Ten ways to max out your workout
Get the most from your gym session.
Have you been pounding the treadmill and pumping iron without much to show for it? Despite all your good intentions you might still be a long way from your fitness and physique goals. Read on for the ten ways you can get fit and stay fit. An eight pack you may not get anytime soon but you’ll definitely see your stamina improve and your frame fill out with more muscle.
Keep track of your body clock
Some early morning guys are raring to go at the crack of dawn while night owls feel their energy peak in the evening. The best time to fit in a gym session is when you’re at your most energetic. A study at the Arizona College of Medicine recommends that if you’re a morning person, schedule your fitness activities early in the day. Meanwhile, if you feel more awake as the day progresses, plan your activities in the afternoon or evening.
Set yourself realistic goals
You won’t look like Hrithik Roshan a month into your fitness regime. A body like that takes years of effort. Striving for an impossible goal is only setting you up for failure. You’re far better off focusing on improving healthy behaviors, food habits and exercise routines. Build up energy and stamina gradually. Want to run the marathon? It’s a great goal but take baby steps to start with. Begin by walking briskly for 15 minutes every day and build it up from there, adding time, distance and intensity.
Some guys are master procrastinators, putting off their gym session until it’s too late to fit in. If you’re one of them, trick yourself by hitting the gym first thing in the morning when your brain is too fuddled to think up lame excuses. This way the rest of the day can be about everything else.
Get a buddy
This is particularly useful if you need an extra push to be consistent. Choose a friend who you like and trust and who—like you—wants to get fit. Encourage each other and exercise together. Studies show that exercising together improves your chances of sticking with the routine.
Follow an effective exercise routine
After surveying 1000 certified personal trainers about the best techniques to get fit, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) came up with three suggestions.
• Strength training: Just 20 minutes a day twice a week is enough to tone the body.
• Interval training: As the term suggests, interval training involves spurts of different exercises. This could mean walking for two minutes following by running for two minutes and alternating this pattern throughout the workout.
• Cardiovascular exercise: You should ideally try and fit in 60 minutes or more of low to moderate-intensity physical activity every day. This includes brisk walking, jogging, running, swimming or even dancing.
Keep breaks to a minimum
Once you start your day’s exercise routine, don’t take breaks or keep them very brief. Stopping to chat with a friend at the next treadmill or breaking to take a phone call can all break your rhythm and mess your concentration. Try and do without a drink break, put your phone on silent and just focus on your workout.
Slow and steady does it
While doing stomach crunches, go slow and easy to make them more effective. Raising and lowering your body slowly forces the correct muscles to work hard and prevents you from cheating by using momentum to complete the move. It’s far more effective to do 20 slow crunches than 50 hurried ones. Also, don’t forget to breathe right while doing crunches or lifting weights. Breathe out when you lift into a crunch and in when you lower to get maximum benefit.
Multi-task your workout
If you’re on the stationary bike pedaling away, keep your arms busy by lifting light weights or doing arm circles. Doing two moves at once makes your workout more effective and gets you fitter faster. Better still, hop on to the cross trainer or elliptical that works both your upper and lower body simultaneously.
Check out the mirrors
Gyms are fitted with mirrors for a reason. And no, they aren’t there for you to preen and adjust your hair. Use them as a fitness barometer to check your posture when you work out. Are you slouching on the treadmill? Bending you knees while lifting weights? Check for poor form frequently and correct your moves when required.
Finally, slow and steady wins the race. Even when you faithfully follow all these guidelines there are bound to be good days and bad. Just hold on, stay patient and hang in there. The results will show soon enough.