During the start of a new year, it seems like everybody is getting committed to exercise and a better diet. The problem is, most people give up on these resolutions early on, and end up right back where they started. That’s why we’ve put together these fitness tips to keep you Fueled!
Rather than set yourself up for abandoning resolutions, take a simple approach this year by following these basic fitness tips.
Top Three Fitness Tips
1. Strength train (if you don’t already)
Lots of people skip strength training, in favor of cardio on the treadmill, bike, elliptical, and so on. Cardiovascular exercise absolutely is beneficial to the body – and is definitely necessary. But strength training provides what cardio doesn’t, and is equally important to fitness.
Strength training builds muscle, which drives metabolism, and creates a lean, toned look. Don’t worry that you will get bulky – women don’t have enough natural testosterone to get there naturally, and most men won’t work out with the intensity, duration and frequency required to become huge.
You can strength train with resistance machines, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, sandbags, resistance bands and your own body weight. Aim for targeting the major muscle groups 2-4 times each week for best results (chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulders, core, glutes, quads, hamstrings and inner/outer thighs). Typically, beginners should start with 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each exerciser; as you get stronger, you can increase the weight lifted, change the exercises or add sets or reps.
If you don’t know where to start, check resources online, hire a trainer, attend a class or try some DVDs to learn the basics. Incorporate functional moves and concentrated exercises for variety. Most importantly, stay consistent. Even if you miss a session or two, this is one fitness tip you can’t afford to ignore – with good payoff!
2. Challenge yourself
Let’s face it, exercise can be uncomfortable, and most of us don’t want to feel that way. If you are doing it correctly, exercise is difficult and requires you to work hard. Too many of us simply go through the motions, jogging on the treadmill at the same speed for the same amount of time every session. Or will slog through the same weight routine mindlessly.
To make progress, don’t be afraid of being uncomfortable. Challenge yourself and see what your body can do. You’ll get better results for it.
What to do? Add intervals to cardio workouts, where you increase the intensity and push through a set period, from 20 seconds to 2 minutes. Then recover for a set time period and do it again. Your workout will fly by and you will burn more calories.
Or increase or change your strength training routine. Work with a trainer to add variety. Take a new class to move differently and challenge your body and mind. Sign up for a race or competitive event as a motivator. Get an app that tracks what you do and recommends a little bit more.
You get the idea – don’t kill yourself in every workout, but routinely get out of your comfort zone.
3. Try something new
We are creatures of habit, but our bodies adapt to our workouts and progress eventually plateaus. Plus, doing the same thing over and over can get boring (anyone familiar with the “dreadmill?”). So make a change and do something different.
Instead of going for a walk, incorporate intervals of jogging. Join the Master’s Swim group at the gym. Sign up for a running club, or take Pilates for the first time. Ask a trainer to show you a new strength or cardio machine, and use it! Check out recommendations online for new workouts from reputable trainers. Invest in new DVDs or fitness equipment for home. Buy a new gadget, such as a heart rate monitor or fitness tracker, and see how it can alter your routine.
Cross training is key, and to get results, you need to embrace new ways to exercise.
Keep following our blog for more fitness tips throughout the year. Plus exercise plans, weekly workouts, healthy recipes and more!