Every grown ass woman should know what it's like to break a sweat and feel those sweet, sweet endorphins being released. Exercise doesn't just better your mood, though, but it also keeps you healthy, and allows you to be able to meet your fitness goals. With a few simple but genius exercise hacks, you'll kick butt in the gym and gain confidence, so you can act like the warrior you're meant to be in any situation to come.
As a certified health coach and a person who knows that exercise can seem daunting, I know that maintaining the will to workout can be tough. Just think: Sweat in your hair, mascara dripping, bruised toenails (maybe that's just me?). It's not the most relaxing situation imaginable. Yet, if you think about the benefits of exercise — things like self-assurance and pride, you're bound to feel sexy and accomplished after leaving your pool of sweat on the ground. What's more, beyond the right mindset, finding a few ways to make your workout even more fun, playful, challenging, and effective can make it all the more worthwhile, and you might even feel eager to get to another workout the following day. Here are 7 exercise hacks that you should totally be following now, for greater benefits and long-lasting result
1. Include Variety
Sure, it's smart to try different workouts, such as running, yoga, HIIT, or spinning throughout the week. Not only does variety help shock your muscles for greater strength gains and fat burn, but it also keeps things interesting, so you avoid a rut. Yet, take it a step further and change the timing, too, says Kerry Corcoran, Master Teacher Trainer and Chief Anatomy Officer for The Dailey Method (TDM) over email with Bustle. "You might get more calorie burn throughout the day from an early a.m. workout, but afternoon workouts have been shown to offer peak performance during the workout and with your muscles warmer at that time of the day you will likely see increased flexibility as well," Corcoran says.
2. Focus On Posture
You probably know how good posture can translate to confidence, so work on form and posture during class, and then take that alignment into everyday life, says Corcoran. "Hopefully your fitness practice involves lots of great work on posture and alignment. Notice how you walk, move and stand throughout the day. Small shifts in your postural habits will lead to BIG changes in your overall health and fitness level," Corcoran explains.
3. Put It On The Calendar
An easy way to never back out of a workout? Commit to it on your calendar. "Plan your workouts just like any other meeting (who better to meet with than YOU) and avoid double booking just as you would avoid double booking during an important business meeting," says Corcoran. This trick helps you stay on track and aim for consistency.
4. Lift Those Weights
When it comes to building and toning muscle, weights are super important. Sure, you can do cardio for hours, but without adding a strength training component to your cardio (for a mix), you're likely burning muscle over fat. Instead, add in lifting a few times a week and track your progress, says Cheryl Scigousky, Director of Programming at Runner’s High Studio in Chicago, and a USA Certified Triathlon Coach, over email with Bustle.
5. Work On Intervals
If you're going at one speed or intensity for the duration of your workout, you're still burning calories, but you're not maximizing that time spent in order to get the most effective, metabolism and energy-boosting workout. What's more, you're not going to get as much of an after burn. "Try interval training to help boost metabolism, instead," says Scigousky. (With a higher metabolism, comes greater after burn.) Plus, "embrace the discomfort, and turn the pain into power," Scigousky adds. Remember, pushing yourself can really feel awesome.
6. Find A Buddy
If you're known to bail on 9 a.m. bootcamp, you might want to recruit a buddy to help you out. (Maybe switch to a later bootcamp time, too?) Working out with another person can keep you accountable, so use this as a way to trick yourself into getting into shape. Plus, you'll likely have more fun, too.
7. Redefine "Exercise"
The greatest hack of all? Remember that exercise can come in all types of forms, and the best thing you can do to stay fit is to stay active during the day. That means walking, taking the stairs, going to the grocery store (no delivery or Instacart, here), and doing those damn chores will all add to a daily calorie burn. Still, finding time to really get that heart rate up is still important, but every little bit helps.
If you're struggling to prioritize a workout over anything else in your life, remember that you'll feel so much better after those challenging minutes and you'll only improve with time. Plus, you can always have wine after that workout. I certainly do.