Maximize your workout
Our lives can get pretty hectic. Between family responsibilities and work, it can seem almost impossible to fit exercise into our schedule. The only solution? To maximize our workouts and get every ounce of benefit from them in the time we do have available. Here are five exercise tips to show you how to get the most from your workouts.
Exercise tip #1. Know what you want to do
Why it's important: If you've scheduled a workout, it's important to plan how your workout will go. Do you feel like cardio or do you feel like focusing on strength training? Going into the gym or your workout with a game plan will ensure you don't waste time thinking about what you want to do.
Want to know more? Take this What's your workout style quiz.
Exercise tip #2: Pump up the intensity
Why it's important: By increasing the intensity of your workout or adding intervals, also known to boost your calorie-fighting power, you'll increase your muscle tone and burn fat faster than you would if you just trekked on the treadmill at the same pace for the duration of your workout.
How to do it: An efficient way to increase the intensity of your workout is to do an activity that combines cardio and resistance training. For example, do 10 minutes of cardio to warm up, one to two strength-training exercises, 10 minutes of cardio, one to two strength-training exercises, so on and so forth, alternating cardio and resistance training during your workout session. This type of training will keep your heart rate up for a cardio boost while pumping up your muscles to get you toned and improve your strength, not to mention metabolism.
Exercise tip #3: Eat wisely
Why it's important: One of the only ways to ensure your workout is intense (and that you won't stop because of fatigue in the middle of it) is to fuel up at least an hour before you start to sweat. Not only will a pre-workout snack give you energy to get through the workout, your tissues will also recover faster post-workout (meaning you'll feel even less fatigued once you're done and you'll better ensure your muscles can repair and regenerate efficiently).
What should you eat? Try these foods to fuel your workout energy.
Exericse tip #4: Warm-up all day
Why it's important: Stretching and warming up your muscles is an absolute must. The problem? After sitting in an office chair all day, tense muscles may take longer to limber up. The solution? Stretch and keep your muscles moving throughout the day so your pre-workout warm-up and stretch is a little easier. You won't feel as stiff and getting into your workout won't feel as difficult. Taking mini-breaks to stretch throughout the day is also a great way to relieve stress physically and mentally.
What should you do? Try these dynamite desk-side yoga poses.
Exercise tip #5: Mix it up
Why it's important: Our muscles get used to the stress and movements of a certain workout after only two weeks, so doing the same thing consistently will eventually thwart your efforts at getting an effective workout. The best idea? Switch up your routine every two to three weeks. If you're into running, hop on the elliptical machine. If you've been doing the same strength-training exercises, change the order in which you do them or switch them up with new exercises targeting the same muscle groups.
What should you try? Get faster and fitter with speed drills.