Whether you are working out in a gym or doing your best to stay in shape at home, there are some basic, fact based principles that will guarantee that you succeed in reaching optimal health and fitness.
Here are 10 that I have collected over the years;
- If the goal of your workout is to burn fat and to become leaner, you should do your strength training first and your cardiovascular training second.
-You will deplete your body’s stored sugar (glycogen) levels when doing weight training and then your body will be forced to use body fat for fuel when doing cardiovascular training.
- Design training programs over 6-12 weeks with specific goals for each of the weeks.
-Having something short-term to focus on will increase your motivation greatly from one week to the next.
- Whenever possible, choose free weights over machines.
-When you do strength training with free weights, a much greater amount of muscle is used to provide balance and stability. In other words, you will get more work done in less time. The “carry over” to real life will also be significant as compared to training on a machine where all of the balancing is done for you.
- Lifting weights more slowly will help to build more muscle.
-If you move slowly through each repetition of each set of each exercise, you will increase the total time that your muscle is “contracted” while it is working. This is often referred to as “time under tension” or TUT. This time is very important and will have a large impact on whether you get stronger or not.
- Training “efficiency” is more important than training “volume.”
-Muscles respond best to intense, but brief, work followed by adequate rest and recovery. The most common mistake by frequent exercisers is doing too much and pushing the body beyond its ability to recover.
- Learn how to read food labels to get the most out of your workouts.
-Training without eating in a “supportive” manner, will yield only minimal results. Aside from understanding what is meant by “Grams” of fat, protein and carbohydrates, try buying (and eating) foods that are low in sugar. 4g of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon, therefore a yogourt with 16 grams of sugar contains 4 teaspoons of sugar which will make it very difficult for you to burn fat and become lean.
- Always allow at least 1 full day of recovery per week.
-To keep things fresh and interesting, even if you don’t feel like completely resting 1 day per week, doing so will aid immensely in both your mental and physical well-being and will help you to keep improving in the long run.
- Learn the joys and benefits of Cross- Training.
-To continue challenging your body in a positive way, try activities that are new to you. This can have a tremendous impact on your overall strength and endurance and you might find that when you go back to your regular routine, you’ll find yourself stronger and fitter as a result.
- Always have a back up plan.
–In Case Of Emergency! Always think of at least 2 or 3 activities, or workouts, the can yield similar results so that you never have to miss a session. For example; if you do not have the time to get to the gym, learn a “back to basics” workout using little or no equipment to do at home.
- Don’t believe the hype!
-If it appears to be too good to be true, it probably is. Real sustainable fitness results last a lifetime. Don’t rush things or fall prey to hype and hyperbole; use your head, plan and follow through.
Over the next several weeks, I’ll be expanding on these 10 tips and providing ideas on ways to implement them into your daily lives.