You’ve heard it said – there are no shortcuts in life and this often tends to include looking good and developing or maintaining a fit body. Perhaps this has even stopped you short of really committing to a workout. Granted, there’s a lot truth in that maxim, but this article is going to shake that thought up a bit with tips that give you a discount on all the sweat – or, at least, help you make the most of your workout.
1. Pay attention to your lower body
Irrespective of whether you exercise for muscle tone or to lose weight, it’s advisable to work the lower half of your body. Some of your biggest muscles are in your thighs – both front and back – and working them burns a lot more calories. A lot of gym routines also tend to focus more on upper body workouts, so, unless you want your body to get toned in a lopsided way, it pays to pay attention to the latter.
Additionally, studies have shown that regular jogging or running can do serious long-term damage to your knees; so, if running is part of your routine, it makes sense to complement it with some strength training for your legs.
On a related note, workouts such as cycling, walking uphill with a weight, dancing and skipping rope burn far more calories than jogging does, so you might want to consider substituting one of these for your running routine, especially if the latter is not something you particularly enjoy doing.
2. Make things interesting
Needless to say, you are likely to do anything far more effectively and with a lot more vigour if you find it interesting. Carefully curate a playlist with some high-energy music that really motivates you. There is plenty of research to suggest that musical rhythm often pushes your body into more physical activity.
Change your routine regularly – after a few weeks of the same workout, your body tends to adapt and exercise starts showing diminishing returns. You could add a bit more in terms of reps with each passing week to challenge your body just that bit more or completely overhaul your routine. The latter has the added advantage of keeping things fresh for your mind as well, so you don’t get bored easily.
Spice up your workout by having a delicious cup of your favourite coffee beforehand. Not only could this be an incentive to look forward to your workout hour(s), caffeine helps provide energy for the grind ahead. Energy drinks work just as well for this purpose. Speaking of incentives, don’t hesitate to reward your hard work with gastronomical treats from time to time – as long as it’s within reason!
3. Exercise with a group or a trainer
When it comes to working out, staying motivated over long periods of time is challenging to most of us. This is where working out with a group has tremendous benefits. Competitive spirit has a big role to play in how people respond to any sort of activity, whether it be at the workplace or in a hobby class. There’s nothing like a friend or co-member of a workout group making strides in their fitness to help put a fire in your belly.
Also, the right set of people can really liven up proceedings. Ever heard the saying “Time flies when you’re having fun”? Most humans are social creatures; an interesting group workout session with plenty of laughter and positive vibes can add energy to your workout that you could perhaps never summon on your own!
Working with a trainer often adds accountability to the overall scheme of things. You may push yourself to be more regular simply to avoid feeling the guilt of missing a session. A good trainer will also be able to design routines specific to your needs. Working out with your spouse is a wonderful way for both of you to stay fit as well as to spend some productive time together at the beginning of the day. Check out Urban Clap’s Fitness Trainer at Home service for help with this.
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4. Quicken your metabolism
This section deals with things you can do to speed up your metabolism; the quicker your metabolism, the more fat you burn. Eat a big breakfast first up – if you don’t, you only end up teaching your body to burn calories very slowly so as to conserve as much as possible. Oats and cereals are popular breakfast items for a reason: they take longer to digest and increase the amount of time that elapses before you’re hungry again.
Drinking a lot of water also increases your metabolism besides having countless other health benefits. Cold water works even better as your body burns a few calories heating the water. Your periods cause a lot of iron loss every month, which affects your metabolic rate, so consume a lot of iron-rich foods to help make up for it.
Try to eat a lot of protein throughout the day and have calcium-rich foods such as skimmed milk and low-fat yogurt to help your body metabolize fat much better. For a lot more solid fitness advice, have a look at Urban Company’s personal gym trainers.
With a few fairly simple tips such as the ones listed above, you may not be able to lose all that excess fat without moving a muscle but will certainly be able to tone a lot of those muscles with less effort than you might’ve thought you’d need!