[Fabulous Fitness Post] – Three Ways to Maximize Your Workouts at the Gym and Really Take it up a Notch
I thought it would be beneficial to share what I do at the gym that really makes an impact and allows for me to continue to achieve aesthetically pleasing results (or in other words keeps me in shape). These are principles that I actually didn’t start to really incorporate until about 3-4 months ago, but ever since I did, it truly made a world of difference. Please keep in mind that I realize everybody has a different body type and different fitness goals, so all of this also has to be taken into consideration. These are all personal things that have worked for me (and that I hope will work for you)!
1- Change your workout everyday – I’m sure many people go to the gym and find themselves utilizing the same machines or gravitating towards the things they already know. Well guess what? You’re not challenging yourself enough! In order for a workout to be effective (again, if you’re looking to achieve results which I would hope most of you are trying to do), you really need to strive to keep the body guessing at all times. You really want to challenge different muscle groups on a daily basis or switch up your daily cardio routines.
Once I really practiced this principle, I noticed results almost instantly (by that I noticed I was in better physical shape) and will continue to work towards achieving results. I honestly really try to train my body like an athlete (even though I’m far from one, whoever said that I can’t strive to look like one! ;))
The other day I actually created a circuit for myself of multi-jointed sculpting moves (meaning that the exercise challenges more than one muscle group at a time…very important and time effective!) that either I had never done before or that I have picked up from a fitness class but had not performed in awhile. The ENTIRE circuit was new for my body. The next day, I felt some minor soreness and I actually craved that my body needed an extra hour of sleep.
2- Increase the intensity - This principle really varies depending on what you’re doing. If you’re lifting weights, you can intensify it by increasing the weights little by little. If you’re running on a treadmill, you may want to intensify the workout by adding an incline (which is much more challenging than running on a flat surface) or increasing the speed.
Regardless, it’s essential to focus on the intensity of your workouts. If you’re floating on an elliptical machine for an hour and not even catching yourself out of breath, the intensity level is obviously not high enough meaning you need to find a way to push yourself harder.
Also keep in mind that the QUALITY of your workout counts more than the QUANTITY. You can accomplish a lot within a half hour given that it’s a very intense half hour. Your body is going to greatly benefit from a more intense workout versus a long workout that isn’t physically challenging the body whatsoever.
3- Mix boosts of cardio with body sculpting moves - When working out, they say you cannot focus on just cardio, nor just strength training. This is because both benefit the body in completely different ways.
Strength training (or lifting weights, resistance training, etc.) will actually change the shape of your body over time because you’re essentially sculpting your body by building muscle tone and creating a more defined physique. You cannot run on a treadmill or hop on an elliptical everyday and expect the body to just magically tighten up. (That’s where strength training comes in).
However, when it comes to burning calories, you will definitely burn more calories during a session of cardio than you would with the same exact amount of time spent lifting weights (unless perhaps you are power lifting or performing an exceptionally low intensity cardio workout). Also with cardio, you are building up your endurance and your overall cardiovascular conditioning level. If you get out of breath from walking up a flight of stairs, this means that you’re at a weak conditioning level and this could be improved over time by consistent cardio workouts.
Now to really BOOST your workout, if you can find a way to mix cardio alternating it with strength training exercises (such as sprinting for a few minutes followed by a set of push-ups or lifting a set of free weights), you’re really taking your workouts to the next level.
[Do you have other great working out tips that you find to be effective?]