1) Warm up – If you don’t warm up properly or at all then start. Gradually wake up your heart and lungs so you get your blood pumping around the body before you do an intense part cardio workout.
Warm up your joints and muscles before resistance training so your joints move more efficiently and your muscles contract and extend better. Not only will your workout feel easier, but your body will perform better giving you faster results – without injury.
2)Step up your cardio – Are you guilty of day dreaming on the bike, reading on the cross trainer or holding on to the treadmill handles? Make your cardio count. To keep focused and working hard set workout goals.
On the bike, increase your level every 20 seconds whilst maintaining speed as if you are climbing up a hill… then decrease every 20 seconds. Repeat for your allotted time. On the cross trainer, alternate 2 minutes forward, 2 minutes back.
On the treadmill, interval train by walking 1 minute, running 1 minute and if you don’t run at least walk up a hill.
3) Increase your reps – Your body wants to run away from what feels uncomfortable. It’s up to your mind to stop it.
When performing a set of squats or any exercise, wait until you feel the burn THEN start counting 10 more reps – without stopping. It’s the last few reps of a set that make the biggest difference to your body.
4)Add a new exercise – If you are getting bored with your workout you will get complacent about intensity. Moreover, if your body does the same old thing time after time it is not being stimulated and will not adjust and improve the way you want it to. Keep mixing it up for the best results.
5)Reduce rest – You can step up your intensity by reducing your rest time between exercises. This will keep your heart pumping and your muscles feeling the burn, turning your strength session into both a huff and puff and toning workout. Move quickly between exercises taking only the transition time to rest. The added bonus is you get through your workout faster.
6) Focus on your weak spot – Which aspect of your fitness is your Achilles heel – your cardio, strength, or flexibility?
Chances are you avoid doing it. What part of your body bothers you the most – your butt, arms, or tummy? Chances are you try to cover it up. For a month put extra emphasis on your weak spot – and be pleasantly surprised by the results.
7) Stretch it out – Better to do some more exercise than waste time stretching, right? Think again.
A post workout stretch returns your muscles to their pre-exercise length helping develop long lean muscles. It also prevents you walking around all stiff the next day, which neither looks nor feels good.
By Rachel Livingstone Personal Trainer & Owner of The Health Hub
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