Whether you’re new to the gym scene or have been going there for ages, there are certain “rules” you want to abide by in order to achieve the greatest results. Here are three of them that will help you get fit and make your time spent sweating it out as effective as it can be:

Rule #1: Hit the Big Weights First

In order to get the most out of your strength training workout, you want to hit the big weights first. This allows you to have the strength you need to lift them properly, whereas if you fatigue your body using the lighter weights at the beginning, you might not have the energy you need to engage in resistance training without compromising your form. Essentially, this means that you’ll want to work your major muscle groups (your chest, back, core, and thighs) before moving on to your smaller ones (your biceps, calves, and such).

Rule #2: Do Your Cardio Second

Your body will respond more effectively when you begin your workout doing your strength training and then transfer into your cardio. You’ll burn more fat and calories and get your body warmed up and ready for the activity it will endure as you take your heart rate higher and higher. If you are to do your cardio first, you’ll still get some benefit from strength training, but you won’t be able to lift the weights you’re capable of lifting due to the fatigue.

Rule #3: Always Warm-Up and Cool-Down

Although it can be tempting to skip a proper warm-up and cool-down, doing so puts you at a higher risk of injuries because your body isn’t ready for physical activity. So, you want to dedicate 5-10 minutes both before and after your workout to engage in light cardio and stretching for the best fitness effect.

Follow these three rules and your gym experience will be the best it can be, getting you closer to your goals than ever!