Whether you’ve been hitting the gym regularly for years or you’re just starting to get into your workout routine, it can be tough to establish a regimen and find the perfect exercise plan that works for you. Weight loss doesn’t come easy, and even with the perfect diet and exercise regimen, it can be discouraging to wait for those unwanted pounds to disappear. We all know that hard work and dedication pays off when it comes to our fitness goals, and there are a few secrets to keep in mind when trying to lose weight for good. And, the best part about this advice is that you don’t need expensive gym equipment or a personal trainer to get the most out of your exercise — these are secrets that you can take with you no matter what your workout entails. Take a look at these five workout secrets that will motivate you to keep working hard and getting fit.
We’ve all been there. You’re working on your third set of bicycle crunches, and you start turning red in the face because you’re working so hard you’ve forgotten to breathe. This all-too common practice of holding your breath during intense exercise can be extremely detrimental to your workout as a whole, and it can actually prevent you from working out to your fullest potential.
To lose weight, you need to give each of your workouts your whole effort, and remembering to breathe will help fuel your muscles and keep you going longer and harder. Greatist explains when you breathe properly during exercise, you calm your mind, deliver oxygen to your muscles so they can perform properly, and help prevent the awful side stitch from occurring. If running is your exercise of choice, many runners tend to take one breath for every two foot strikes, and during weight training, always exhale during exertion. When you feel like you’re out of breath, use both your nose and your mouth to inhale instead of just inhaling through the nose for even more oxygen flow.
This may baffle some gym-goers who hop on the treadmill for 45 minutes before they even get to the weights, but it’s true — you can get a fantastic, metabolism-boosting, fat-burning workout done in 30 minutes or less, and it can be just as effective for weight loss as your hour-long treadmill sessions.
While some people love steady-state cardio and have the time to spend at the gym for hours on end, most of us get tired, bored, and unmotivated when we’re faced with cardio machines. That’s where high intensity interval training comes in. HIIT incorporates a few minutes of high-intensity exercise with shorter periods of low-intensity recovery, so you’ll torch calories faster than you ever thought possible. And, most HIIT workouts hover around 20 minutes, though we’ll warn you — they’re not for the faint of heart. You’ll be incorporating full-body exercises that are very demanding, but the results are worth it.
If you’ve been going hard at the gym all week long, don’t fret about taking a day off for a little rest and relaxation. While active rest days that include walking or yoga can be restorative and healthy for the body, it’s important to take a rest day to allow your body to rest and repair the muscles you’ve been working at the gym. And, a rest day can help you lose weight, too.
Self reports according to Adam Rosante, founder of The People’s Bootcamp in New York, working out six or seven days a week does not give your body enough time to restore. When you’re at the gym, you’re not actually building muscle — you’re tearing your muscles down. It’s in the recovery that your muscles rebuild and become stronger, so without this crucial recovery period, you won’t be building much muscle at all. And, with more muscle comes more fat burn even when you’re not working out, so you could be sabotaging your weight loss goals by not resting. Rosante recommends splitting your workout routine up so that you exercise for two days, take a rest day, and then exercise for three days, which will be followed by another rest day. Any more than this, and you run the risk of overtraining.
When you’re setting a fitness goal, Jennipher Walters, certified personal trainer and fitness instructor, tells SparkPeople there are a few questions you should ask yourself. First, how big your goal is and if its attainable in under three months. If your goal is going to take you longer than three months, break that goal up into smaller goals that you can achieve faster. Your first goal should be attainable in two to three weeks. Then, ask yourself what you need to do to achieve this first goal — how many workouts will you need to complete, and what kind of exercise will you do? Finally, ask yourself if you can truly see yourself sticking to this plan, as it will only work if you think you can do it.
According to Men’s Fitness, not only will you feel more motivated to go to the gym with a buddy by your side, but it’ll make your workouts more fun, too. If you don’t love the treadmill, then why not try out some tennis or play a round of basketball outdoors to get your heart rate up? If lifting is more your style, your gym buddy can correct your form so you can get the most out of each rep without injuring yourself. You might also unknowingly push yourself a little harder and do a few more reps than you normally would when you’re with someone who’s giving their routine their all. Working out with a friend can lead to greater gains and serious weight loss, more so than if you were to go at it alone.