Want to know the secrets to getting trim and toned in record time? Here’s the best advice from personal trainers, exercise physiologists and fitness instructors for the ultimate moves and motivation tricks to kick your fitness routine into high gear. Put a few of these 13 Best Workout Tips into action each week, and you’re guaranteed to see faster results!
1. Chart your progress. What a great way to stay motivated. Set goals and grade yourself A through F at least four times a year. When you see how much you’ve improved, you’ll want to stat in good shape. Photos are a great way to track your progress as well.
2. Tone up on the treadmill. Save time at the gym with 8-15 minute cadio/sculpt sessions. Hop on a treadmill while holding a 3-5 pound dumbell in each hand, then set the speed to a brisk walk. Do a one minute set each of bicep curls, shoulder presses, triceps extensions, or anything you can think of. Be creative. It’s a great upper body challenge which also gets your heart pumping. Try this 2-3 times per week. As you improve, work up to doing higher minute sets.
3. Break out the shovel. Why pay someone money to clear snow from your driveway? On top of torching 400 calories per hour, shoveling snow develops muscular endurance and power. Plus, it works different muscles in which you aren’t used to using which is always a plus. Be safe though. Don’t lift staining amounts and be sure not to lift with your back, use your knees and hips instead. You can try power cleaning your house or any household chore.
4. Trade steady-state cardio for interval training. The journey to a leaner body isn’t a long, slow march. It’s bursts of high intensity effort paired with slower, recovery efforts. 15-20 minutes of interval training performed like this can burn as many calories as an hour of traditional, steady state cardio. Plus, unlike the slow stuff, intervals can keep your body burning long after the workout ends.
5. Explode through each rep. The slow lifting trend should be confined to the eccentric, or easier portion of any exercise. During the eccentric portion, where you push, pull, jump or press, move the weight quickly it will turn on fast- twitch muscle fibers, which will make your body more athletic and train it to burn fat for fuel.
6. Use multiple joints with every move. Single joint exercises like bicep curls and triceps extensions will build build your muscles, but slowly. Unless your a bodybuilder and spend hours in the gym, get more done in less time. Switch these inefficient moves for exercises that work multiple muscles and joints. Squats will build your legs and back, a bent over row will build your biceps and your back, and a narrow- grip bench press will train your triceps while it sculpts your chest.
7. Mix your grip to do more reps. If your hands and forearms give out before your back or legs when doing dead lifts, chin ups, bent over barbell rows, or inverted rows, mix your grip while working with the hand the opposite way, meaning your back and legs will determine when you’re through with the set.
8. Lift, then do cardio. If you perform your strength training before cardio, you’ll burn more fat while you do your cardio session. It is said that weight training burns the glycogen in your muscles (carbs turn into glycogen, then is stored in the muscles). So when you perform your cardio, your body must burn body fat for energy.
9. Get explosive to add more strength. Explosive exercises involve flight- your body leaving the ground (as in a jump) or the weight flying out of your hands, as in a bench press throw. These moves also increase strength significantly. In a study, men who inclined explosive chest exercises benched five percent more than those who performed a similar routine without the ballistic moves.
10. Reduce soreness with active recovery. Resting isn’t always the best prescription for sore muscles– you’ll actually reduce pain with little activity. Metabolites in your sore areas that cause pain are dispersed and diffused by activity, and blood flow is increased to the muscle tissue, speeding recovery by up to 40 percent. Play a light game of soccer, clean the house, or go on a walk the day after the workout.
11. Sweat to your favorite workout beats. Rocking out to your favorite workout songs help you power through a challenging workout. Research shows that singing, humming, or whistling may be just as beneficial. A Belgian and German study found that making music- and not just listening to it- could impact exercise performance. People who worked out on machines designed to create music based on their efforts exerted more energy (and didn’t even know it) compared to others who used traditional equipment. Sweating to your own tune may help make physical activities less exhausting, researchers say.
12. Love your trainer. It’s very important to have an instructor who motivates you to get out the door – they’ll be your best advocate. If you look forward to seeing your favorite Pilates instructor, you’ll be more likely to hit the gym more often. Same goes for videos.
13. Muscle over mind. If you normally head to the gym after work, take notice: Mental exhaustion can make you feel physically exhausted, even when you have plenty of energy. Next time you doubt if you can push out those last 10 minutes on the stair stepper, remember you can!
14. Having proper footwear. Proper footwear is essential for any workout, especially for hitting the pavement. When the cushions get worn out it creates a harder impact.
15. Be consistent. Every bit of effort all adds up. Just be patient and consistent, and confident you’ll see positive results.
16. Set realistic goals. You shouldn’t strive for perfection or an improbable goal that can’t be met. Don’t worry if you can’t run a 5K just yet. Make a habit of jogging 15 minutes a day, and add time, distance, and speed from there.
17. Have fun. Be sure to pick an activity you enjoy doing. Swimming, walking, sports. You don’t have to dread getting fit, you should be happy.
18. Watch the clock. Your body clock, that is. Try working out at the time you have the most energy. If you’re a morning person, schedule your fitness activities early in the day; If you liven up as the day goes on, plan your activities later. Working out when you have the most energy will create better results.
19.Get inspired. A great tip to get motivated is to read blogs or web sites that show how others have been successful.
20. Go to the gym with a plan. It’s so often that people go to the gym without a plan and wind up standing around, deciding what to do next. Planning ahead can make your workouts more effective. Having a plan before heading off to the gym can make your workouts shorter and more effective.
21. Make your workouts more challenging. In order to get visible results, your workouts need to be challenging. This means as your fitness level increases, your workouts should become more intense too.
One weay to challenge yourself is to set small goals. You can use these as milestones to guide yourself as you improve. Reward yourself with a spa day or a new outfit you’ve been wanting.
22. Having the right pre and post workout snack. It’s tough to workout if your belly is full and bloated, and is also difficult if you’re starving.
Having the right pre workout snack can help you avoid these moments. Aim to eat something that’s light on your stomach, but still provides you with plenty of energy for lifting, running, and jumping. Fruits and snacks made with unrefined sugars are ideal. Combine with lean protein or a protein shake is a great idea.
23. Be realistic about the calories you’ve burned. Many people treat themselves to high calorie foods after a workout because they believe they’r just replacing the calories they’ve just burned. The truth is that it’s very difficult to burn off a 500 calorie ice cream sundae in a 1 hour workout. Find other ways to reward yourself than with food.
24. Wear the right clothes. Getting good gym clothes is a good investment. They don’t have to be costly though. Just nothing restraining. Stretching ability is key. Also, clothes that don’t chafe, ride up, or prevent your skin from breathing may help you have a more enjoyable workout as well. Additionally, the proper shoes can help to avoid injuries, especially when doing cardio.
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