Getting in shape is one of the greatest things you can do to improve the quality of your life. Although, if you’ve been at it for a while, then chances are you aren’t seeing progress as fast as you were in the beginning.
The problem we encounter as we get in better shape is that our bodies have adapted to the new demands that we have put on them, and as a result we have to put more effort in to continue to get results. But many of us don’t have more time to focus on our health, so what can you do? You can try these 5 tips to get more out of your workout.
Time your rest intervals
When strength training, a lot of focus goes into getting the right amount of weight for the exercise, which is definitely a good thing to focus on. What gets forgotten though is how long we need to rest between sets. Generally people tend to give it another go when they feel like it, but this doesn’t force your muscles to adapt to anything new.
So next time you are getting some resistance training done, remember to keep a stopwatch with you. Time out your intervals to around 1 minute between sets if you are just getting used to it, and 30 seconds if you are more advanced. This may seem short, but it puts a lot more strain on your muscles, which is just what you’re looking for.
Use more weight than you normally would
Most people know that if you are trying to get in shape you are going to have to keep adding more resistance to your workout, but you can take things a step farther if you have fallen into a plateau. Add more weight than you are used to but do less reps.
The common thought is that 8-12 reps is the ideal, however there are plenty of people out there getting great results in the 4-6 range. This is great for two reasons, one you spend much less time actually lifting, and two it pushes your body harder. Just make sure to keep good form to avoid injury.
Try a different exercise
It’s hard to imagine getting into any kind of reasonable shape without a good routine, but your workout can become stale. A great way to both make it a little more interesting and a lot more effective, is to mix up what exercises you are doing.
For example, if you usually use the bench press to work out your chest, then switch to dumbbell flys, or if you use the leg press machine, then try doing some squats. The little changes in the way your muscles have to work does wonders for causing new growth.
Use free weights
Free weights tend to get ignored by a lot of people using the gym, and really it’s a shame. There’s a reason they’ve been around for hundreds of years, because quite frankly they work! You may not realized just how effective they are until a few weeks of using them, but trust me on this you are not going to regret picking them up.
The reason they are so effective comes from the fact that in order to use them you have to use muscles that otherwise take a back seat when using a machine. These stabilizer muscles are forced to do a lot of extra work when lifting something that isn’t stuck in a rigid structure, which of course stimulates more strength gains.
Incorporate HIIT in your cardio
If you are looking for the big hitter to lose a couple of pounds then this is it. HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is gaining more and more traction as the go to for weight-loss and muscle building, and there are plenty of good reasons why. First it takes a lot less time.
15 minutes of HIIT can easily match the pace of a half hour of solid state cardio. It also gets better results, because it increases hormone production. Human growth hormone, testosterone, and adrenaline, are all great at stripping extra pounds from your body, and HIIT increases the production of all of them.
That’s right, it literally sends your body the signal that it’s time to burn fat, and fast. On top of that it does wonders for increasing your cardio vascular health too! Really if you’re looking to save time and get better results, then you have to try this.
Looking for more tips, tricks, and hacks to fitness? Check out the author of this article, Robert Sullivan’s blog- I Am So Sick of Dieting! He’s lost over 100 pounds and kept it off for years, and now he’s sharing his secrets.