This is the time of year lots of people start exercising. Whether its your first time, or you’re a fitness enthusiast, here are some not-so-obvious tips to get stronger and fit faster.
1. go slow. slowing down your weight training movements has many benefits.
- It stimulates DEceleration (not often practiced but greatly needed)
- It uses more core and stabilization
- It is actually harder, because you eliminate momentum
- Performing an action slowly ensures better posture and better form, especially for beginners, but also for experienced exercisers. Going slow can bring a whole new level to your workout.
- starting out slowly if you are a “newbie” is super important for the long haul. you will build muscle but it takes time.
2. go light. its not only important to start with lighter weights, but to go back to them often.
- taking load off can bring better form to a movement (always good)
- it forces you to use more isometric contraction-that squeeze at the end of a contraction. making your muscles do something different is always good.
- people who used to be “athletic” and have gotten out of shape tend to start a new routine as if they never took a break. this is a recipe for disaster, injury, and too much soreness which causes them to miss workouts.
3. slow down. we live in a fast paced world. the emotional stress we feel day to day is still stress and depletes the body, just like physical stress. this can short circuit many weight loss and performance goals!!
- take rest days and weeks. this is crucial for serious athletes (and the often don’t do it) as well as beginners. when you work out, you break down muscle and create metabolites. your body needs time to repair.
- if you don’t take rest, you will not lose weight! your body will stay in fat storing mode and you will get very frustrated.
- take time to relax. go to bed earlier, take a warm bath with lavender oil and epsom salt, laugh, and breathe.
4. change it up. doing the same workout every day, week after week, month after month is a great strategy to plateau (and no one wants to plateau!). your amazing body adapts to patterns quickly, so change things up, such as:
- how fast or slow you do your movements
- how many reps or how long you do an exercise
- how many sets you do
- how much rest each muscle group gets
- interval training is one of the most effective ways to increase fitness and lose weight. it consists of intervals of intense exercise followed by rest, in a repeated manner.
5. don’t overindulge in cardio or “steady-state” training. cardio is like sugar–its easy and it makes you feel great, however it comes with a price. steady state training is staying at the same heart rate while doing some activity, like running, biking, elliptical–traditional cardiovascular exercises. It can be jumping jacks! one myth you need to dispell is this: cardio DOES NOT HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT. the primary reason people do cardio is that they are training for a race, but even then you can mix it up with interval training. this has actually been shown to improve speed and strength for endurance athletes better than long slow distance, and it has a lower injury rate.