In our last edition of The XSport Life, we discussed how to address the issue of working out long term, with weight loss or fat burning goals that you haven’t been able to reach yet.
That might mean it’s time for an exercise makeover. Switching your focus, changing your pace and increasing your intensity are all good approaches. First, because exercise plans and routines are often abandoned when they don’t bring the level of results people are looking for, or when they start to get dull and monotonous.
But, much like yo-yo dieting, it’s not useful to go in and out of cycles of all or nothing approaches to your fitness routine. As we reviewed in Part I of this topic, our bodies respond positively to variety beyond the standard cardio or strength regimes.
Here are more tricks to consider as you makeover your exercise habit.
Redefine Your Exercise
- Get the Music In You. There’s something to be said for moving to music. It doesn’t necessarily need to be timed, either—if you’re lifting, a rousing heavy metal playlist might be the motivation you need to add more weight, or progress your exercises. And if you’re typically moving at a more controlled pace to the sound of your breath alone, walking or running music can actually help you pick up your tempo. Experiment with finding the right songs for you, or download a cardio playlist specially designed to support your pace.
- Be more Intense. In Part I we suggested upping the intensity, and adding intervals to your routine. It’s popular advice, because this approach has been shown to work extremely well. And it’s a more efficient way to amp up your metabolism and burn fat, too. At XSport, we have a special class for members that not only focuses on high-intensity interval training, it is customized to your own body’s needs through monitoring of your heart rate. If you haven’t sampled your free session of X-IT Interval Training yet, click this link and give it a try!
- Try In-Between Exercises. The same schedule and/or the same set of exercises in your routine, earns you an A for consistency, but it also might be limiting for no reason. Whenever you think of it, do a few reps of something else that will compliment your regular activity. How about throwing in a plank to hold after a sprint? What about adding in some squats before and after you Salute the Sun? And no need to limit this to the gym. Next time you’re on a bike ride you can break for some calf raises, or in between washing windows, you can do shoulder and hip stretches.
- Change Directions. Here’s how you can go backward to help you move forward with your exercise makeover! Also sideways, diagonally, downhill and uphill. The changes in direction you add to your most familiar movements can make something entirely new out of them. Taking stairs sideways, for example, activates more of the muscles that surround the hip. If you walk, a flat surface can only take you so far—add those hills for a greater effect.
And remember, there are two aspects to each resistance exercise as well. If you normally emphasize the flex (or concentric) portion of a move, which shortens your muscle, refer back to Part I for a refresher on switching that up to emphasize the eccentric (extension) aspect.