There are tricks to every trade, and fitness is no exception. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, some simple new tips will help you maximize your workout benefits.
Tradies secret: wriggle your toes
During yoga’s more challenging positions we tend to tense up and grip with our toes. Sound familiar? Instead of gripping with your toes, try lifting them and transferring your weight back onto your heels. This will work to turn on the muscles in your thighs, glutes and abs to maintain balance. Yoga is aimed to workout these core muscles, and by remembering to let go of your grip and wriggle your toes, you will experience the best benefits from yoga
Beginner’s guide: Start by concentrating on what your toes are doing throughout your class. Make a note of when you start to grip, and try transferring your weight back into your heels. Begin with the easier poses such as the chair pose and once you’re comfortable become more daring.
Expert’s tip: Challenge yourself to keep your main muscle groups engaged throughout the whole lesson. You’ll be surprised to find out the muscles you didn’t know you were using.
Tradies secret: Train one side at a time
When using weight machines our mind tends to use the naturally stronger side of our body to take the bulk of the weight. To stop this favoritism, and keep your strength balanced train unilaterally, (which means one side at a time). A bonus to unilateral training is that you will engage your core to stabilize which means you’ll burn more calories and tone more of your body.
Beginner’s guide: Swap from bar weights to dumb bells. This gives your body no other choice but to work out the intended muscles.
Expert’s tip: Try swapping exercises normally designed for both sides of your body to unilateral training. E.g. Instead of regular squats, try single leg squats. If you realize one side of your body is stronger than the other, do 3-5 extra reps on the weaker side until you notice a difference
Tradies secret: Increase gradually
Long distance running requires training and practice. Although some running programs direct you to up your kilometers substantially each week, this can lead to injuries that put you back to square one. Instead, try running the same length for a few weeks. This will allow your body to adjust and build up strength and endurance. Listen to your body and increase the distance when you’re ready.
Beginner’s guide: Pick a distance and stay running that same distance for three to four weeks.
Expert’s tip: Try avoiding increasing distance and intensity at the same time.
Tradies tip: Let your emotions fly!
Exercise can be a good stress relief, but dancing is ruled by emotion. If you’re taking a zumba or any other dance fitness class, relax into the rhythm and let go of your emotions, you’ll leave feeling greatly refreshed. We’re often held back by our embarrassment during dance classes but expressing ourselves through movement can be the difference between a calorie burning workout and a half decent exercise.
Tradies secret: Use multiple muscle groups at once
Tabata can be a great calorie burn if done properly. With the potential to kill 15 calories per minute, as well as doubling your metabolic rate afterward, the pain of tabata is worth the benefits. So steer clear of isolated exercises, which only work one muscle group at a time, and get your heart rate pumping with compound exercises, which use multiple muscle groups at a time. By pushing yourself to the limit and using as many muscles at once you will burn more calories and maximize tabata’s benefits. Exercises to try during tabata include box jumps, lunge jumps, skaters or any cardio sprinting.
Beginner’s guide: Tabata usually lasts for 8 sets of 20 seconds of pushing yourself, then 10 seconds of resting or slowing down. For beginner’s start by completing only 4-6 sets at a high intensity. Tabata only works if you’re exercising at a high intensity.
Expert’s tip: Don’t let yourself get comfortable, if you finish your sets feeling like you could do more, push yourself harder.
By BB Intern Dominique Tait
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