I’ve been going to the same gym at approximately the same time of day for years now. Which means that I’ve seen many of the same people day after day, week after week, year after year. With the exception of looking a few years older, many of them look exactly the same. Some of them even look fatter and in worse shape than ever before. Back in the day, my high school baseball coach used to scream, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” Too bad he doesn’t work at the gym; those words of wisdom could really help some of these people right about now.
If you feel your workouts are stagnating, here are a couple of tips to get you back on track.
Mix it up
Alternate days between aerobic exercise and weight lifting. Remember, weight lifting releases testosterone into your bloodstream and raises your metabolism. Aerobic activity lowers insulin levels which is essential for reducing stored fat in the body. Simply put, these are two different types of exercise affecting two different hormonal systems.
Turn up the intensity
If you can have a conversation or read your Nook while you are working out, then you aren’t working hard enough. Let’s face it, if you and your girlfriend can talk about American Idol while you are doing 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, then you are one notch above walking around the shopping mall. Remember, you can’t have a workout without the work! This needs to be difficult, and by the end of your workout you should be absolutely exhausted. I know my workout is a success when my shirt is soaked with perspiration. Ultimately, you get out of it what you put into it.
Perform full-body workouts on weightlifting days
Stick to the most basic compound movements (such as bench presses, pull-downs and squats) to work all major muscle groups in your body. Eliminate isolation movements such as bicep curls, press downs and wrist curls. As a rule of thumb, the farther the weight moves, the better the exercise is for you.
Stick to lean protein and dark-colored carbohydrates
Remember, you can never out work a bad diet. You may have burned 500 calories during that amazing workout, but the French toast that’s drowning in strawberry syrup has 1100 calories. That means you’d have to go back to the gym for over another hour just to break even. Muscles may be made in the gym, but abs are made in the kitchen. Just because you are exercising daily doesn’t mean you can eat carelessly and expect to get into great shape.
Use these tips to boost your results, and get into the best shape of your life.