Tired of your old fitness routine? Want to get better results in less time? Or perhaps you’ve hit a plateau? If so, it’s time to tweak your workout! Simple changes, such as swapping gym machines for free weights and replacing cardio with HIIT, can make all the difference. The whole point is to keep your body guessing and find an approach that works best for you. Forget about cookie-cutter workouts and fancy gym equipment! All you need is a custom exercise plan and good nutrition.
Beware that not even the best workout program can compensate for bad eating. Exercise and diet are equally important. Thus, you might need to change your eating habits. Depending on your goals, boost your protein intake, cut back on carbs, or adjust your daily calories. A balanced diet can take your workouts to the next level and speed up your progress.
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Ready to give it a try? Here are three smart ways to maximize your workout:
Focus on Compound Lifts
Not all exercises are created equal. Some develop core strength and build lean mass. Others boost functional fitness and promote fat loss. Regardless of your goals, compound lifts should be a priority. The squat, deadlifts, pull-ups, push-ups, rows, bench presses, and lunges hit nearly every muscle in your body. They increase muscle size and strength, accelerate your metabolism, and enhance physical performance.
Compound lifts also stimulate the release of anabolic hormones, such as testosterone and HGH. This helps improve body composition and muscle gains. Moreover, compound exercises allow you to lift heavier weights, which further promotes muscle growth and strength. The more muscle you carry, the faster your metabolism. Ideally, compound lifts should account for about 80 percent of your routine.
Cut Back on Cardio
How much time do you spend on the treadmill each day? Is it 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or a full hour? Contrary to popular belief, cardio isn’t the key to leanness. It can actually stall your progress and make it harder to lose weight. Excessive cardio, especially when combined with a calorie deficit, leads to muscle loss.
This form of exercise burns both fat and muscle while increasing cortisol levels. Cortisol, the stress hormone, promotes fat storage and slows down your metabolism. It also increases hunger and puts stress on your joints. Fatigue, low energy, and sugar cravings are common side effects. Additionally, your body adapts to steady state cardio quite fast and begins to preserve calories instead of burning them for fuel. To lose fat and preserve lean mass, keep your cardio session short. Don’t exceed 30-40 minutes per session.
HIIT the Gym Hard
If you’ve been training for a while, you may have heard about HIIT. Minute per minute, this workout method is better for fat loss than cardio. A typical session involves short, intense of exercise followed by rest or less intense exercise. The movements are explosive and heart-pounding, leading to a greater energy expenditure.
With HIIT, you’ll torch stubborn fat while maintaining lean mass. This training method will ignite your fat-burning engine and send your metabolism into overdrive. In the long run, it increases cardiovascular endurance, regulates blood pressure, and improves blood lipid profile. Its health benefits are backed up by science.
The best part is that you won’t spend more than 15 minutes in the gym. HIIT workouts are short and intense, burning a ton of calories. Tabata, the most challenging HIIT routine, takes just four minutes. Actually, you don’t even need a gym to complete your workout. HIIT requires no equipment, so you can do it anytime, anywhere!
Depending on your fitness level, you can experiment with new exercises, add plyometrics to your routine, or perform full body circuits. Keep your workouts varied to shock your muscles into growth. Eat for your goals and hit the gym at least four times a week.
What is your favorite routine? Share with us in the comments below