There are tons of great tips, hacks, and strategies for exercising more, exercising better, and becoming more fit.
Once you're exercising, you want to get the most out of it. Here are some ideas for doing that:
1) Drop the famous tag line "NO PAIN, NO GAIN," AND instead adapt
"NO BRAIN NO GAIN": In the bodybuilding circuit, no pain no gain is the mantra to go by. You will grow only if there is a pain. I feel this is all a part of "bro" science and incorrect. You will grow if you progressively overload your muscles. Period!
Use your brain, read more, learn the best technique to workout and you will never go wrong.
2) More is not better: People either are undertrained ( they join a fitness program and don't show up ) or overtrained ( they train every day for 2 to 3 hours ). Try to find the optimal workout intensity, frequency, that suits your motivation levels and goals. In most cases, 3 to 6 hours every week is enough to optimize your gene expression!
3) Walk more: According to various studies, there are a 49% chances that you may die early, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle ( yes even if you do HIIT, weights and stay in active rest of the time ). Prolonged sitting is a severe threat which one should take seriously. Read my post to know more
4) Choose free weights over machines: You see, our muscular system is divided into prime movers (thigh, pecs, lats, etc.) and stabilizers (erector spinae, transverse abdominis). Prime movers create movement, whereas stabilizers, as the name implies, have more to do with stabilizing your body than creating change.
Working out on machines doesn't work your stabilizing muscles. Whereas working out with dumbbells and barbells makes sure your functional too! ( efficient in performing real-life movements )
5) Choose compound exercises over isolated ones: Compound movements like squats, deadlifts are multi-joint exercises that burn more calories, and you build a functional body. Weight training should be real work, and compound movement ensures your workout frequency and time is less with more results of course.
6) Be specific with what you want: Most people stop going to the gym after a few weeks of joining it. Why? They don't have specific goals. Just saying that I want to lose weight, or gain weight is not enough. You need to be accurate and give yourself deadlines.
7) Warm up properly: One of the main reasons people injure themselves with weights is the lack of insufficient warmup. Perform both general and specific warm-up before you do weight training.
8) Invest time in learning the proper technique: Weight training requires much less skill than playing a sport. Still, I see the majority of people doing it all wrong. There are enough videos on youtube that can teach you to learn proper techniques on almost all exercises.
9) Perform slow controlled movement of each rep: Most people use momentum to complete their reps. The idea is to focus on the muscles being worked rather than the weight being lifted. This established superior communication between your brain and muscles which in turn allow your body to speed up the process.
10) Exercise first thing in the morning: Here is a quote by Mark Twain which explains it the best: “Eat a frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
We wake up with limited will power. If you complete all your important task before noon, chances are very high that they will get done!
11) Take deep breathes throughout the day: Most of us take shallow breathes through our upper chest which is a wrong way of breathing. Practice diaphragmatic breathing, where your stomach rises ( instead of your chest ) when you breathe. This ensures that your cells stay in an aerobic state. It also helps relieve any anxiety or stress.
12) Variety is the spice of life: Don't weight train just because everyone is doing it. Don't run a marathon or do cross-fit just because it's cool! Find activities that you enjoy and stick to it. Keep one business which is your core one ( for me its weight training ) and then choose a few others like Yoga, HIIT, swimming or dance. This ensures that you don't get bored and build a functional physique.
13) Stand more than you sit: Recently I got a custom made a standing desk. I work 10 hours a day in front of a computer, and excess sitting was resulting in poor posture, back and neck pain. Standing desk solved the problem for me, and now I stand at least 60% of the time and work. I also don't sit more than 15 minutes at a stretch.
14) Get a training partner who has the same goals as yours: A training partner with the same goals as you can push you when you don't feel like it.
15) Motivate yourself every day to move more: Working out should be a lifestyle and not an event. Exercise has the highest ROI ( return on investment ) when compared to any other activity. Do whatever it takes to move more, learn to enjoy the process by getting involved in a community, joining a gym ( or a group class ). See pictures of healthy people and have a clear vision of seeing yourself and your family healthy even ten years down the line.
16) Create a small space at home for fitness: I love going to the gym, but only 2 to 3 times mainly for weight training. Traffic conditions are horrible everywhere. Also, when it is freezing outside, you had a late night, and don't want to get out of your warm blanket, going to the gym may seem like a task. Instead, choose to workout at home, do planks, pushups, Yoga, or you can also play a video workout series like P90X. Do whatever it takes to move every day.
17) Commit your goals to your friends and family: We as humans don't want to look bad especially on things that we have committed. Announcing your fitness goals on Facebook etc. can create that positive stress that can build momentum to propel you towards your goals.
18) Pay a friend some money every time you don't exercise: This tactic works, if everything else fails. Choose a 'good enough' amount so that every time you pay it should hurt and strengthen your desire not to miss your training sessions.
19) Start small, even if it means five pushups a day: I am serious. The idea is to build good habits. And habits are build when you do them daily no matter how small they are.
20) Include movement with other activities: Although I am not a big fan of multitasking, you can include exercise with other tasks like a) When watching TV if a commercial comes, do a pushup or stand and start walking. b) When spending time with your kid(s) choose outdoor activities where you are required to move like playing football. c) Stand and work on your laptop (already mentioned in the previous point ).
21) Read all the above points and start implementing them!
Drop your comments below and let us know what you think of this. Share any points if we have missed. Stay healthy Stay fit and Stay motivated.