It's January, so the flow of questions regarding exercise and nutrition is heavy. Resolutions have spawned all around and people are making every effort to stick to their new healthy routines. It's great because the action level is high; it's bad because some will take on too much and possibly hurt themselves. This is where I come in to try and make sense of the workouts being performed. I can tweak little things that will make you more successful in reaching your fitness goals.
Recently, I got an email that detailed someone's new 2013 exercise routine. I looked it over carefully and realized that many new trainees make the same mistakes. Additionally, more often than not, the questions are the same from person to person. The mistakes found in the exercise programming, exercise technique, and even nutrition are all very similar. This allows me to assess where the most common misunderstandings lie, and to offer advice that will help most people.
Okay, you've committed to getting fit and healthy 2013. There is a lot to think about when it comes to making the most of your workouts. Here are my three tips for getting the best results possible:
1. Warm Up!
If you want to make sure you don't hurt yourself, then you need to adopt a thorough warmup. Just elevating your body temperature by walking on a treadmill or spending 15 minutes on an elliptical machine is not sufficient. The key is to get each part of your body moving by performing a functional warmup. This ensures that your upper body, core, and lower body are ready for action. You can use my warmup, if you would like. It includes things such as shoulder circles, hip circles, planks, and spidermans. Not sure what those are? Then check it out here.
2. Save Single-Joint Exercises for the End
Everybody loves to do bicep curls. I'm not sure if it's because we all want nice arms, or if it's just because everyone knows how to do them. Either way, save them for the end. If you work your arms before going to the bigger muscle groups like your back or chest, then you will be too tired to maximize the benefit of training the bigger muscle groups. You need your arms to be fresh if you want to perform pull-ups, rows, pushups, or shoulder presses with good form. Yes, it's okay to mix things up. However, you should only break these basic rules if you are advanced and know exactly why you're doing it. Otherwise stick to this progression and you'll get fit faster and safer.
3. Do Full-Body Workouts
Unless you're a body builder or fitness model who's working out six times a week, don't split up your training days into muscle groups. Most people struggle to get three to four workouts in per week. Trying to split up body parts will result in missed opportunity to burn fat and get lean. Instead, perform workouts that have a leg movement, a pull, a press, and core work every time you hit the weights. This will not only ensure you get all the important exercises in, but it will also tax your body more. This helps you to burn more fat by releasing gut-busting hormones in your body.
It's great to be an action taker and get moving toward your goal. I always say the best fitness program is the one that you will do. However, it's really important to make sure you understand what you're doing. It's very easy to get caught up and do too much. Your first priority should be safety. If you train incorrectly and hurt yourself, then your resolutions and goals will go out the window. In the fitness industry, this is a mistake I see far too often. Being healthy is a lifestyle. You don't need to sprint toward fitness. If you take your time and gradually make the changes necessary to get healthy, you'll meet your goals.
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