Pumping iron makes you look and feel better, a one, two punch that is hard to beat. Of course, you need to combine weights with cardio and a sound nutritional program for a fool proof plan that builds mass, burns fat, and improves cardiovascular health.  The popularity of working out has hit an all time high as evidence shows by the sheer number of gym memberships sold each year. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time or the energy to spend endless hours in the gym. Here are a few tips to help you fit the safest, most effective and enjoyable workouts into your day! 

So, you’ve made it to the gym after one hell-of-a-day on the job. Excellent! But that’s not enough. You need a plan that is in line with some of the basic goals that you have for your body. Simply lifting weights without a strategy is analogous to listening to someone speak, but not paying attention to what they’re saying. A few bicep curls here, a bench press there, and never doing your legs or cardio won’t help you obtain the body you want. Working out in this manner will more than likely make you bored and frustrated, and you will quit. When you join a gym, or even if you are already a member, hit up one of the staff or trainers to take measurements. Find out what your target heart rate is for effective cardiovascular training.  Know what muscle groups you are going to train on which days and keep a record of the weight that you lift. Learn a variety of different exercises for each muscle group.  

Always pay attention to proper form when you are working out if you want to avoid injury and secure the best gains. Muscles contract and shorten to overcome resistance and create motion. A concerted effort must be made to concentrate on the muscle group you want to handle these chores. Simply put, squeeze the muscle as hard as you can during the shortening (concentric or positive) phase, then maintain considerable tension as you allow the muscle to return to its initial position (eccentric or negative) portion of the rep. Remember to breathe in during the easier part of the motion and breathe out during the hardest part.  

Enjoy your time in the gym, but make sure to be considerate of others. Guys who spit in the drinking fountain, dudes who refuse to flush, and jerks who talk on their cell phones while holding a piece of equipment hostage make it miserable for everyone. Bring a towel and wipe your sweat off the machinery. Wear flip-flops in the shower and wet areas. Be neat in the stalls and urinals and remember to flush. Wash your hands frequently during work outs. Remember, the equipment and locker room are for everyone to utilize and enjoy.