As great as you might feel after you've lost several pounds and become fitter after numerous months of gym work outs, there's likely to be at least a few times after a session when you feel like your body is battered and bruised.
Fortunately, this is a feeling that is particularly easy to navigate around and it simply requires for you to abide by five straightforward rules.
1. Eat before you exercise - although it's not recommended to eat, for example, a McDonald's Big Mac meal just before you head into the gym, it is advised that if you want to get the most from your session, you eat a meal full of carbohydrates around an hour before you exercise.
Simply put, carbs give you energy and therefore the more carbs you can consume and digest before you work out, the more energy you'll have during your session.
2. Drink water throughout - if you're pushing yourself to your limits, whether that's in London gyms or whilst cycling around your local countryside, it's important to drink plenty of water to ensure that you don't feel tired and lethargic and reduce the likelihood of you collapsing due to dehydration, something which is particularly common as people forget that they need to replace the fluids that their losing due to sweating.
3. Always stretch beforehand - stretching before you start exercising is imperative to ensuring that you don't cause yourself damage during your workout session.
The reason why you need to stretch properly and could cause yourself an injury if you don't is due to the fact that your muscles are likely to only be adjusted to the movements you've made so far during the day and are not prepared for the more intense movements of a gym workout.
Therefore, if you can spend 10 minutes stretching the muscles you're going to be working out, you'll find that you don't suffer from problems such as cramps or stitches.
4. Don't forget to cool down afterwards - after an intense workout session, the last thing you might feel like doing is spending 10 minutes walking on the treadmill or swimming a few lengths in the gym's pool.
However, if you factor this into your workout time, you'll find that it soon becomes something that you take as the norm - and the benefits you'll receive are immense, as your muscles will be able to slowly get used to not having the extra blood being pumped to them, rather than it being an immediate effect.
5. Take your time - one of the most important points to consider when exercising is that you need to always take your time and go at your own speed.
Just because the person next to you on the treadmill seems to be trying to beat Hicham El Guerrouj's time for one mile in 3 minutes and 43 seconds, it doesn't mean that you have to keep up.
As long as you're comfortable with your progression and feel that you're achieving something each week, just stick to what you're doing.