You can make the exercises you do during the week count for a lot, if you put a little creativity behind your efforts.
A regular fitness routine will jumpstart your metabolism, increase your fitness level and help you lose weight.
Here are nine fitness tips that will provide the foundation for success:
1. Enlist the help of a friend
Schedule a block of time each week to meet with a friend and go on a hike, bike ride or walk. The accountability will help you stick the activity, plus you’ll get enjoyment out of spending time with a friend. Make sure you choose a workout buddy that will support your goals, not hinder them.
2. Start slowly
There’s nothing like sore muscles or injuries to derail your fitness plan. Prevent injury and ease muscular soreness by starting your fitness regimen slowly. Even if you start slowly, you may still get sore. One tip to speed recovery is to stimulate your circulation, which reduces inflammation. Prevent pain and promote optimal circulation with a recovery program.
Professional athletes use ice baths to reduce swelling after a tough practice. This impractical approach will help you deal with sore muscles, but you can achieve the same results in your own shower.
Start the shower at a warm temperature, and sit under the water for about a minute. Then, switch the temperature to as cold as you can stand for 10-20 seconds. Then, switch it back to warm, and then cold again. Always end with cold.
This will stimulate your circulation to move the blood through your body, reducing soreness and speeding recovery so you can get right back to finding your fitness. This is a treat for your muscles, and it will get your blood flowing, too.
3. Get the right gear
Wearing an old pair of sneakers or uncomfortable fitness wear, or using a bike that hasn’t been tuned up in ages will all work against fitness success. Find a local outfitter that specializes in the type of fitness you’re taking part in, who can help with gear selection.
The type of shoes you wear is super important for promoting good alignment during exercise and preventing injuries. They should be comfortable out-of-the-box, and appropriate for the type of fitness you’ll be doing.
Running shoes won’t work for boxing and tennis shoes won’t work for running. If you want your fitness to be sustainable over time, you have to make smart investment in your gear.
Workout clothing should allow you to move freely and not feel self conscious. Make sure your bouncy parts are well supported – without cutting off the circulation to your back (a great way to grow back fat).
Take your bike into the local bike shop and get a tune-up, and make sure you have up-to-date safety gear.
4. Know when to hit the scale
The numbers on the scale are generally meaningless. They don’t tell you how much fat you have or how fit you are. So ditch it, and focus on body awareness and how you feel as an indicator of how you’re progressing in your fitness quest.
Can you run faster or walk farther? Lift more weight, or balance better? Trade meaningless numbers for meaningful goals. If you really want to follow a number, find a practitioner that can test how much body fat percentage and lean body mass you have, as fat goes down, lean mass should go up. Then you know you’re on the right track.
Or dig out a pair of jeans that are one size too small for you now, and make it a goal to feel comfortable in them again. This too will increase your body awareness. Once those jeans fit, make sure you donate the larger ones, because you’ll never wear those again!
5. Learn when to exercise
If you want to make the most of the boost in your metabolism, do not work out to correct a calorie binge: Workout in anticipation of one.
Because of a phenomenon called the “afterburn” effect, your metabolism naturally remains high for hours after your workout. If you know that you’ll be indulging in some extra calories, the best approach is to exercise in the hours before you consume a treat, rather than working it off the next morning or later in the day. Once those extra calories are consumed, they get stored as fat, which is much more difficult to get rid of.
Also, always associating your fitness pursuits with guilt for over-indulging will make you loathe exercise –instead of the feeling you get for being proactive. I bet, too, that you’ll be less likely to overindulge if you’ve just put forth the effort and feel good and healthy about yourself. Just make sure that you don’t show up to the feast starving by having a snack in between your workout and the special occasion.
6. Fuel up
You’ll get more out of your workouts if you provide your body with the right fuel.
Be sure that your pre-workout meal includes a small amount of healthy carbohydrates, protein and even fat. If you don’t fuel your workout, you won’t have the adequate energy required to become more fit.
Depriving yourself before a workout to achieve a larger calorie deficit will only backfire and send a message to your body to hold onto energy reserves – aka FAT! So fuel up for fitness.
7. Keep track
Nowadays there are so many options to log your exercise both privately and publicly. These tracking tools remind you how far you’ve come over time with your fitness, which positively reinforces how hard you’ve been working.
Some will prefer to keep their goals personal, but sometimes, having a community of like-minded and supportive fitness seekers is just the thing to keep you extra inspired and progressing.
You can’t lose fat if you aren’t well hydrated.
Basically, when you aren’t flushing your waste through your kidneys, your liver will be too busy detoxifying your body to care about getting rid of those saddlebags. This is one of the most simple “to-do” aspects of weight loss, and optimal health for that matter. In the words of a famous footwear brand, “Just do it”!
So how much is enough? And when? Instead of using volume, I prefer to use your trips to the bathroom to gauge hydration. If you’re adequately hydrated, you should be hitting the loo once an hour and your urine should be clear. Anything else means, Drink more water!
Also, as a rule, I always down a 20 oz bottle of water within the half hour before exercising. Bottoms up!
9. Mix it up
Variety is the spice of fitness!
Changing up your fitness, both over time, as well as during each workout, will not only keep things fun, but you’ll get better results in a shorter amount of time. Within each workout session, make sure to alternate your intensity between slow, steady movements and higher-energy movements.
Think of it as providing “book ends” to your workout. This actually exercises your metabolism and makes it stronger. Many fitness classes are already designed like this, but if you’re on your own, start out at a slow to moderate pace at the beginning. Then, ramp it up to faster running or walking, and drop it back down to a slower pace to finish up.
You can employ this formula with strength training as well. Mixing up your fitness activities over time will keep you engaged and stimulate your body to reach beyond plateaus.
I generally encourage clients to stick with a fitness activity for at least a month before switching so that they can more easily see the fitness changes that occur over a month. But if you choose to do a couple different fitness activities within the course of your week, that’s beneficial too by making fitness fun. Just make sure that you still stick with those for a month. After a month, you can shake it up again.
With these nine savvy fitness tips, you’ll increase your fitness level and get more bang from your efforts. Find out how The Well Path program can power your energy levels, help you look and feel younger, and decrease your metabolic age.
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