When it comes to exercise we all have similar goals: we want to lose weight, build muscle, and live a healthy lifestyle. Fortunately, getting fit and looking lean might be easier than you think. Start by creating a workout routine that features cardiovascular exercise and strength training, fueled by healthy, nutritious foods.
Begin each workout with a quick warm-up. However, don’t waste your time and energy with an outdated warm-up routines like the typical side-bends and toe-touches. Rather, devote eight to ten minutes to a dynamic warm-up, where the goal is to break a sweat and prime the body for the real workout that lies ahead. Warming up is essential pre-workout to avoid harming your body or pulling a muscle. Some great warm-ups include jogging, skipping rope, push-ups, and body weight squats; these are all solid options to warm up your body.
Change up your routine
Keep your muscles guessing by changing up your routine every three or four weeks. Not only will it prevent you from becoming bored with the same old exercises, mixing up your routine will also prevent training plateaus, the place where results slow and motivation stalls. Try changing the amount of weight you are lifting when strength training, the exercises you are performing, or even the order in which you perform them.
There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to take your workout to the next level. If it’s possible, recruit a friend or training partner to take part in your own exercise contest. Then, make up your own event where you can race head-to-head to the finish or against the clock.
If you are on your own, you can still compete with yourself. Set up a “mini” triathlon. Lift weights for 15 minutes, bike for 15 minutes, and then finish your workout with a 15 minute run. You can also record your progress and try to beat your own results each time you work out. Be creative and design workouts that push you beyond your normal exercise intensity.
Set the time
Sometimes a trip to the gym becomes more of a social event than a physical challenge. Prevent the urge to slack off by putting yourself on the clock. Define specific work and rest periods. Then, set a time limit for your workout. For example, create a circuit of five strength training exercises. Perform each exercise for 10 repetitions and follow each circuit up with 60 seconds rest. Now, repeat that circuit as many times as you can in 20 minutes.
Combine cardio with strength
Most of the time, strength training and cardiovascular exercise are separated into two different workouts. But, if you were to combine strength training exercises with cardio intervals you could elicit better results in less time.
Train like an athlete
Huge biceps may look great, but are unlikely to contribute to overall health or mobility. Instead of training like a bodybuilder, try exercising like an athlete. Include kettlebell swings, and sprints in your training plan to add intensity and variety to workouts while improving overall fitness.