Exercising can seem like such a daunting task when the only reason for doing it is to lose weight or get healthy. No one wants to wake up at 5 am to get a run in before work, and by the time you get home at the end of the day, the couch just looks so comfortable. On top of that, you’re no personal trainer. You don’t know if what you’re doing at the gym is even helpful. You’re breaking a sweat, but don’t feel any different, and you’re definitely not seeing those flat abs coming through anytime soon. You’re running, but your arms feel like mush, you burn 500 calories, but grab a Frappuccino as a reward. So maybe you’re no expert, but there are some tips you can follow to get the best out of your exercising routine.
Being consistent is super important when it comes to getting results. Deciding on a day-by-day basis whether you feel good enough to go to the gym or not, is going to be a major downfall. You have to commit yourself to making this lifestyle change, and stick to it. The second you allow yourself to take a day off in the middle of the week, you’ll take five more days off. If that becomes a popular trend in your workout regime, soon you won’t be working out at all. Instead, plan ahead. Look at your week and decide that you will go to the gym every other day, or Monday through Friday. Regardless of the lineup, don’t change it.
Plan your workout
Formulate a plan and leave no room for error. There’s nothing worse than trekking all the way to the gym and then not being able to decide what kind of workout you want to do. Should you run for 30 minutes, or maybe bike for 15 and then do abs or even throw on some leg weights? Maybe you should just walk around the gym looking at what everyone else is doing to get some inspiration. Instead of wasting valuable time and looking totally lost, plan your workout ahead of time. You can look on a fitness website for an expert routine, or simply tell yourself “its cardio day and I will not jump off the treadmill until I’ve run 4 miles”. Planning your workout is like setting yourself a mini goal. You’ll feel more accomplished when you can check it off, rather than just doing random exercises until you’re bored or sweaty enough for the night.
Like what you do
If you absolutely hate running, then don’t run. If biking hurts your knees, don’t bike! There are no specific exercises that you must do to successfully get healthy. Yes, a combination of cardio and weights is ideal when it comes to regime, but there are many exercises within those two categories that can get the job done. You can get your cardio in from high intensity body workouts, usually in a classroom setting. You can get your heart rate up on a bike, elliptical, treadmill, row machine, or even a nature hike. Whatever it is that you enjoy, turn that into a workout and kill two birds with one stone.
They say that abs are made 90% in the kitchen, and 10% in the gym. It’s true that working out plays an important role in looking the way you desire and keeping your body healthy. However, not eating well can cancel out all the hard work you put in at the gym quicker than you can imagine. A lot of people overestimate the amount of calories they burn during a workout session, and they’re also not so sure on how much work it takes to lose weight. Running/walking a mile burns approximately 100 calories (give or take based on weight, age, and other biological factors). Therefore you can’t run a mile and then reward yourself with a 140-calorie cookie. It also takes burning 3,500 calories to lose one pound. In order to lose one pound per week, you must have a net caloric intake of -500 per day. You can work your butt off at the gym, but if you’re making the wrong choices in the kitchen, the results will take a much longer time than you’d think.
Hit the weights
Cardio can make you drop the fat, but it won’t do much for tightening and toning up afterwards. Those models you see with the flat belly and rock-hard booty, lift weights, maybe even more than they run. Make sure to start slow if you’re not trained in weight lifting, it’s not hard to hurt yourself with no instruction. Start with body squats, pushups, and assisted machines. Once you’ve got the hang of it, move on to free weights.
It’s important to change up your workouts as you build your stamina and muscle strength. If you start out running one mile in 10 minutes and ending the workout with 100 abs, 6 months later you need to be doing more in the same amount of time. While you’re still burning calories doing the same routine, you’re burning less because your body doesn’t need to work as hard as it used to. Add reps to your workout, run that extra mile each week, or ad a new exercise altogether. Getting healthier doesn’t always mean skinnier. Your body will thank you when you push it to get stronger, build up your heart, and live a longer life.