There’s that word again, exercise! We all know we have to do it. With most people leading busy lives it can be a challenge to find the time for exercise, there often seems to be stuff that just gets in the way. I encourage people to find their exercise why, I wrote an article on this last year, click here to read. If you are struggling to get stay motivated to exercise, read this article. Because unless you find your why to exercise you may find yourself not being consistent and therefore not getting results.
In this article I will give my 3 top tips to get better results from exercise, AKA Get fitter. I will share from my personal experience. I am not a personal trainer or formally trained in the industry. However, I am 50 years old and I am very fit and healthy, have won and placed in several Crossfit competitions and do this without smashing my body and training like madman.
- Interval or high intensity interval training (HIIT)
This is a method of training that has been proven to get better results (get fitter) and to burn more fat. It is simple, can be performed anywhere with minimal or no equipment and is very time efficient. It involves picking a movement that will get your heart rate up and then working at maximum effort for a short period of time and then resting for a short period for a total of between 4-10 mins. On of my favourites is “Tabata”. Tabata is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 secs of rest for 8 rounds (4mins). For beginners you can reverse the work to rest ratio. There are free Tabata timers on the app stores. You can make up a ratio yourself, for example 30 secs work, 30 secs rest for 5 rounds. Choose a movement that will raise your heart rate and you can hold at a good pace for the work period. Some examples include; squats, skipping, sprinting, running on the spot, jumping jacks, sit ups, push ups, for some it may even be super brisk walking. I would suggest performing interval training following a 20-30 minute period of something that produces at least a slight sweat. If you don’t have time for that 20-30 minutes before hand that’s OK just do some stretches to get the blood flowing first. If you perform interval exercise 3-5 times a week you will feel an improvement in overall fitness in 3-6 weeks.
- Exercise with a friend
Or join a gym with group fitness classes (Crossfit is great for this, read my article on “The Truth About Crossfit” here). This will hold you accountable, give you someone to motivate and inspire you, and you the same for them, and might be the difference between you getting out of bed or not, at least for the first few weeks. It also provides a basic human need, interaction with others and to feel part of something bigger. It’s a perfect excuse to “catch up” with someone on a regular basis . And when you train together or in a group you become part of the process of others achieving their goals as well as your own, this will help you feel part of something bigger.
- Train in the morning
A lot of you are going to not like this suggestion, sorry. There are a couple of really good reasons for this strategy. If we schedule training for first thing in the morning we are less likely to find excuses for not training, such as “I got held up at work”, or “the traffic was terrible”. After work or in the back half of the day is when there are so many other things to do, you know what I mean. The other good reason for training in the morning is more of a scientific one. When we wake it’s normally about 12 hours since we have eaten and the body has normally completed the digestion process from the night/day before. It’s at this point that the body goes into Ketosis and will use fat for fuel, rather than sugars. This is a good thing, burning fat. Now some of you might be saying to yourself “I can’t exercise on an empty stomach”, well yes you can. Many people including myself do it every day. All it takes is some will power and discipline. My number tip to stop the mind telling you are hungry in the morning is to drink at one litre of water as soon as you can after you get out of bed, you are dehydrated anyway so why wouldn't you. The more you do train in the morning the easier it will be as you will be feeling better and have more energy, stick with it.
If you want to get more from your exercise than you are currently getting or you are just starting out or returning to regular exercise gives these a tips a try . You can even measure your results, for example, you could count the amount of repetitions you get in a Tabata workout for a particular movement/s for your first one and then check in again after 3 weeks of regular sessions. If you have an iHealth sauna use it to enhance recovery and if you don’t have one and would like to know more about sauna ownership..
Good luck, stay consistent and keep an eye on your “why”