Getting your workout plans sorted out isn’t always easy. Life can get pretty busy…between work, your family, your friends and your to-do list it can be hard to find time to focus on YOU. It can be a challenge to find time to shower, let alone time to work out. We get it. We know you had to overcome obstacles to get to the gym and we understand how precious your workout time is, so we’re here to help you maximize your sweat session. After all, getting to the gym is only half the battle, making your time count is what can transform your body and your life.
It’s no secret that regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s not only crucial for maintaining a healthy heart and a strong body, but as Harvard tells it, but regular exercise can prevent future disease, manage your weight, improve your sleep habits and promote a longer, healthier life. We’re convinced.
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So it’s not a question of if you should work out, but more a question of how to make your workouts count. For starters, you should try to mix up your routine. You aren’t the only one who gets bored on the elliptical machine—your muscles can get bored too, and to keep them working at maximum capacity (so you can achieve maximum results) you need to keep them guessing. Mix up your workouts, try a new fitness class or switch up which muscles groups you focus on throughout your week.
Make sure you are building muscle, not just burning calories. A common mistake is that people spend all of their time on cardio work, thinking it will help them lose weight or slim down. While cardio is important, it’s equally crucial that you build muscle strength. Another way to max your workout plans out, torch calories and build muscle quickly is to embrace interval training. Quick sprints of high intensity cardio followed by short periods of less-intense strength training or rest will make your workout efficient and will get you results.
Similarly, if you switch your focus from your upper body to your lower body quickly and repeatedly then you’ll make the most of your effort and maximize results. Celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson explains that you should “alternate upper and lower-body exercises without rest in between to up your caloric burn exponentially” because this routine “can raise your heart rate by forcing blood to shunt from your arms to your legs.”
And if you really want to make the most of your time in the gym, you also need to be smart about how you spend your time out of the gym. A balanced diet is important to make sure you are properly fueled for your workout. Think about it: a car cannot run on zero gas, and your body will not function without proper fuel. And that means you need to bulk up on complex carbs (including fruits, veggies and beans), lean protein and hydrate with tons of water. And as important as your food intake is to give you fuel, you also need to make sure your body gets enough rest. Try to get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and don’t be afraid to give your body a break here and there. A rest day might be just what you need to help your muscles recover, prevent injury, and maximize your next workout plans each time.