- No time for the gym? Consider killing two birds with one stone by switching up your commute. I’ve gotten in the habit of running to or from work. Biking and waking up a bit early for a brisk walk to work can also do the trick. Regardless, aim for about 30 minutes of a moderate to vigorous cardio workout.
- Keep yourself entertained during the workout. This can be anything from creating a energizing playlist on your iPod/mp3 player, watching your favorite TV show, using Wii Fit, or downloading a personal training track to your iPod. If you are one of those people who hate repetition or gets bored on the tredmill, take a dance class! Keeping yourself engaged will make the workout pass quicker and more enjoyable.
- When you didn’t go the gym that day… do not stress, there are a multitude of activities you can do right in the comfort of your own home. Dips while watching TV, abs on your child’s bedroom floor while he/she falls asleep, walking lunges around your living room or running up/down your flight of stairs. For bursts of energy, if you are ever faced with the choice of an elevator or stairs- always opt for the stairs!
- Intervals are key! Interval training is a proven method for reaching your maximum heart rate. Most cardio machines now have an interval option but there are also gym classes that incorporate this type of training. You can also do intervals yourself: sprint for 30 seconds, walk/jog for 1 minute and repeat for up to thirty minutes.
- Mix it up! When you have no motivation, take a spin class (Soul Cycle, Fly Wheels), a weight training class (Whipped!), a dance class (Zumba!), yoga or pilates- these teachers are trained to keep you engaged and to motivate you. Yoga is also a great way to tighten your abs and strengthen your back muscles, which are hardest to strengthen and often get overlooked.
- Don’t forget about weight training. You should aim to do weights 2-3 times a week to build and strengthen your muscles. I target my biceps, triceps and shoulders since those are used least in cardio workouts. And don’t be afraid to use the machines, or grab a body bar- they are there for you!
- Change the channel… to the exercise channel on your TV. There are great exercising tips and new exercises that will keep your work out fresh.
- Dress the part. It may seem silly, but wearing tighter clothes to exercise in will improve your workout. Baggy clothes weigh you down and can get in the way.
- Sip don’t gulp. Make sure you hydrate 30 minutes prior to your workout but only sip your water during it. Also, don’t eat within 30 minutes of beginning exercise because your body will not have digested yet. Post workout, it is important to refuel on electrolytes, protein and some carbohydrates to compensate for essential nutrients that have been lost through sweat during exercise. An apple with peanut butter or a nutritious smoothie fits the bill.
- Stretch!! I know you want to just race out of the gym but you need to cool down your muscles. Be sure to take 5 minutes at the end of your workout to stretch. This will also improve your flexibility!
Source: Heather Bauer
Author of The Wall Street Diet, and
Founder of Nu-Train Nutrition & Diet Counseling