Make a few simple changes to get more out of your workout.
Are you logging hours in the gym, but not seeing any results? It might be time to make a few small changes in your fitness habits. Here are five things you can do to improve your fitness routine.
1. Work multiple muscle groups at once.
When you work multiple muscle groups at the same time, you maximize your time and get more bang for your buck. Furthermore, these types of exercises are usually more functional and applicable to daily living. Think full-body moves such as squats and lunges—and add weights for your upper body at the same time. Another option is to perform a simple exercise such as a bicep curl while balancing on a stability ball or wobble board. Push-ups are another excellent example of an exercise that uses multiple muscles—chest, shoulders, and core. If you want to take push-ups to another level, add a stability ball.
2. Ditch the magazines.
As the saying goes, “When you do two things, you do neither.” Are you reading or running? It’s tempting to grab a magazine before you hop on the treadmill, elliptical, or bike, but it will most certainly impede your workout. We just don’t tend to work as hard when we’re catching up on the latest celebrity news. Furthermore, reading while on these machines can interfere with your form and hinder oxygen flow to the lungs (from looking down). If you really want to see results from your fitness routine, ditch the magazines and ramp up the intensity.
3. Work up a sweat.
This may seem obvious, but if you’re not working up a sweat, you’re likely not working off many calories. It’s easy to fall into a lackadaisical routine at the gym and treat it like down time, but if you want to make progress, you’re going to have to get moving and sweat. When the body heats up, it expends energy—meaning it burns calories, which is a good thing. Furthermore, sweating helps to detoxify the skin. It’s a natural and necessary process. Don’t be afraid to get your sweat on.
Your workout isn’t over the moment you walk out of the gym. It’s important to refuel within 30 minutes of exercise. After exercise, the body needs to refuel. It will pull energy from stored fat, but unfortunately, it can also pull from muscle. Eat a mix of protein and carbohydrates after a workout to ensure that your body is burning the right fuel reserves.
5. Keep track
One of the best ways to ensure that your fitness routine is effective is to keep track of your workouts. Maintain a fitness log to set goals, measure your progress, and stay accountable. If you think you could be getting more out of your workouts, start keeping track—you’ll quickly see where you can make changes.