Fitness Blog

10 Useful Fitness Tips to Maximize Gains

1. Increase your range of motion to maximize each exercise.  This could mean lunging and squatting deeper, using higher steps, digging deeper into your pushups and so on.  This will give you greater gains in less time.  

2. Do full body exercises.  Muscles were designed to work together in groups. Full body workouts work all of your muscles at once. This not only saves times but it also results in greater fat burning.  Full body exercises can target small and large muscle groups in one movement strengthening all major muscle groups during an exercise session. 

3. Lift heavier weights.  The best way to build muscle is by using higher weights and fewer reps.  More muscle is built by lifting heavier weights as opposed to light weights.  However, high intensity-low volume training is only beneficial if done safely and correctly.  Many women often avoid lifting heavier weights for the fear that they will bulk up.  Woman cannot build as much muscle as men because their testosterone levels are not high enough.  Women who lift heavier weights will become leaner and more defined.  Also the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn at rest. 

4. Lift weights before cardio.  You will burn more calories if you lift weights and then go on a run because your muscles are already fatigued.  Doing cardio after strength training will also help prevent blood from accumulating in the lower body.

5. Warm up instead of stretching.  Many people believe they have to stretch before working out. The truth is, stretching is not proven to prevent injuries before or after a workout.  In fact stretching before a workout when you are really stiff can often do more harm than good.  The best way to ease into your workout is by doing similar motions on a smaller scale. For instance, if you jog, warm up by running. If you are lifting weights, start off with a warm up weight. Stretching after a workout can be a good idea, but it is not so much about preventing injury as it is about preventing blood from pooling in your extremities. 

6. Do explosive exercises.  Explosive movements build muscle, burn fat, and increase strength and power in minimal time. These exercises usually involve your feet leaving the floor, like jumps, burpies or throwing and receiving weights like a weight ball. These moves also increase strength significantly and burn ample calories. 

7. Take time off.  Exercising too much can negatively impact your health.  Strength and endurance gains actually happen during recovery and not in the gym. Plan time off to allow your muscles times to repair and grow.  I like to take the weekends off, but 5 days of exercise and 2 days off is a good plan.

8. Keep a diary to track your cardio and resistance training. Research shows that tracking your workouts helps you stick with exercise and produces noticable gains. Write down everything you do and also measure your results. That could mean taking body measurements, weighing yourself regularly or whatever way you are using to track results. This will help to hold you accountable. 

9.  Use free weight instead of machines. A study in the January 2008 issue of "The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" indicated that individuals who performed free-weight exercises had a 58 percent greater strength increase than individuals who performed exercises on resistance-training machines.  Free weights also promote better balance and allow a greater and more natural range of motion. You can do several different movements in one exercise. The beauty about free weights is that you can also use them at home. You don't need to go to the gym.

10. Interval training allows you to burn more fat in less time then steady cardio.  Research shows you can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of interval training then jogging on the treadmill for an hour.  You also burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after your internal workout and you build endurance more quickly than steady exercise. You can incorporate interval training into just about any exercise routine and you can do it anywhere, no equipment required. If you are like biking, trying going all out for a minute, then ease back for a minute, do a difficult hill then resume on the flat.  It's all about short bursts of energy. 

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