17 Fitness Tips For Everyone!!
► The more inefficient your body is at it, the better!!
- This is the reason that high-intensity interval training
has become so popular. When you first start a running program, your body is not used to it, and you burn a lot of calories during your shorter runs. As you get better & your body becomes more efficient while running, you are able to run longer & faster, but your body burns less fat & less calories doing it!! For a great article about this, especially for girls, click here
. So remember... if you have gotten pretty good at a certain workout, then you are not burning as much fat & calories as you used to when you first started. You need to make it harder or change workouts!! Anaerobic exercises
such as weightlifting and sprinting are typically more effective than aerobic exercises
that you can do for a while like walking & jogging. They burn more fat, increase your metabolism more, and are more effective for sexifying
!! For more articles about high-intensity interval training
, click here
& click here
. Add HIIT to your weekly workout regimen!!
► Change up your routine!!
- Like I mentioned in my Maintaining Motivation
page, you will get really bored if you do the same workouts over & over again for a long period of time. The worst part though is that your body will adapt to your workout and your results will start to "plateau"
. You have to continually give your body something new to spark new growth & strength. That is the main focus of the very popular p90x system. The workouts change constantly so that your body never gets to adapt to what you are doing. Also by changing up your workouts, they will stay more fresh & fun, so you will be more motivated to do them. For tips to blast through a "fitness plateau"
by changing up your routine, click here
► Little changes can yield BIG results!!
- To go along with the point above, there are many ways that you can vary your current weightlifting workout to yield better results. For a great article, click here
!! Changes as simple as moving the positioning of your hands, or changing your level of incline, can totally change which muscles you are using. Changing the intensity, weight, & repetitions of your main lifts every week helps a lot too!!
► Vary your weightlifting sets!!
- If you have ever lifted weights, you have probably heard this before. Doing lower repetitions with heavier weight helps build strength & larger muscles. Doing more repetitions with a lighter weight helps build muscle endurance & definition. You can also do "pyramid sets"
which combine both. You start out doing more reps with lighter weight, and you continually get heavier weight with less reps. Combining all 3 of these options into your workout will continually work different muscles in different ways providing maximum results!!
► Keep your workouts short & intense!!
- Years ago, I would go to the gym and workout for 2-3 hours at a time. Now, I never workout for over an hour unless I am doing a bicycle race or something that takes longer. Not only do I not have 2-3 hours at a time to dedicate to working out, it's a lot more productive to spend less time working out harder with more intensity. If your workout takes longer than an hour, you either do way too much or you spend way too much time resting. The gym is for working out, & not for talking!! There is a reason that the Spartacus Workout only lasts 42 minutes. It's intense and moves very fast!! If you feel like you can do a 4th set afterwards, you need to use heavier weights!! Many people complain about not having enough time to workout. Well make your workouts more intense and they will be shorter!! You will also burn more calories & build more fat-burning muscle.
► Be productive during your workouts!!
- Just because you just finished a good set, that does not mean you should reward yourself with a rest period!! Be more productive during your workouts. In between sets, figure out something else you can do to keep your body moving, your heart rate up in the fat-burning zone, and your body burning more calories. Do a set of crunches or standing calf raises in between some of your sets. Work your abs and other mucles that you are not specifically using during your current movements. Sometimes while I am benching, I do sets of standing calf raises. Other times, I will get down on the floor & do an ab exercise, or I do jumping jacks. Keep your body moving and your workouts will be a lot more productive & efficient towards your weight-loss goals!! As another tip, be more productive while on the treadmill or out walking. Grab a light set of dumbbells and work your arms & shoulders while walking. You will burn more calories and your workout will be more fun because you don't have time to get bored.
► Don't stretch. Warm up!!
- Static stretching done just before activity can reduce your power output and increase your risk of certain injuries. Instead, perform an active warmup that gets your body ready for exercise with exercise, increasing your heart rate, firing up your nervous system, and getting your muscles used to moving. For an easy routine, perform a 5-minute warmup of basic, body weight moves - lateral slides, pushups, squats and lunges. Doing an active warm-up also will burn more calories than stretching. Stretch after your workout to help your body cool down & start the recovery process. For an article about this, click here
- This is typically not emphasized enough. Muscles repair themselves, get stronger, and recover while you are not working out. You don't necessariy have to take days completely off, but you should definitely not work the same muscles hard 2 days in a row. If I do chest & shoulders on one day, I will do back & legs on the next day. I don't do ab workouts every day either. If you continually train muscles every day without letting them recover, you will actually get weaker and workouts won't be as productive. Click for an article
- Rest & sleep can be considered two different things. Resting is mostly just not working your muscles & letting them recover. Sleep is one of the most essential elements to losing weight, getting in shape, and feeling healthy. Many people are not able to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep, but I suggest never getting less than 6. I try to get as close to 8 as possible. Most of your body's healing & recovering is done while you are sleeping. Please note that I mean good sleep, which does not include the sleep after drinking a lot!! Sleep is very important for all bodily functions & processes!! For a good article about what sleep does for your body, click here
. For an article about sleep & losing weight, click here
► Take a full week off!!
- You can actually gain more strength and muscle by periodically and strategically dialing down your strength training routine. In a study, men who cut their training volume the last week of each month increased strength by 29 percent. Like I have said before, if you continually work your muscles without allowing proper rest, you will actually start to get weaker because your muscles are being over-trained. If you are in a slump and your workouts have not been very good lately, try taking a full week off of training, That does not mean you can just be lazy and eat like crap all week though. After taking a week off, your mind & body will both be well rested, & you may even find yourself feeling stronger & looking more fit!! For an article about taking a week off, click here
► Reduce Soreness with Active Recovery!!
- Bed rest is not the best prescription for sore muscles. You'll actually reduce pain with a 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 basketball, go for a walk, or do a few simple rounds of calisthenics at home the day after a workout. Click for an article
► Focus on strength AND stability!!
- For any muscle groups, there is a few larger muscles along with many smaller "stabilizer" muscles that keep the bigger muscles stable. Make sure that your fitness routine focuses on both sets of muscles. As an example, using a barbell to do military press mostly uses your major shoulder muscles. If you do them with separate dumbbells instead, you incorporate a lot of the little stabilizer muscles to keep the weight steady during the movements. Also, situps work your abs, but doing planks work the stabilizer muscles of your core. Try using dumbbells during your lifts every now & then instead of just the barbell. If you are doing something involving a machine, try lowering the weight & doing only 1 arm or leg at a time. Like I said above, little changes can yield BIG results!! For a great article about the importance of this, click here
► Use multiple joints with every move!!
- Single-joint exercises like biceps curls and triceps push-downs will build your muscles, but slowly, and you won't burn many calories. Unless you're a bodybuilder with hours to spend in the gym, get more done in less time: Trade 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 & your back, & a narrow-grip bench press will train your triceps while sculpting your chest. Click for an article
► Quality is better than quantity!!
- Nothing irritates me more than when some guy is lifting, but he is moaning & moving his body around like he is having a seizure!! Then to top it all off, the guy usually gets done and starts flexing like he just did a great job!! haha always make sure that you practice good form & technique when lifting. Just as an example, doing curls is supposed to be an exercise for your arms and not your back, so only use your arms & don't rock back to get the weight up. 5 reps with good form are more effective for building muscle than 10 reps using terrible form. If you can't use great form, lower the amount of weight that you lose. Stopping to take weight off the bar does not make you look weak. For an article about the importance of using great form, click here
► Don't create muscle imbalances!!
- Muscle imbalances
can be created by training one set of muscles, but never training its counterpart. Some muscles are used to push & some muscles are used to pull. There are muscles in the front of your body and there are muscles in the back. As an example, if you bench and train your chest a lot, you need to equally train your back muscles by doing rows & other back exercises. Otherwise, you will be walking hunched over. If you train your quadriceps in the front of your legs, you need to train your hamstrings in the back of your legs along with your butt muscles. Muscle imbalances
are nothing but bad. Not only do they make you look really weird, they also make you very prone to injuries. For a great article about muscle imbalances, click here
► Lift & then run if you can't do them separately!!
- If you do combine your cardio workout with your resistance training workout, try to make sure you do your resistance training before your cardio workout. Some people have mixed feelings about this though, & really there is not a lot of great research that proves either theories. The best idea is to do them separately, but some people don't have enough time. As you probably know, you will be at full strength during whichever option that you choose first. Your energy will be significantly decreased for the option you pick to do last. I like to do my weightlifting workout before my cardio. During anaerobic exercises such as weightlifting, you burn most of the stored glycogen that fuels your workouts. If you do this first before your cardio, you won't have much glycogen to burn, so therefore you will be burning more stored fat, which is what you want!! For better articles about whether you should lift or do cardio first, click here
& click here
► Check out CREDIBLE websites for fitness tips!!
- Like I have said before, before I started my transformation contest, I read most of the articles and lists on Menshealth.com
. I wanted to make sure that I was setting up the best fitness plan that I could so that I could be successful & win the contest!! Feel free to do this yourself. Some of the better fitness websites available for guys are Menshealth.com
, and Mensfitness.com
. The better websites available for girls now are Womenshealthmag.com
, and Muscleandfitnesshers.com
. You will constantly find new articles related to fitness & nutrition. It's best to know what you are doing before you start, and not to just start blindly & learn from your mistakes!! Learn what you need to do by reading information from credible sources. If you are flying or going on a long road trip, purchase a magazine to read along the way. Constantly reading and learning new workout tips to try will help keep you motivated!! :)