Do you feel like your workouts aren’t as effective as you’d like them to be? Whether you’re new to your fitness journey or you’re trying to move past a plateau, it might be time to make some changes so you can get the most out of your workouts.
Not sure how to do that? We have some tips. Keep reading for our favorite practical advice for improving your workout routine.
We’ll talk more about specific exercise styles later, but first, let’s talk about one of the best ways to increase the intensity of your workout routine. HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is a game-changer.
HIIT is simple and anyone can do it. It works with all fitness levels and it will grow with you. It’s great for fat loss, stamina, and endurance.
To do HIIT, you’re going to want to go all out for short periods of time. Between those periods, you’re going to rest or slow down significantly.
When we say short periods, we mean 45 seconds or less. Most people stick to 30 seconds. When you’re doing the high-intensity exercise, you shouldn’t be able to last for longer than this amount of time or else you’re not working hard enough.
You can incorporate HIIT into cardio and plyometrics with ease. During your rest periods, feel free to sit down and rest completely. At the very least, march in place or walk to lower your intensity.
Progressive overload is one of the best ways to increase your strength and mass.
Many people start lifting weights and discover that they’re spinning their wheels once they reach a certain level. With progressive overload, you can move beyond that plateau.
Progressive overload requires you to add more weight or repetitions to your routine as soon as it feels “easy.” You can go in small increments as long as you keep moving forward.
Don’t be afraid to stick with one weight or number of repetitions for more than one session. Move on when you’re ready to do so or else you might risk injuries.
Keep in mind that there may be times when you feel weaker. If you have to go back every so often, it’s okay.
Try New Exercise Styles
If you love running or weightlifting, the idea of changing your routine and adding new and different exercises might seem unappealing. In reality, though, this might be the best thing that you can do to build strength and gain muscle. You’ll find yourself pushing through plateaus.
There are plenty of exercise styles that can help you out. While the most basic advice is to add cardio to weight training and vice versa, here are a few more suggestions that you may not have thought of.
Blood Flow Restriction Training
Blood flow restriction training is one of the lesser-known exercise habits. To do this, you’ll cut off blood flow in one area of your body to strengthen it more quickly.
Use cuffs around your arms on arm day and your legs on leg day. In theory, this causes your body to work harder to get blood into these limbs and it can increase your gains.
Be careful when you’re doing this training style and talk to a doctor first if you have a heart condition, a breathing condition, or any other health concerns that may get in the way of this exercise.
Yoga and Pilates
Many people who love more “athletic” training styles scoff at low-intensity and low-impact workouts such as yoga and pilates, but we suggest incorporating them into your workout routine.
Yoga is great for the core. It helps with balance, breathing, and even strength if you choose a fast-paced vinyasa session. It will also help with flexibility which may improve your lifting or running.
Pilates is also good for the core and it’s great for rest days if you want more intensity than yoga without putting too much strain on your muscles. Pilates is also good for post-weightlifting sessions.
If you’re feeling unmotivated and unable to continue your workout routine, why not incorporate classes? This has several benefits.
First, if you choose classes for an exercise that you’ve never done before, you may feel more interested because you’re learning something new. You can try dance classes, rock climbing, or anything else that seems fun.
Many people also enjoy working out in groups because it provides accountability. It’s hard to stay on track alone, but if you’re in a group, you have other people cheering you on.
Leave the gym (or home gym) and join a class.
Incorporate Rest Days
This might seem counterproductive, but adding rest days to your routine (or even taking a week off every now and again) can help you intensify your workouts.
When you work out too often, you can burn out. Your body may feel too sore to work to your full potential and your muscles may resist growth if you overwork them.
You’ll also feel less motivated to continue over time because you’re too tired. Rest days allow your muscles to grow while you take a break.
Some people feel antsy when they don’t get to work out during the day. If this sounds familiar, you can do things on your rest days as long as they’re low-intensity and don’t put any strain on sore muscles.
We suggest trying yoga or pilates on your rest days so you can stretch and relax. You can also take short walks or play a recreational sport.
Improve Your Fitness Journey Today
It’s normal to have roadblocks in your fitness journey. With these tips, though, you should be able to enhance your workout routine and start moving forward again so you can get fit. Don’t let yourself stagnate!
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