Whether you're brand new to regular workouts or you just need a boost to keep your momentum strong, these workout tips can help keep you motivated and on target. Use them to boost the effectiveness of your exercise time, no matter if that's at home, at the gym, or outdoors.
Exercise With a Friend
When you always exercise alone, it may be tempting to pass up your workout due to a myriad of excuses.
Working out with a friend or partner adds some accountability to your life. Plus, you may find you enjoy exercise more when you don't do it all by yourself.
You might be surprised by the positive impact imagery can have on your desire to exercise. If you find yourself reluctant to head to the gym after a long day at work, try this:
- Close your eyes and take a couple deep breaths.
- Visualize yourself walking into the gym, feeling confident and strong.
- Imagine yourself crushing your workout.
- Think about the positive feelings of accomplishment you'll feel after completing your workout.
People who visualize succeeding beforehand are more likely to feel good about heading to a workout despite a long day.
Replenish lost fluids with plenty of water. You will need more water than usual if you're exercising.
Sip - but don't guzzle - water throughout your workout and after. Even a small loss of water balance within your body can put a strain on your heart and diminish your cognitive and physical abilities.
The Pillars of Fitness
Everyone Should Lift Weights
Women, if you don't lift weights because you're afraid of "bulking up," you're missing out on a prime calorie-burning activity. Muscle tissue not only burns more calories than fat tissue, even at rest, it also takes up less space.
Slow and steady should be your mantra when lifting -- use your muscles, not gravity or momentum to move those weights.
You will probably be sore after you work out - especially if you haven't worked out in a long time (or ever). It's also likely that soreness will show up a day or two after you work out. Tips to avoid it/deal with it:
Mix it Up
Don't let boredom derail your regular workout plans. Instead of performing the same routine day after day, mix things up.
Use whatever is available, like a park bench, and incorporate it into your fitness program. Head outside when the weather's nice. Use gallon milk jugs for weights. Most of all, be creative!
Keep it Balanced
A series of working out tips should include a balanced exercise program. Don't only work out your upper half; your lower half needs strength training, too.
Likewise, you should train both sets of complementary muscle groups: biceps and triceps, quads and hamstrings, pecs and trapezius.
Try Different Workouts
Many people find that when they have fun while exercising, it doesn't feel like a chore.
Dancing and playing sports are two great ways to burn calories, but provide a lot of fun at the same time.
Don't Forget to Fuel
Even if you're trying to lose weight through exercise, you still need to eat. Nutrient-rich food is better for your body than empty-calorie junk. Enjoy a post-workout snack and consume a meal that contains complex carbs and protein within 90 minutes of your routine.
The better you fuel your body, the better your performance and more rapid your recovery from exercise.
Body Weight Exercises
Don't discount the benefit of body weight workouts like yoga and Pilates. Lean muscle can be built with these types of workouts.
While these workouts can help decrease stress, the benefit of lean muscle can't be overstated. More calories burned, increased flexibility, and injury prevention are all among the benefits of these types of workouts.
Measurements Over Scales
While it's likely you want to work out in order to lose weight, the truth is that most people see body changes long before they see the scale move.
It's important to not get discouraged if the scale doesn't budge. Instead, take measurements of your body in order to track your progress. If it's simply a drop in pounds you want, dietary changes will be needed.
Slow and Steady
If you can't lift heavy weights, try lifting lighter weights slowly.
Strength can be obtained - even in elderly people - by lifting weights at a very slow pace. Try an eight count up, eight count down. You may be surprised by how challenging it is, even with light weights.
Figure out what keeps you motivated. Is it a new workout outfit every time you achieve a NSV (non-scale victory)? Is it a new fitness gadget with every 5 pounds of muscle gained? Or perhaps you do well with daily positive affirmations.
Whatever motivates you, repeat it again and again. It won't be long until you don't need the prodding of a reward to compel you to exercise because it will simply become a habit.