Making it to the gym is already a big accomplishment – but while you’re at the gym, are you making the most out of your time and efforts for immediate results? Truth be known, it takes 3,500 calories to burn off a pound of fat. If you want to lose 2-3 pounds of fat per week, you must choose to eat better and work out efficiently to achieve these results. What you do at the gym will determine what your results will be and how quickly or slowly you progress towards your goals. You don’t have to spend longer hours at the gym – although that works too. But if you are stuck for time, the trick is to maximize your efforts in the time spent at the gym. There’s no need to ditch your current workout to see more results. You just need to learn how to rev it up.
How to make it work
The goal is to keep your body in motion and keep your heart pumping at a challenging and steady rate throughout your entire workout. By incorporating high-intensity bouts of exercise in between your sets of strengthening exercises you will not only get your adrenaline pumping, burn more calories and increase your stamina and endurance, but you will get lean faster and can burn an extra 300 calories or more per hour. The extra bonus is that it will speed up your metabolism to help you burn even more calories after your workout. I’ve listed a number of moves that you can easily add to your existing workout. The next time you’re at the gym, try adding one or more of these moves to fire up your workout. Do the moves for 30-90 seconds in between each set of strengthening exercises. Shorter intervals allow for very little rest between sets making the exercises more intense and challenging. Choose the intensity that is right for you.
Control for Form and Safety
Appropriate clothing and footwear can impact your performance. All exercise clothing should be comfortable and permit freedom of movement. Choose clothing made out of fabrics that allow “wicking” action, sending perspiration away from the body. There are many new blends of fabrics now that serve this action. You want to wear clothes that allow your body to breathe and sweat appropriately. Clothes made out of cotton are also a good option.
As for your footwear, ensure that it fits the length and width of your feet properly and that it provides you with good ankle support and cushion for bounce. Soft-soled running or cross-training shoes are good choices.
When exercising, be careful to avoid locking or twisting your joints. Always keep your toes pointed in the same direction as your knees and don’t let your knees fall inward. Doing this will help to avoid putting severe stress on your ligaments. And always keep your stomach muscles strong and firm to prevent you from putting stress on your lower back during your exercises.
When jogging or jumping always do so on softer surfaces whenever possible (e.g. rubber or wooden flooring would definitely take preference over concrete)
Always remember to warm up and cool down
You might be short on time and may want to get started on your workout as soon as you get to the gym, but it’s always a good idea to make time for a proper warm-up. A cool-down is also needed at the end of your workout to gradually reduce your body temperature and to help the removal of waste products in the body. This helps reduce the chances of stiff and sore muscles the next day. Begin and end your workout with 5-10 minutes of low-intensity cardio exercise.
Monitor your intensity
Use the talk test as a simple way to gauge your intensity level and ensure that you are not overworking. If you cannot hold a conversation while working out, you are working yourself too hard – slow down. Keep yourself challenged but don’t overdo it.
Jump – jump on the spot either with your legs moving inwards and outwards or alternating your legs forward and backwards. You can further increase the intensity by involving more muscles in the movement – move your arms upwards and downwards from your sides or forwards and backwards vertically.
Hop – hop on one leg for 10 reps and then do the same for the other leg. Do this for 30-90 seconds. You can try different patterns too. Hop on the spot, back and forth or even side to side. Make sure the number of reps that you do for each leg is even.
Skip Rope – skipping rope is high intensity and many variations can be used to make your skipping more interesting. Jump rope with your feet together, alternate hopping on one foot, cross the rope in your jumps, jump high or jump low – these are all ways to make your skipping more funky.
Mountain Climbers – on the floor in a pushup position rest on your toes and keep your palms flat on the floor. Jump one leg in towards your chest. Alternate jumping one leg in towards your chest while keeping the other leg extended back behind you. Keep control over the movement to ensure that you don’t bounce using your lower back. Remember to keep your abdominals strong and firm.
Jog – the classic jog on the spot is easy and simple. If you want to take it up a notch, jog faster or lift your knees up higher.
Steps – set up a step 4 to 8 inches high; step onto it with right foot (make sure that your whole foot lands on the step), step up with left foot; then back down with right and back down with your left. You control how hard you work by simply altering the height of your step to increase or decrease your range of movements.
Every month Anna Wong, personal fitness trainer to the stars, will be writing a column for Asiance Magazine. This column is dedicated to your questions and concerns in health and fitness. Your suggestions and requests are welcome. This column is for you so your feedback is important. To contact Anna, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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