In theory, I don't believe in a quick fix. They don't really exist in my opinion, but there are very simple things you can do today, tomorrow and for the rest of the coming week that will help you move more quickly and efficiently toward your fitness goals.
1. Work Out at Least Four Times
If you want to see results, you have to put in the work. I tell my new clients that they'll see the best results if they are working out four-plus times per week. This gives you enough time to hit the weights and target all the major muscle groups and get in a good amount of cardio too.
Now, some of you may already be working out four times a week, excellent work, why not throw in another session? Depending on your goals, try some high intensity interval training or even some powerlifting. Mix it up.
2. Warm Up Properly
This advice is as old as the hills, but it still surprises me how many people I see throwing weights around before they've warmed up properly. Making sure you prime your body for what's ahead will help you get the most out of your workout and keep you injury-free.
A good warm up should leave you a little sweaty and out of breath and include flexibility and mobility exercises that get your heart rate going, stretch your muscles and challenge your range of motion.
3. Train Hard, Rest Less
Most people I see at the gym are just going through the motions, and not even with much urgency. Low to medium effort = lackluster results. If you're at the gym, you're there to work, remember that. I always ask myself, on a scale of 1 to 10, how hard am I working right now? It had better be in the 8-10 range.
Less rest at the gym should equate to a more efficient workout and increased results -- you'll burn more calories, save time and squeeze in way more exercises.
4. Focus on Compound Exercises
Compound exercises utilize multiple joints and usually incorporate multiple muscle groups at the same time. Exercises of this kind are at the heart of power lifting, Olympic lifting and CrossFit. Doing compound exercises will help you burn more calories than a simple isolated single joint movement.
As will all exercises, start with a weight that's light and comfortable for you. Get used to how it feels before you start challenging yourself with heavy loads.
5. Do Something That Sucks
If you think something really sucks, then the chances are it's challenging your body in ways that you're not used to. This is excellent news! I do bikram yoga once or twice a week and about 70 minutes in, I swear I'm never going back! But, I go back. It's rough, I'm not very good at it, but I know I'm getting a good workout.
Doing things that suck is a great way to burn calories, work harder and challenge yourself in new ways that help iron out imbalances you might have. Put something sucky in your calendar this week. Results will follow.
6. Master Your Form
For me, bad form is terrifying. Bad form means hampered results, inefficient use of energy and most worrying of all, injury. If you're unsure about how to perform a particular exercise then ask. Ask a trainer, ask your friends, ask the Internet. The information you need is out there.
If something feels wrong, the chances are it is wrong. Stop. Take some time out and find out how it's really done. There's no shame in chasing the best version of something.
7. Up the Ante
Your body is an amazing thing. It'll adapt very quickly to whatever you throw at it. So quickly in fact that if you don't keep making it more challenging then your results will start to diminish. If your body is a little better than it was last week, then you need to make your workouts harder this week to keep moving forward.
Add a few more pounds, reduce your rest periods or just add a few more reps. All these little changes can add up to big results.
- Jamie Galloway
Photo Credit: Flickr