Do you want to get stronger, fitter, leaner, and just plain look good without spending every moment in the gym? It’s possible that you’re not getting the most out of your workout time.
Keep in mind that you have to work up to doing high intensity workouts, start out slower and then increase to this type of format. The following plan is intended for people who have already been working out but want to see better results, quicker, and spend less time doing it.
- Limit your workouts to 30-40 minutes. It’s better to work out at a higher intensity for a shorter amount of time.
- High-intensity workouts. If you’re just starting out with exercise, it’s best to take it slow. If you’re running or cycling, for example, build up your endurance for at least a month before you get into anything more intense. That means going at a rate where you can easily talk without being out of breath and sounding like Kermit the Frog . However, once you have that base of endurance, step up the intensity to step up the effectiveness of the workout.
- Protein. Get protein in your muscles so it can build mass. If you don’t, you are going to get less out of your workout.
- Water. Make it a habit to drink water regularly throughout the day.
- Drink before Workout. The preworkout shake or drink must have protein and carbohydrates. Carbs are our body’s main source of fuel. If you do intense workouts, you will need carbs, or you won’t have enough energy. Taking it before your workout increases the flow of amino acids to your muscles during training, giving them the building blocks they need.
- Drink after workout. After the workout shake or drink, stimulates muscle growth. Also take a small protein/carb meal 60-90 minutes after a workout or a meal replacement bar.
- Slow lifting. Many people contract their muscles slowly and then release more quickly. But if you lift slowly in both directions, you are maximizing each move. Lift and lower to a 5-second count in each direction.
- Heavier weight. It’s best to lift the heaviest weights you can lift while still keeping good form. Don’t sacrifice form for heavy weights — that is ineffective. But heavy weights, with good form, can give you better results in a shorter amount of time.
- Compound exercises. Instead of isolating your muscles with exercises such as the bicep curl, you can maximize the time you spend in a workout by doing exercises that work out multiple muscle groups at once. With just a few exercises, you could get a full-body workout. Another benefit is that your muscles are working together as they do in the real world, rather than alone. Some great compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, good mornings, lunges, pushups, bench presses, military presses, rows, pullups, dips, and more.
- Balance lifting. Instead of having exercises where you’re sitting down or holding on to something or otherwise stabilized, it’s more effective to do them standing up, or on one leg, or on an exercise ball. These types of exercises force you to balance yourself while lifting, which brings your core muscles into play. This gives you a stronger overall body and allows you to lift more over time.
- Pick a cardio exercise you enjoy. Pick something that’s fun. running, walking, swimming, biking, hiking, rowing, stairmaster, etc. After the initial phase when you’re getting used to exercise, you’ll start to have a blast and look forward to it.
- Mix it up. Don’t stick to the same workout routine for too long, or your body will adjust to the stress level and you won’t be getting an effective workout. For strength training, change your routine every few weeks. For cardio, it’s best to cross train rather than, say, to run every time.
- Good form. For strength training especially, and swimming, form is very important, but it’s also important for other types of exercise. If you’re strength training, start with lighter weights so you can work on your form. Never sacrifice form for heavier weight.
- Hills. If you run or walk on a treadmill, you’ll want to incorporate hills (Incline). These will make you stronger and make your limited workout time even more effective. Take them easy at first, but once you’re used to hills, you can get a good pace going.
- Circuits. One mistake that people make is to do multiple sets of the same exercise without rest between the sets. This doesn’t allow your muscles to recover and it’s a waste of your workout. But instead of doing a set, resting, and then doing your second set, it’s more effective to move on to multiple exercises in a circuit, so that you don’t rest between exercises but do rest each muscle group. This will give you a good cardio workout while you do your strength training.
Remember, these high-intensity workouts are not for people just starting out. You should build up an endurance base before doing the high-intensity cardio, and start the weights with lighter weights, stressing good form.
Written by: Robert Blair; Staff Writer
ROBERT BLAIR is the Operational Manager of WhenEver Fitness, editor of fitness-news, has been in the fitness industry since 2010, and is a certified personal trainer. He attended the UW-Superior and Brown College for Media Creation, Design and Television Production. From 1992 to 2000, he had written and produced several films, music videos, and video advertisements. He has now been able to combine those skills of fitness and media creation to produce high-quality fitness productions and articles. (Click for Bio/Contact)