Exercise is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle, but many people dread heading to the gym or lacing up their sneakers for a run. As a result, even many people who exercise regularly do so without much enthusiasm or effort, and thus don’t benefit as much as they could from the process.
If you’re ready to step up your fitness game and make big gains – in stamina, strength, muscle mass, or weight loss – it’s time to make some changes. From increased intensity to better nutrition, the following adjustments can make your workouts more effective and fun.
With the exception of distance runners, most people exercise indoors, which can be monotonous and uncomfortable, since gym air is often dry. Instead of just hitting the gym or the track, then, consider taking your workout outside and making it a little more playful. Many places even have playground-style fitness areas featuring workout equipment, but if your town doesn’t boast one of those you might consider setting up a slack line in the park, joining your kids on the trampoline, or pulling out your inline skates. Your workout doesn’t have to look like your usual gym circuit to still be good for you.
Work With A Trainer
Some people have workout buddies for motivation, but other people end up taking less productive cues from their pals and slacking off. That’s why, if you want to meet particular fitness goals, you should try working with a personal trainer. Personal trainers are not only master motivators, but they have the expertise to help you choose the right exercises to meet your goals and ensure that you don’t injure yourself by using improper form.
Consider Adding Carbs
Many fitness buffs consider carbs to be a dirty word and, if they’re going to grab a snack at the gym, would prefer to have a protein shake than anything resembling a simple sugar. Skipping out on carbs at key times could be keeping you from putting as much effort into your workouts as you’re capable of. Make sure that you’re getting a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates before your workout and then bring a small, simple carb focused snack to eat mid workout when your energy drops.
Cross Train, Don’t Combine
While it’s true that you should be doing both cardiovascular workouts and strength-focused activities as part of your overall fitness routine, you don’t need to do both on the same day, and doing so can actually reduce the benefits of your chosen activities. Instead of combining different styles of exercise, then, add some variety to your workout by cross training – running one day and weight training on another – to make more progress overall. This will also help cut through the boredom and increase your motivation.
One of the biggest mistakes that adults make when working out is allowing fitness to be boring when, as children, we ran and jumped and swam for play. By recontextualizing our fitness activities as fun and giving ourselves the necessary supports to be successful, including the necessary fuel, we can reconnect with our bodies and experience fitness in renewed ways.