6 Ways To Maximize Your Workout
It’s Thursday, and as our weekend approaches all of us here at H3 are anxiously awaiting our co-worker, Jeffrey Ford’s, first Ironman competition! As many of us sit and contemplate how physically and mentally challenging his competition will be, we express much gratitude for Jeff’s commitment, hard work and determination. Simply stated, we are in awe! Therefore, in the brief moment that we struggle with our own exercise motivation, our minds shift to the thought of Jeff who will be spending nearly 12+ hours on Sunday swimming, biking and running. If he can hold strong for 12 hours, we can do just about anything for 60 minutes. Thus, for those of us who constantly struggle with trying to fit exercise in or finding the motivation to do so, this blog post may help you. Today, paradoxically, I offer you suggestions—all of which hold the intention to help maximize your workout!
- Add incline. If you are using cardio machines, biking and/or walking outdoors, hills are your ticket! Hills are a greater challenge and spike more of a caloric burn. In fact, in this week’s Treading class we embraced hill intervals for the entire duration of the class. (Huge shout out to Kevin Weiland! He embraced my hill intervals and climbed strong; in fact, side-by-side with me the entire class!)
- Don’t hold on. Embracing the “death grip” or holding on to the handles or console of a cardio machine feels easier for a reason. It shifts the weight off your lower body, ultimately, encouraging you to not utilize your legs. Legs, being the largest muscle group, help to increase caloric burn when used. When not using your legs, you will not be working as hard. Resist the urge to lean or grip/pull at the machine; simply relax, let go of all tension, and focus on good posture/proper spinal alignment and lower body engagement.
- Try intervals. Alternating between higher intensity and lower intensity bursts within a single workout help to improve your fitness level. It also scorches calories; thus, helping to burn more fat than exercising at a single steady pace. To begin, try short intervals: 10-30 seconds of high-intensity exercise, followed by recovery intervals of 1-2 minutes of lower intensity moves. Repeat the intervals throughout your workout.
- Get on the circuit train. Keep your heart rate up, stoke your metabolism, and get more done in a single workout by moving quickly from one exercise to the next to diminish downtime (i.e. ULTRA circuit!).
- Use more muscle. Try incorporating combination exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once. This will save you time, as well as maximize your strength set (i.e.: squats with a row; lunges with overhead shoulder press/lateral raise, etc.).
- Lower slower. Use the “2:4” count ration when strength training. Take two seconds to lift (concentric phase) and take four seconds to return the weight to start position (eccentric phase). Research shows that concentrating on the eccentric phase helps to promote strength gains.