None of us exercise without wanting to get anything out of it. Whether you are looking for ways to improve your health and fitness and take care of your body, you want to improve your stamina, you are looking to gain muscle mass, or you want to lose some weight, you’ll have a goal in mind. Even if you are only exercising to take care of your long-term health and maintain a healthy weight, you’d be disappointed if you were spending hours a week in the gym without getting stronger, fitter or finding that you can walk up that hill without being out of breath.
But, so often our exercise regimes don’t have the results that we’d like. We feel as though we’re exercising all of the time, but nothings happening. Most people find that when they first join a gym or start a new fitness plan, they lose weight, they gain muscle and their body changes shape. They feel fitter and healthier, and their confidence increases. But, then as the weeks go by, the improvements slow, or even stop. Then, we get demotivated, we start to let things slide, and we stop putting the effort in. That’s never going to help, but it’s hard to stay motivated when the results are coming in as we’d like.
Instead of giving up, or carrying on doing the same things and hoping for the best, let’s take a look at some of the changes that you can make to get more out of your workouts.
Check Your Positioning
If you practice yoga, pilates, tai chi, or any other exercise that focuses on holding poses, keeping your body in specific positions, or moving between poses slowly and with control, your body position is crucial. If you are holding poses incorrectly, they won’t be working as they should, and you are at a much higher risk of injury.
Exercises like this are perfect for some workouts, but that means there’s no one to check that you are doing them right and offer your tips. Consider attending a class to check your form, or speaking to a trainer. If you are determined to work alone, place a full-length mirror in front of you as you exercise so that you can check your body and make adjustments as needed.
Learn to Breathe
Believe it or not, your breathing is exceptionally important. Breathe incorrectly, and you won’t be able to push yourself as far. Nor will you be able to exercise for as long. When performing cardio workouts, like running, try to breathe slowly, taking deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Always with control. When it comes to strength training, the same principle applies, but try to breathe out when the movement is hard, and in when it’s easier.
Trainers, teachers, and even online workout instructors always tell us to warm up. But, when we exercise at the gym, or at home on our own, we tend to just jump straight in. Keen to make the most of our time without wasting it stretching or easing in.
But, this puts you at risk of injury and means that your muscles and limbs aren’t able to give their best. Before a workout, stretch your muscles out, and they’ll give you more.
Change Things Up
You’ve probably got a favorite exercise or routine. Most of us have. When you hit the gym, you might always follow the same pattern, moving from one machine to the next, and you might go to the same classes every week. That means that you are always using the same muscles in the same way, and your body will quickly get used to it. That’s why most people have fantastic results when something is new, only to find progress slows in time.
If you want to keep seeing the results of your hard work, you need to shock your body and use different areas. Try different classes, look for alternative workouts online, go for a long walk or swim instead of hitting the gym. Mix things up regularly to keep your body working hard.
Use the Right Equipment
Equipment can increase the intensity of your workouts, but only if you use it right. Read Free weights vs resistance bands to get some information on what you might want to use and how. If you're going to start using equipment, either at home or in the gym, make sure you know what you are doing and stay safe.
Get a Workout Buddy
We all have days where we just don’t fancy exercising. When this happens, we often make excuses not to or go easy on ourselves. A workout buddy can offer great support. They can be someone to push you to exercise and hit your targets, as well as someone to suggest new things. If you prefer to workout alone, join a fitness forum, and make a buddy there.
Eat the Right Foods
Carbs are bad, right? Well, no, they aren’t. Carbs are your body's primary source of fuel. So, whether you are practicing high-intensity exercise, or heading off for a very long run or gym session, loading up with carbs first can help you to get more from your work out.
Listen to Music
If you are having trouble pushing yourself, perhaps your 5k is stuck at 30 minutes, and you can’t get it any faster, try listening to music as you run. Build a playlist of inspirational and upbeat tunes, and try to run to the beat.
A lot of us are guilty of avoiding weights. You might think that you’re not bothered about big muscles, or that you need to focus on cardio to lose weight or train for an event, so you don’t need to lift. But, weight lifting can help to boost your metabolism, helping your body to burn more calories, as well as building your muscles and helping you to perform better.
Take Care of Yourself
If you want to get more out of your workouts, you need to look after your body. Get a good night’s sleep, eat well, and rest when you are injured. Look after your body, and it will give you more.