(BPT) - Whether you’re hitting the gym to get healthy, tone up or improve your overall well-being, seeing results can be one of the most satisfying feelings. Noticing even the smallest change in the way you feel or look is reason enough to lace up your sneakers for another sweat session.
When results seem to plateau or schedules get busy, don’t give up! Keep the below tips in mind to help maximize your fitness routine and stay on track.
1) Find a workout buddy
Instead of flying solo, bring a friend so you can encourage each other during your workouts. Exercising with a buddy can breed healthy competition, but also hold you accountable. To help maximize the impact, try to pick a partner that is on the same fitness level as you and shares similar goals — you will want to be able to increase your intensity level and challenge each other as a team.
2) Fuel up
An active lifestyle requires proper nutrition. When regularly exercising, your body needs fuel for optimal performance and proper recovery. Before a workout, opt for healthy and easily digestible carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa, whole-grain bread and pasta, fruits and vegetables to give you energy. Afterward, try a protein-packed snack like Emergen-C Protein Fuel and Superfoods. With 15 grams of organic plant-based protein and two full servings of 14 superfoods, the protein and superfood powder blend can help you make the most of your active time by providing the wholesome nourishment you need, along with supporting your natural defenses with a high potency serving of vitamin C.
3) Head to the weights
If your fitness goals include improving body composition and losing weight, you may want to introduce strength training into your regimen. While exercises such as walking, running and cycling can do wonders for your cardiovascular health and help burn calories, strength training with weights can elevate your metabolism for a longer period — meaning your body will continue burning calories even after a workout. Plus, strength training can target and tone hard-to-reach muscles, improve balance and help protect your bones.
4) Switch it up
After a while, bodies can grow accustomed to the same exercise routine, often leading to stalled results. If you find yourself breezing through a workout, it’s time to switch it up and push your limits. Varying your exercises can challenge your mind and body, help burn more calories and prevent boredom. If you like to run long distances, try implementing sprint intervals. At the gym? Try out new equipment or vary your reps. Challenge your body and you may be surprised by the results.
5) Take a break
The last way to maximize your fitness routine has nothing to do with the gym at all. In fact, it requires you to skip the gym. Exercise provides many health benefits, but too many high-intensity workouts can backfire, potentially causing injury from overuse and hindering your results. Allow your body enough time to heal before hitting the gym again and try to work active rest days into your schedule, such as going for a light walk or bike ride.
Keeping these tips in mind can help you make the most of your fitness routine and magnify your efforts in the gym, on the track, in the pool or wherever you choose to exercise. Above all, don’t hesitate to ask fellow gym-goers for help or to make modifications when something feels off.
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Cardiovascular exercise may promote a positive mood, better cognitive function and reduce diabetes risk, but only if you do it right. Here's tips how
(BPT) - Does your exercise routine live and die by the treadmill? Does your workout consist of an hour on the elliptical? While you can't ignore the positive impact aerobic exercise has on your health, it may not be the dream weight-loss solution you hope for.
"It seems an awful lot of people walk, jog, run and cycle on a regular basis, hoping the time spent on the treadmill, bike or trail will equate to drastic weight loss results," says Paul Kriegler, registered dietitian and nutrition program manager for Life Time Fitness. "There's a fair amount of research on how much cardio is best for realizing health benefits, but there are a few factors that could be compromising those benefits for you."
You're doing cardio, but moving less throughout the rest of the day.
Think about this: you wake up early, get to your health club and work hard for a solid hour, spinning your legs until they feel like jelly. A puddle of sweat surrounds your bike and your heart rate monitor says you burned 950 calories. That's great, until later on, you forgo your normal walking break because you feel too worn out. And later that evening, you catch a nap before dinner rather than walking the dog or mowing the lawn. People often justify inactivity in the hours after a strenuous workout. Most experts recommend getting the majority of your movement throughout the day instead of condensing it into one particular segment.
You're doing too much cardio.
The health benefits of cardiovascular training appear to begin after around 30 minutes of moderate intensity four to five days per week, totaling around 150 minutes. When it comes to cardio, more isn't always better, especially if you don't give your body time to recover. According to an article titled "Effect of the volume and intensity of exercise training on insulin sensitivity," published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, opting for long, frequent sessions is often less effective than shorter, higher intensity. Doing long sessions of cardio, more than 60 minutes, is rarely necessary unless you're training for a specific event. Another observational study of recreational joggers suggest you're better off capping your strict cardio time at 30 minutes and including several days per week of resistance training.
You think cardio means "I get to eat extra calories without consequence."
While exercising to burn off some energy may give you a little room for forgiveness, exercising to prepare for or undo poor eating habits doesn't guarantee you results. In fact, according to a study in PubMed, large amounts of cardio training have been shown to induce compensatory eating patterns, especially in women. It's easy to get into this mindset, but exercise is far more than just a way to expend calories. Well-planned, properly executed bouts of activity can stimulate your body to go through incredible changes, but not if you're using food as a reward.
All your cardio sessions are the same.
Cardio can be helpful for getting a little solitude or zone out time, but doing the same workout every day when you're looking for results is definitely not the answer. A good exercise program incorporates variability from one workout to the next. Your body has a few major energy systems, and they all need to be challenged over time. Try an Active Metabolic Assessment from Life Time to scientifically determine your most efficient heart rate zones so you can exercise smarter.
Cardiovascular exercise may promote a positive mood, better cognitive function and reduce diabetes risk, but only if you do it right. Take these factors into consideration the next time you lace up your gym shoes and hop on the nearest cardio machine.
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