Getting in a daily workout is always a good thing, but if you feel like your workouts aren't doing what you would hope, you might need to make some adjustments. There are certain things you can do to help make your workout more effective, whether you're a fan of running, weight training, or even something like yoga or pilates. Knowing what to do to make your workout more efficient can help you build muscle and see progress in your routine.
Part of effective fitness is figuring out what's good for your body. A lot of what "works" for one person does nothing for another," says Alicia Marie, TipTalk influencer and author of "The Booty Bible over email." "The elliptical machine is a great cardio machine. However, for some, it is just not as effective as some of the other forms of stationary cardio. What 'works' really depends on your current fitness level — or 'where you are starting from' and where you want to go."
Trial and error is essential when it comes to getting a good workout routine, so it's always important to try new things. If you want to kick your workout up a notch and make those squats worth it, try these 11 tips for the most effective workout.
1. Do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
"One reason many people don't have an effective workout is the intensity isn't high enough," says personal trainer Robbie Farlow over email. "Low-intensity exercising like walking is great for beginners who might find running or resistance training intimidating. For the average person, however, you want your workouts to have some level of intensity to them."
2. Always Utilize The Opposite Limb
"If you’re a runner or practicing sprints, you are using your legs, so integrate a workout that works your opposite limbs (in this case, it would be your arms)," says celebrity fitness trainer Sebastien Lagree over email. "If you practice sprints, run with a small free weight with your arms fully extended at an arm’s length away parallel to the ground, and you are instantly incorporating your core in more ways than one."
3. Drink Coffee
Caffeine can come in handy for more than just a long work day. A study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that drinking coffee before a workout burns about 15 percent more calories for three hours post-exercise.
4. Try Total Body Circuit Training
"Simply put, a circuit is a mix of cardio and weights," says personal trainer Kate Vidulich over email. "Choose the right exercises — one using multiple muscle groups at the same time — and you'll boost your metabolic rate and crank up your calorie burn, so you get better results in half the time."
5. Focus On Increasing Your Heart Rate
"Your fitness training should not focus merely on sweating it out," says Dr. Aditi G Jha, MD, physician from JustDoc.com. "Your aim should be to increase your heart rate by at least 20 percent."
6. Think About Quality Over Quantity
"It is not necessary for you to lift weights and also perform cycling for training for one hour daily, but an average of 3-5 hours every week should suffice," says Jha. "This means half an hour of intense workout makes you as energetic as you need be!"
7. Load Up On Those Carbs
Atkins diet, begone! A study from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom found that runners who ate carbohydrates before a race showed improved endurance, speed, energy, and alertness. Just be sure to choose complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, oats, and brown rice.
8. Try Isometrics
Contracting and holding a muscle, also known as isometric exercises, can help improve your overall strength, according to a study from the journal Experimental Physiology. Think along the lines of planks, wall sits, and shoulder extensions.
9. Incorporate Balance
Whether you like yoga, want to try gymnastics, or like to incorporate balancing balls, exercises that use balance can kick your workout up a notch by stimulating more core muscles, according to research from the Current Sports Medicine.
10. Change Up Your Routine
"Studies show that after as early as three weeks of training in the same ways, our bodies adapt and we get less benefits," says Dr. Scott Schreiber over email. "My recommendation is to change your workouts every three to four weeks incorporating new types of training such as suspension training, bodyweight, dumbbells, and throwing in a yoga class now and then."
11. Take A Day Off
"Recovery is also important," says Schrieber. "It is ok to take a day off. Your muscles and body will thank you. Also, periodically take week off to allow 'superhealing' to occur. You will come back stronger and faster than before."
Consistency is key when it comes to working out, but be sure to incorporate different aspects of exercise for best results.
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