Feeling like you aren’t quite getting those fitness goals achieved? Here are 7 actionable steps that you can take to get yourself back on track.
1. Push Yourself in Every Workout
A wise man once said that anything worth doing is worth doing well. So if you’ve made it to the gym, why not use that time as best you can? Cut the flexing and the chit chat, and earn the shower afterwards.
A good target heart rate is anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age). However, “no pain, no gain” isn’t necessarily true or helpful if you spend the next two weeks recovering, so listen to your body as to when pushing it hard is becoming pushing it too far.
2. Buy Decent Monitoring Equipment
If you’re serious about results, then you need to be serious about capturing them correctly. Most of what you see on the console in front of you on your favorite piece of exercise equipment is not accurate. The “calorie burned” category is an estimate based on a test subject that is ordinarily not in your profile (reads: Conan the Barbarian).
A good heart rate monitor is a solid investment to get a realistic interpretation of your actual output. It will give you a better indication on how effective and efficient your efforts are in achieving your results.
And it should be a monitor that is near to your heart—literally. The farther away from your heart the monitor is, the more inaccurate that reading will be.
Using a chest strap for your monitor has several advantages. You get a more reliable reading and can focus better on your form (especially on those machines where there are hand rests). This means that you will be able to keep a higher pace for better output, and not risk injury in the process.
3. Allow for Recovery
Ever hear of the law of diminishing returns? Basically, it’s a law that says don’t overdo it in one area or the long-term gains will eventually taper off. Often with negative consequences.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t hit it hard. Because you should. But turn the exercise geyser off for a day after a particularly heavy workout, or take an easier routine that focuses on different muscles.
4. Kiss Stress Goodbye
Leave your stress at the desk. It can be a performance buster. Cortisol (the hormone released in stressful situations) has a nasty set of side effects, many of which are likely to turn your workout gains back in the other direction. Good news though. Studies have shown exercise can reduce anxiety and stress.
5. Try a New Routine
It’s easy to fall into the tried-tested-true trap. But familiarity will breed contempt for your results. As you become more proficient at a particular exercise, your body will adapt and build in it’s own efficiencies to help save energy reserves. The idea is to put your machine at a deficit.
Fitday suggests that a daily change in routine can be beneficial, but once a month is still helpful in moving your exercise results needle.
And if you have a favorite type of cardio machine, give it a rest every now and again. Try an Adaptive Motion Trainer or a rowing machine if the bike and the treadmill have logged some serious hours. The idea is make your body uncomfortable. Getting it back to normal comfortability is where the results magic happens.
6. Eat well
There are hundreds of diet options. So many, in fact, that U.S. News ranked the best and worst of them in 2015. And then there are the meal plans for particular exercising goals. Type in best diets for cardio (or just click the link) and you’ll find a few there, too.
Bottom line, find one that you will actually eat properly on. This is another “feed the machine” lesson for staying on track. Pay attention to things like portion control (how much of each carbohydrate, protein and fat group you should be eating). Although you should be as regimented about this as your workout routine, enjoy a cheat day, too.
7. Get Proper Rest
Cars running on empty won’t get very far. So why would you ask your own machine to work on low reserves? If you are in a committed relationship with your fitness results, you can’t cheat on sleep.
The sleep foundation has a helpful infographic recommending ranges of sleep by age for optimal performance. Recharge and refuel. And if you want a better night’s sleep, try this: no caffeine after 6pm, no Arnold movies before bed, and no brain teasers right before you switch the lights out.
At enerG wellness, we understand the need for consistent results. We leverage our relationships with leading exercise equipment brands to create, equip and manage customized onsite fitness facilities, making us a leading fitness and wellness solution provider in the Mid-Atlantic.
Contact us today to see how we can turn your unique vision into a healthy investment.