Improve your workout Part 3

Improve your workout Continued:

5. CHANGE IT UP

You hear it all the time.  There are plenty of ways to do it, but you just might not know how, or feel confident enough to do it.  The options seem limited to cardio and weights.  What else is there to do?

Persona trainer Fix

Cardio people, don’t just stick to this one area.  Just because you moved from the treadmill to the elliptical doesn’t mean you are changing the workout.  Nor does it mean you’re just burning fat.  Doing cardio for extensive periods of time depletes muscle as well.  The body starts using the more readily available energy that is supplied to it once all carbohydrates are used—that is, protein.  Also, low intensity workouts such as jogging or swimming do not burn nearly as many calories as the quicker, higher intensity workouts. During fast paced, high intensity workouts, more of the body exerts itself under more resistance in a shorter amount of time.  Therefore, heart rate increases more than during cardio and the body burns more calories.

For those of you that just like to lift weights, you won’t get lean (or buff) and lose weight by lifting weights alone.  If rest periods are long, then your heart rate will never increase and weight loss can’t occur.  Start doing circuits.  This can include combinations of heavy and light weight, resistance bands and body weight, cardio and strengthening, and can be completed in 30 minutes.  And if you do it correctly, you will be properly exhausted.

Here are some other ways to change up your routine:

Do one-sided large muscle exercises.  Dumbbell bench press just one side, with the other arm just holding the weight at neutral.  Keep your feet on the bench as well.  This will force your whole body to contract, specifically abdomen .

  • Go to fitness classes such as yoga, spinning, weight resistance classes, aerobic classes, boot camps, etc.  You might learn something you can incorporate into your own workout.
  • Do body weight exercises.  Throw them in between other exercises to supplement the workout.  When resting between sets of bench press, do pull ups. That way, your chest isn’t tired for the next set.
  • Play a sport.  Whether it is a pickup game of tennis, bowling by yourself (or with a friend), or even hiking for half a day, make being active fun.  Working out doesn’t always mean running in circles or lifting a bar.
  • Just because you aren’t at the gym, doesn’t mean you can’t work out.  Jump rope at home.  Lift things around the house.  Weed the garden.  Do some squat jumps until your legs burn.  Try a one arm push up.

There are unlimited ways to exercise. Be creative!

6. LEARNING NEW fitness exercises

Something every person in the gym has done is listen to a friend’s advice. “My buddy is a body builder and he said…”  As much as we all want to be educated and expert lifters, we aren’t. There are two questions you need to ask every person that lends you information in the gym.

What are your credentials?

Now, exercise and fitness are arts with different perspectives and interpretations on what is correct and incorrect.  Even some professionals may become or are misinformed. Which brings me to the next question.

Where did they acquire this information?

When someone gives you advice, ask where they learned it from. If it is a secondary source such as another person, a magazine, or most websites ending in “.com”, it is based on opinion and may not be a reliable source.  The best sources of information include published studies, educational books, and websites that end in “.org”, “.edu” or “.gov”.  These websites are run by non-profit companies, universities, or the government, respectively, and are not only publishing information to make money.

Zak Goodman BS, CSCS
Exercise specialist

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