by Matt Weik
Everyone’s in search of a magic pill to help them achieve the body they’ve always dreamed of. Well, unfortunately it doesn’t exist. So, for that reason, I’m going show you a few things that can help you achieve your dream physique and improve your overall health so long as you put in the work. Let’s get into it.
Use HIIT to knock down time spent in the gym
You’re a busy person. You don’t necessarily want to spend hours in the gym between your weight training along with low intensity steady state cardio. Thank goodness for HIIT. High intensity interval training is the way of the future it seems. You can use a 2:1 ratio of rest to work. So, rather than spending 30-60 minutes on the treadmill, instead you can do two minutes of a walk followed by one minute of a sprint. After the sprint interval, you go back to the walk for two minutes and the cycle repeats. You can do this for five rounds and be done with cardio in as little as 15 minutes. Gone are the days where you feel like you’re going to fall asleep on a piece of cardio equipment out of shear boredom.
Be the tortoise, not the hare
There is no quick fix or easy way out—you need to put in the work day in and day out. Health and fitness is not a race, it’s about consistency and longevity. The reason you are exercising is to better your health and life. While everyone wants to see progress yesterday, you need to look forward and take baby steps to reach your long-term goals. Slow and steady wins the race. It’s you versus you. You don’t need to compete against anyone else in the gym, focus on being consistent with your weight training and cardio and most importantly, pay attention to what you are eating on a daily basis. Weight loss comes down to your nutrition. You can spend hours in the gym, but if you are eating too many calories the weight isn’t going to come off.
Go to the GYM with your BFF
Sometimes we all need a little extra motivation to go to the gym. It’s cold outside. Or it’s hot outside. We have work that we should be getting done in the office or at home. We have a million reasons why we should skip the gym today. If you exercise with a friend or spouse, you’re more likely to hit the gym because you’re held accountable to show up and not bail on your workout buddy. The nice thing is, when you exercise with a friend, you can push each other and have fun at the same time. Both of you are there for the same reason, yet you can socialize and enjoy yourself. Exercise doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience—you just need to find ways to make it fun.
Empty the pantry
Sticking to a clean nutrition plan can be difficult with so many temptations around you. The worst situation to be in is at home when you know the pantry is full of all kinds of tasty treats; chips, pretzels, cookies, candy, etc. Trying to resist the urge is enough to drive anyone mad. For that reason, grab a garbage bag and go raid your pantry. If it isn’t healthy, throw it out or donate it. If it’s in your possession, you’re eventually going to eat it. So, remove all temptation by getting rid of those unhealthy food items from your house all together. It should also go without saying, but don’t empty out your pantry and then go shopping and replace it all again. Have some self-control.
You’re really not hungry
Every once in a while, the body gives us mixed signals and we need to figure out what it’s trying to tell us. For instance, sometimes we mistaken hunger for thirst. If you are at work or at home and you find yourself in the middle of the day instantly hungry, before you go find something to eat, drink a glass of water and wait a little bit. If after 15 minutes you’re still feeling hungry, then indeed your body was telling you it needs food. If your hunger subsided, your body was in need of hydration. Use this to your advantage to keep yourself from snacking throughout the day. You can also drink a glass of water before meals to fill up slightly so you don’t overeat.
Don’t be afraid to exercise outside in cold weather
When cold weather hits, most people want to stay indoors and keep warm. However, if you want to burn some extra calories, bundle up and head outside. Your body can burn up to seven percent more calories when you are outside when compared to exercising indoors. Your body is in a constant battle to stay warm and is kicked into overdrive to prevent your body temperature from dropping. It should be noted, though, if you decide to exercise when there is snow and ice outside, use extra precautions to ensure you don’t slip and fall.
Drown yourself in audio
Not all workouts are fun. There are days you simply can’t find motivation to head to the gym and crush a workout or cardio session. For that reason, audio can be your saving grace. Whether you enjoy music or prefer to listen to audiobooks or podcasts, fill up your phone or iPod with whatever floats your boat and get after it. Music is a great way to pump you up and help you push out some extra reps while audiobooks and podcasts are a great way to pass time when doing cardio. You can listen to your favorite author or choose a self-help type of audio file to listen to. If you are looking to better your skillset or learn something new, educational audiobooks and podcasts are a great way to pass your time on a piece of cardio equipment.
Hire a trainer
If you’re in a rut and can’t seem to find your way out, hire a personal trainer. Seek out a qualified professional and have them put you through a workout or several to break your plateaus to help you progress along on your journey. Yes, there is an expense to hiring a personal trainer, but it’s well worth it. Generally speaking, most trainers, if given your current program, will put you through a workout unlike anything you’ve done before. You might even wonder why you are so sore a couple days later thanks to DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Heck, you might even be sore in muscles you never knew existed. A trainer can help add an element of surprise to your workouts if they don’t tell you ahead of time what you will be doing. This in my opinion makes workout sessions fun and exciting. You’re under the complete control and mercy of your trainer.
You’re not in the office, turn off your phone
If you want to completely ruin your workout, then keep your phone on where you can receive calls, texts, emails, and notifications. Your time at the gym is your time at the gym. It’s not time to sit on a piece of equipment for ten minutes replying to emails or listening to voicemails. Don’t be that guy in the gym. Get to the gym, hit it hard, and leave. You’ll have plenty of time after your workout to check your phone. Your time in the gym is valuable and you don’t want to waste it by constant distractions. If you use your phone for music while working out, then put it in airplane mode so it blocks everything on your phone other than your music.
If you want to burn more calories, put on quality lean muscle
What’s a simple way to burn more calories throughout the day? Add quality lean muscle mass to your frame. Muscle burns calories, even while at rest. So, it only makes sense that you want to replace body fat with muscle. Many women are afraid to lift weights because they feel they are going to get bulky and look like a guy—this will never happen unless they are using some form of anabolics. Don’t shy away from the weights. Lift heavy whenever possible while still maintaining proper form to ensure safety and prevent yourself from getting injured. Focus on compound movements like the squat, deadlift, and bench press. These movements also burn more calories when compared to isolated movements because they recruit more muscle groups to perform the movement. This in turn will not only help you put on the quality muscle mass you’re looking for, but can also help you ward off body fat.