cool down and start the recovery process.
#2 - Complete Compound Lifts First
Injuries occur in the gym when we are careless, fatigued, or try to ego lift.
Start with the big compound lifts before doing other exercises. Your nervous system will be primed and ready to smash the weights, so save the small stuff for the end.
Doing bicep curls before squats (you do squat, right?) burn up energy and waste precious moments that you could be spending making actual gains.
#3 - Get More Sleep
Sleep is the best recovery tool. While many people think sleeping is when your body shuts down, it actually gets to work.
When you sleep, your body prioritizes functions like repairing muscle tissue, digesting, and repairing your weakened nervous system.
Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night if you want to stay injury-free. Your physical and mental performance are affected otherwise.
#4 - Stay Active Outside of the Gym
Recovery is the most important role in staying injury-free. Just because you have a rest day doesn't mean you should sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix.
Incorporating low-impact, low-intensity exercises into your routine like riding a bicycle or taking a walk will improve recovery.
#5 - Eat Plenty of Nutritious Fats
Eating nutritious fats allow your body to maintain a proper hormone balance.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, walnuts, spinach, and flaxseed manage your body's inflammatory response, which means quicker recovery times and healthier joints.
Fats are extremely calorie and nutritionally dense, be sure to read the labels so you know how many calories you are adding to your diet.
#6 - Eat More Real Food
If your fridge and pantry are full of boxes, canned goods, and frozen meals, start buying real food.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing more satisfying than eating Kraft Mac and Cheese or chowing down on some Oreos, except when you see how bad it affects you.
A juicy steak, a burger that you've made, or even a plank of salmon are all healthier than that highly-processed sugar-laden box food that we love.
Recreate your favorite box meal dinners with real food; it will taste better and get the nutrition you need.
#7 - Listen to Your Body
If there is a certain exercise that just doesn't agree with your body, don't do it.
Before you completely cut that exercise out, make sure you are properly performing it. I always hear how squats hurt someone's knees but I watch them quarter squat on the Smith machine; it just doesn't make sense.
If your shoulder is tweaking today when barbell bench pressing, switch up to dumbbells or a machine for the day.
Learning how to listen to your body will keep you injury-free and teach you what you need to do to accomplish your fitness goals.
#8 - Slowly Progress
Many elite lifters will tell you trying to gain 10 pounds on their bench could take a year.
If you are just starting in the gym, take the time to learn proper form and start from the bottom. Strive to add five pounds to the bar every week and enjoy the process.
There's no reason to jump from a 135 bench and start trying to tackle 225; you'll likely burn out before you make it, or you will snap something up.
Wrapping It Up
Staying injury-free needs to be a priority for your fitness journey.
You can't make progress if you are laid up, so take the time to refuel with proper nutrition and get plenty of sleep.
Slowly replace foods and unhealthy habits with healthier choices; the "side effect" of making healthier choices is losing weight.