Any regular gym goer (and especially non gym goers) know that feeling of frustration after spending hours at the gym and feeling like you’re getting nowhere.
While a lot of motivational posts may say just getting to the gym is an achievement, let’s face it, yes it’s a step in the right direction but it’s not enough to get you to your goal. An effective workout doesn’t need to be 4 hours long, but it does need to be hard to make a difference; if it was easy, everyone would do it, right?
High intensity interval training refers to the alternating of intense anaerobic stints and calmer recovery periods which have been proven to improve fitness levels quicker than other less intense training methods. Furthermore, HIIT training oxygenates your brain making you more clear headed and boosts metabolism, even at resting rates.
HIIT is not for the faint hearted and requires maximum effort in the high pace sections (maximum heart rate = 220 – your age), which can only safely be achieved with a good level of fitness to begin with so it a is great way to maximise your gym sessions rather than make them. Start with one session a week and build up to three, the recommended maximum even for the fittest of gym goers.
Despite having been around for a while, protein shakes are only just becoming standardised in gyms. Previously regarded as only for bodybuilders and super hench guys, the protein market has broken out into the mainstream.
This is for good reason too, anyone participating in regular exercise and looking to see positive results requires a much higher intake of protein and nutrients that it’s not always easy to incorporate into your daily diet.
Protein shakes are now becoming much more sophisticated and so there are numerous ingredients catering to different desired benefits as well as flavours so they can be enjoyable as well as beneficial.
While they may add an extra expense to your monthly gym membership its almost not worth having one without the other. Do your research on which products will help you reach your goal and try a few different brands out before you invest in a big batch. Generally speaking, you tend to get what you pay for and the higher end products tend to offer the best results.
Going to the gym with a friend can sometimes be more of a distraction than a motivation, especially if you’re good friends that like to hang out. Choosing a training partner from your gym where your interest is primarily in fitness can be a much better driver.
While it can be seen as an ego bruiser, it is much better to find someone significantly better than you to work with. Rather than sulk that you’re not the strongest or fittest in the room, you can use them as your motivation and strive to be as good as them. This will push you much harder than chatting to your mate about going down the pub at the weekend.
While it is tempting to keep yourself busy between reps, checking your phone or going to get a drink, these procrastinations will be compromising the effects of your workout.
To keep yourself focused and engaged try keeping rest breaks under 1 minute by using a stopwatch and focusing on your breathing for this time. This ensures that your workouts are more concentrated and effective (the same method HIIT uses) and also shortens them somewhat so you can get out of there quicker.
To avoid overtraining and to keep yourself motivated it is important to treat yourself to some time off. This not only allows your body to replenish itself leaving you with more energy to work harder when you return, but also cheat days are known to boost metabolism and obviously make you much happier in the long run.
There are also protein shakes formulated to specifically help muscle recovery after a workout, those that include whey proteins help to replenish the protein muscles lose during intense exercise, while magnesium is often included to reduce tiredness and fatigue. By helping you to recover quicker, protein supplements get you back in the gym quicker so you can train harder and more often.
It also goes without saying that any fitness regime must be accompanied by a healthy diet and lifestyle in order to have the positive effect you’re after. My Fitness Pal is really useful for keeping on top of your total intakes and helps to keep you motivated.
Thanks for reading! Do you have any workout improvement tips that we have missed? Let us know in a comment below!