You are committed to living a healthy and active lifestyle and are using the gym. It’s easy to feel lost or confused when putting together an exercise plan. This feeling can become discouraging and lead to you not using your membership. Instead, follow these 10 tips to keep things interesting and you’ll stay motivated and on track with your fitness routine.
1. Watch the clock.
Workouts often suffer from too much time spent chit-chatting and too many trips to the water fountain. Short, intense workouts offer the best results. Grab a stopwatch and use it to tell you when it’s time to work and time to rest.
2. Superset strength and cardio.
People often think of strength training and cardio as two separate beasts, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Adding a cardio interval such as jumping rope, or 20-second sprints will rev the metabolism while still allowing for added strength.
3. Skip the machines.
While exercise machines do make resistance training user-friendly, they simply do not get the job done like free-weight exercises. Lifting with free weights will incorporate more stabilizing muscles. The same can be said for body weight exercises, which can be more effective for core strengthening and calorie-burning than workouts done on machines.
4. Add instability.
Exercises that require balance stimulate more muscle recruitment, specifically core muscles, than the same exercise done in a stable position.
5. Add resistance.
Try implementing this rule of thumb: Keep adding weight (in small 2-5 lbs. increments) to an exercise until achieving three sets of 10 reps becomes very challenging (as in almost impossible to squeeze out the final rep!). Practice with that weight until 10 reps become too easy and then add a few more pounds of resistance.
6. Complete the circuit.
Quickly moving from one exercise right to the next is a great way to create a time-efficient, cardio-focused workout. When setting up a circuit, be sure to slot exercises that target different muscle groups back-to-back to avoid burnout.
7. Aim for failure.
Failure occurs when a muscle is so spent it can’t complete one more repetition of an exercise while maintaining proper form. Research suggests training to failure can increase strength and improve the body’s ability to build lean muscle. Beginners: Be sure to try this one with a trainer first to ensure proper safety.
8. Write it down.
Remembering every exercise, every repetition, and every weight selected during a previous workout is nearly impossible; documenting it will keep you on track.
9. Find a partner.
People who have an exercise partner are more likely to get active and stay active than those doing it on their own. Finding a workout buddy instantly increases the accountability factor and provides increased motivation to work harder during an exercise session.
10. Make it social.
Social support gained through vocalizing health and fitness goals increases the likelihood of those goals being achieved. So make a few goals public with friends, family, or anyone else who will listen, and then get it done!