So, you’re going to the gym, working out four, five, six times a week, but you’re just not getting the results you expected. What gives? Well, you’re probably making a few simple mistakes. In 25 years as a trainer, I have noticed that it’s the small things done with consistency that get the big results. Here are a few tips that could help you see better results from your efforts.
Too much or the wrong kind of Cardio:
When it comes to cardio, think high intensity for shorter periods of time. Studies have found that it’s better to sprint on a treadmill for 30 seconds, recover for three minutes and repeat 10 times than to run at a moderate pace for half an hour. With HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), you build muscle, increase your VO2 max and keep burning calories for up to two hours after you finish working out. I also have my clients separate cardio and weight-training days so the body doesn’t get confused and can more efficiently burn fat OR build muscle…
Not enough Strength Training:
While it can be tempting and easier to stick with cardio and classes, the real key to getting toned is to mix strength training into your routine on a regular basis. You should hit the weights at least three times a week, focusing on more weight and lower reps. Remember that too much cardio will also have the potential to burn precious muscle and the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism and the more fat you will potentially burn.
Increase the Weight:
When you are strength training (which I recommend) don’t forget to gradually increase the weight. To tone the muscle, you want to work until the last rep is very difficult to finish. If you are just following the numbers but your last rep is easy, the weight is too light. If you can easily finish 12-15 reps then it’s time to increase the weight by 5% or until it is difficult to finish 12 reps. (this is just an example as I am also a fan of mixing up the weights and reps to keep your muscles guessing and growing)
Chill out a little:
Stress is as bad for the body as it is for the mind. Studies show that it contributes to increased appetite, weight gain and a loss of muscle mass. Do what you can to relieve stress, whether that’s getting a massage, meditating or using your workout as a stress reliever. I highly recommend all 3 J And Remember to Play a little more often!
Lack of Portion Control:
Diet is one of the most important aspects of an individual’s health and fitness routine. Some even say that it accounts for as much as 80%. But even if you focus on lean protein, good fats, fresh fruit and veggies, eating too much of anything isn’t going to help you get lean. Be cognizant of calories and fat per serving and think about counting calories for a week or two so you can start learning what something like a healthy serving size of chicken looks like on sight. Just a couple weeks of paying attention to calories and serving sizes can help you make better portion choices and be better informed when eating out. You can Google just about anything to find out the calories or nutrition content and there are endless apps out there to help you track calories…
Too little Water
Hydration, hydration, hydration! Staying hydrated will help you feel better and look better, while your muscles will recover faster and you’ll burn fat more efficiently. Consider carrying a water bottle and sipping throughout the day. I have my clients keep track of their water intake by refilling the same water bottle so they know how much they consume in a day.
Not enough Stretching:
If you’re hitting the gym regularly for sessions of cardio and strength training, you’re going to be using your muscles a lot. Stretching increases flexibility and range of motion while keeping muscles long and lean instead of short and constricted. A good, comprehensive and continued stretching plan will help you avoid injury and add years to your healthy life.
Not enough Sleep:
Your body recovers, repairs and grows while you sleep. You can’t expect to function without enough sleep, and your muscles can’t either. Without seven to nine hours of restful sleep per night (and at least 24 hours between strength-training routines), you won’t get toned as quickly as you could. Studies have found that people who are in a sleep deficit get less of the benefit from going to the gym, as their muscles are focused on recovering, not developing.
The Same Old Routine:
Your body is a master compensator and will get used to the same routine pretty quickly! If you are just doing the same moves every time and not changing weights and reps, your body will get used to it, compensate for it and put you on cruise control… Your body needs to be challenged if you expect it to change. If you’re not changing reps, weight and hitting your muscles from different angles, you’re not challenging it and, guess what, your body will just cruise through your workout and stay the same. Mix it up and keep your muscles guessing so they grow to keep up with the new demands.
Educate yourself on exercise and nutrition:
There are many books and articles on proper training and nutrition. Asking a professional for help can also have huge benefits. A professional trainer can create a routine that will get you to your goal much faster or can review your current routine and make suggestions that could help you get better results from your efforts. There’s no need to spend too much time in the gym. A good, efficient plan will get you in and out without wasting your time.
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