Please to enjoy a semi-adult post up in herre.
Please to not let me stop at six.
Please to chime in with 7+ in the comments.
Whether you have all the time in the world at your disposal (ahhh sweet, sweet pre-child freedom) or only a few minutes in which to cardioyogaliftbikewhatevs your way to health, there are some easy ways to be sure you squeeze the most out of your workout experience.
The below are in no specific order as, in my opinion, we all need to rank them for ourselves according to our unique fitness and healthy living goals.
1. Don’t chat.
Buckle down and make your exercise time one of complete focus. If you’re uncomfortable donning an unwelcoming “mess with the bull and you’ll get the horns” face try kicking your workout up a notch or five! If people see you working at a level where you *could* carry on a conversation but it would be a challenge they’re less apt to try & chat you up.
(Note: This tip isn’t for everyone & is precisely what I was referencing above. Your gym time may actually be an opportunity to socialize with adults after a morning spent scraping wet goldfish crackers from your shirt (not that Id know a thing about that). If socializing is, indeed, part of your exercise experience just be certain you still complete your intended workout.)
2. Plan ahead.
This is an obvious one yet, as with the ‘park far from the gym entrance and burn extra calories by walking’ idea, one which many of us still fail to do. Always take a moment to jot down/plan out your workout prior to starting. In addition, should you exercise at a gym facility, it’s wise to arrived armed with a Plan B. That way, if the equipment you wish to use /the class you planned to take be occupied/full, you’ve no built-in excuse to throw in the proverbial towel and head back home.
3. Change. Change. Change.
Keeping your workouts fresh and avoiding an exercise rut is crucial. And, if you’re under any sort of time constraints, you want to be even more careful not to let your body plateau. Change your routine every 6-8 weeks so your body (& mind) doesn’t have the opportunity to grow complacent and stale.
Routine changes don’t need to be dramatic. If you typically do long bouts of cardio try introducing some interval training into the mix. If you tend to gravitate toward weight machines give resistance bands or free weights a try! Taken the same 9am Body Pump class for months? Perhaps it’s time to step outside and power walk.
Sure, you can mix things up too much by trying a new workout on a daily basis, but we all know when our body is plain ole used to & burnt out on what we’re currently doing. Keeping your body guessing is a sure way to consistently increase your fitness level.
4. Proper form.
No matter what your workout of choice always check to be certain you’re doing it correctly. This tip may sound like a no-brainer yet ponder the last time you were at the gym or walking/running outside. Did you notice anyone and think “Holy moley! She is going to injure herself.” or (and be honest) “Whoa. That’s not how you do that exercise!” & cringe inwardly?
Whether it’s hiring a personal trainer for a session or two, asking an instructor for extra help, or renting a video so you can practice at home: good form is a *huge* way to get more from any time you spend exercising.
5. Set yourself up for success.
As with all things in life, it’s important to create a workout routine which facilitates your success! Sleep in your exercise clothes so you wake up ready to go, set multiple alarms, find a workout partner, ask a friend to email you at the end of the workday to be sure you’re heading to exercise: take the time to discover what best propels you toward success and harness that energy.
I am a firm believer in visualizing success in all aspects of my life. I know if I cannot imagine something occurring there’s a pretty good chance it’s not destined to happen. I visualize everything I’m working to create in my life (please to see my vivid vision of plopping on Oprah’s couch before she wraps up her show & cross reference under my fabulous book launch soiree) and exercise is no different.
Make the time to mentally see yourself perform successfully and you’ll begin to gain confidence in your ability to be successful in reality.
Take a moment (before you commence your workout) to visualize exactly what your exercise time will look like. Incorporate all senses so you can virtually feel, hear, and touch the experience you’re about to have. Sports psychologists have found visualization key to self-confidence and motivation.
Please to hit us all up in the comments with YOUR biggest tip for workout success.
Anything from sleeping in your running clothes to plastering your ‘fridge with motivational quotes.
(Extra credit if it’s something you’ve already learned in these first 48 days of 2010.)
Edited to say: Ive added my own AH HA! moment from this morning in comment 21.