We all know the obvious benefits of committing to an effective exercise routine. Yet, it’s estimated that less than a third of the world’s population is actually doing enough. Cue internal freakout.
As we continue to learn more about human anatomy and our potential, the experts are finding easier ways for us to get fit and healthy. By making a simple shift in our lifestyle, we can quite easily meet the minimum recommended amount and live longer healthier lives. Sound like a walk in the park? Well, it actually could be.
So today, we’re going to take a look at how to fit more effective exercise into your routine.
Firstly, Ask Yourself, Why Do You Train?
While some of us train to become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger or to be able to compete in Ironmans, others do it to simply knock off a few pounds or to simply be active. At the end of the day, as long as your exercising consistently and getting your heart rate going, the mental and physical benefits are going to show.
Setting realistic goals or intentions will definitely help you to get results. Look at it like this, it’s going to be much more effective to train in preparation for an event or occasion, rather than just doing the same exercise routine each week. Find a race or a sporting event that suits you and get training!
Variation Is Key
In a world of smartphones and 24-hour gyms, we have a library of training methods to choose from. If you live in a city almost anywhere in the world, you don’t have to go far to find a local gym or a personal trainer.
It’s easy to feel short of ideas after a long days work. Mixing things up makes your training much more exciting. If you can afford it, getting a personal trainer takes the pressure off you, then all you have to do it turn up in your gym gear and do as you’re told. Personal trainers are great if you lack a bit of self-motivation (don’t worry, you’re not alone). A personal trainer will design a workout just for you, and motivate you to push yourself.
However, hire a personal trainer is expensive, so look at classes as an alternative. They’re often come included in the price of a gym membership and have similar motivation levels. They’re also great if you’re looking to surround yourself with new people who are committed to getting fit. After all, you are a product of your environment. So get amongst a crowd that is dedicated to getting fit and healthy.
Challenging your body to something different, like pilates or primal movement, is great for variation. At primal training, your body weight, balance and endurance will be tested with activities like handstands, bear crawls and bouldering. Expect to have a lot of fun with these increasingly popular workouts, even though you’re likely to find them very tough at the beginning, but have no fear, it’ll get easier!
What Happens When You Train Hard?
Once or twice a week, depending on how game you are, a session more vigorous than usual could give you a competitive edge. These sessions will also make your standard workouts seem easy in comparison. So, win-win!
Team up with your favourite training partner to help push you during your harder workout. Bring an element of competition into each session. Remember to use the competition to better your fitness, not to lose a friend!
When you train harder, you’ll want to keep an eye on your heart rate. There are more risks that come into play during more taxing workouts but they are minimal compared to the benefits. For most of us, a high-intensity workout is worth the effort. However, it’s important to learn how to listen to your body to avoid injury. So don’t do too much too soon. Build on the intensity.
Your body needs energy for effective exercise, so your body burns fats and carbohydrates in a series of chemical reactions that produce heat. Remember to take plenty of breaks and to stay hydrated. Replace your electrolytes with powders or ready-made drinks. Electrolytes help your body story liquid better when you’re depleted.
Rest and Recovery
Now, we have the good news. If you’re going to include vigorous workouts in your week, you’re going to want to get your rest done properly. Yes, that does mean that you’ll need more sleep and more time on the couch. Your body will need it.
Increasing the intensity puts your body at greater risk of muscle strains and tears, so that’s where recovery becomes important. Stretching, rollers and resistant bands need to become a staple part of your week. The great thing about these activities is that they can be done in front of the TV. Once you get into the swing of it, these practices can become therapeutic, both physically and mentally.
Smartwatch or stopwatch?
When doing a more demanding workout, it’s advised that you should monitor your heart rate. There are a number of brands competing for that place on your wrist. Smartwatches or a simple stopwatch can help you keep track.
There will always be a split between the traditionalists and the gadget-happy trainers. On the one hand, with the latest smartwatches, you can listen to music, track your sleep, get 27/4 heart-rate monitoring, a GPS and more. Basically, everything you’d want around your wrist and more.
The traditionalist will have a basic stopwatch, typically a Casio, and a notepad. That’s it. They’ll have their own style of fitness journalling and probably have a chip on their shoulder about all the latest ‘unnecessary’ tech fads.
Here are some of our favourites:
- Cassio Classic (Stopwatch)
- Garmin Fenix 5X Plus (Smartwatch)
- Suunto 9 Baro (Smartwatch)
- Coros Pace GPS (Smartwatch)
Most smartwatches can be connected to an app where you can log your workouts. This is a great way to keep track of your progress. You can also enjoy looking back at all of the hard graft you’ve put in!
Keep A Training Diary/Record
Training diaries are a great tool for monitoring your progression. You can do it the old fashioned way and get yourself a notepad to keep track. Alternatively, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, there are also plenty of free apps available. Search on Android’s play store for FitNotes or HeavySet for iOS.
For your weekly back-breaking workout, you could set an alarm or a calendar reminder. Though it’s easy to ignore things that pop-up on our phones, don’t let yourself get away with this one!
Vigorous Exercise Isn’t For Everyone
Some of us just aren’t that interested in vigorous exercise. No one can force us to work out harder. It all comes down to your own preference when you’re exercising. However, one way you can motivate yourself to dig deeper is to read or listen to inspirational athletes or adventurists.
In the history of mankind, people have always tried to do the impossible. Like Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first two men to summit Mount Everest on 29 May 1953. These men pushed through what many thought would be impossible, reaching the summit without all of the flashy mountaineering gear that we see adventurists use today. Hilary famously quoted ‘its not the mountain that we conquer but ourselves’, a message that can resonate with us today as we exercise to get us through those arduous times.
Combat Health Risks And Disease
Taking regular effective exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It can reduce pain and fatigue in HIV and cancer patients. Essentially, there are benefits for everyone. Your sleep will improve as well as your moods! Exercise can also benefit your sex life. The list goes on.
You’ve probably heard most of this before. At the end of the day, It’s up to us to find time to fit effective exercise into our schedule and to decide how hard to push ourselves. At least now you can train knowing that the harder you push, the more benefits you will reap.
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