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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

7 Important Tips for Working out You’re Probably Overlooking

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7 Important Tips for Working out You’re Probably Overlooking

We always overlook the simple things, especially when it comes to working out. Working out doesn’t need to be daunting or confusing. In fact, working out should be a fun way for you to relieve stress and feel more positive about your body. This is why it’s important to pay attention to some simple tips for working out.

It’s easy to get swept up in the thrill of starting a new exercise routine. But before you get caught up in the latest and greatest way to work out, check out 7 of the best tips for working out to avoid injury and make the most of your exercises.

1. Always Warm up

Lifting weights and burning through cardio routines is the Instagram-worthy part of training. Warming up is often thrown to the backburner.

Really, when’s the last time someone got excited to use a foam roller and go through mobility drills? Often, people are pressed for time, so they opt to skip the warm up and immediately get to lifting.

 

But this is a great way to invite injury into your intense workout. By properly warming up, you decrease muscle stiffness (by increasing blood flow), reduce the risk of injury, improve performance, and psychologically prepare yourself to work out.

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2. Focus on Form

Besides looking good, using proper form[1] has a plethora of benefits, such as ensuring the correct muscles are being targeted, proper breathing is being maintained, and you are able to lift more weight. When it comes to tips for working out, this is one that shouldn’t be ignored.

By not paying attention to form, you run the risk of muscle strains, tears, joint problems, and back problems. It’s hard to be the best version of yourself when you’re on the shelf for weeks.

Leave the ego at the door and have flawless form before ramping up the weights. If in doubt, ask a personal trainer or, better yet, hire one for a week.

3. Amp up Your Nutrition

If you find you’re often sore for days after working out, have trouble finding energy for workouts, or can’t seem to lose any weight, your nutrition may be lacking.

Eating is how you supply your body with calories, which provide you with energy. Supplying your body with nutrients helps you gain more muscle, lose weight, and boost your metabolism. Depriving your body of nutrients leads to poor gym performance, metabolic problems, and weight gain.

Making great food choices is your opportunity to reshape your health. Your workouts and body composition depend on you making nutrition a priority, so this is one of the tips for working out you shouldn’t always have present in your mind.

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4. Use a Limited Number of Machines

Many of the machines at gyms, despite looking complex and high-tech, are mostly useless. Oftentimes, a machine works a single muscle group and limits your range of motion. With free weights, you use multiple muscles, including those forgotten but important stabilizers.[2]

Stick to compound exercises (squats, deadlifts, shoulder and bench presses, hip thrusts, etc.), limit isolation exercises, and save time in the gym. In the end, you’ll find it’s more fun to drop some heavy weights as opposed to simply adjusting a pin on a machine.

5. Challenge Yourself

Do you find that you often become bored with your routine or hit weight loss plateaus? In that case, you may be lacking a challenge.

One of my tips for working out is to stay with a routine for 4-6 weeks before changing, but waiting too much longer after that reduces the effectiveness of your routine.

Your body is intelligent and will adjust to a given workout over time, so doing the same thing repeatedly won’t cut it if you really want to lose weight and gain muscle.

Instead of thinking about increasing the duration of your sessions, focus on the intensity of these sessions. Implementing metrics such as increasing weights, decreasing rest periods, switching exercises out, using supersets, and limiting seated exercises are excellent ways to keep progress moving in the right direction.

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6. Don’t Use Cardio to Lose Fat

Someone states they want to lose weight, and the first sentence out their mouth is “I need to start running.”

Unfortunately, many people associate fat loss with running on treadmills and using elliptical machines and Stairmasters.

While you will most certainly sweat with the above options, those aren’t the most efficient in terms of losing fat[3]. Relying on long distance cardio can cause your cortisol levels to rise (slowing fat loss down), increase food cravings (hello binge eating), and take up too much time.

An alternative to long distance cardio is high intensity interval training (HIIT), which alternates intense moments of exercise with periods of rest. This training is more efficient, burns more calories, and keeps your metabolism elevated longer.

Set a goal for 3 strength training days and 2 HIIT sessions weekly.

7. Schedule Time to Rest and Recover

People often fall into the trap of exercising more and more, thinking this will lead to quicker progress. The truth, however, is that your body can only be pushed so far.

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Working out breaks your body down, and only through rest can your body build itself back up to be stronger for the next session. You likely have fitness goals and a plan to achieve them, so make sure you’re scheduling in time for recovery between your weight training and cardio workouts to make them as effective as possible.

You grow and progress when you are resting and recovering—not during the actual training sessions.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking to join a gym, start an at-home exercise routine, or are already comfortable after years of working out, these 7 tips for working out can be a game changer for your progress. Once you start doing these simple things correctly, you’ll find you have more energy and recover more quickly from your exercise sessions.

More Tips for Working out

Featured photo credit: Sergio Pedemonte via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Julian Hayes II

Author, Health & Fitness Coach for Entrepreneurs, & Speaker

18 Basic Rules for Leading a Fulfilling Life 7 Important Tips for Working out You’re Probably Overlooking Starting Today, Stop These 6 Things to Become the Best Version of Yourself 5 Fun Ways to Transform Your Body And Health When You Don’t Feel Like Going to the Gym 4 Common Reasons Why You Fall Short With Your Weight Loss Goals (And What You Should Do Instead)

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Last Updated on October 4, 2021

5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

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5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

With the lines of work and home becoming increasingly blurry, it’s no wonder why we struggle to find the time to prioritize our health. Particularly with weight loss, it’s often difficult to manage the ever-present constraints around work, children, time to exercise, and the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.

Taking the effects of stress and the rise of remote work and work-from-home situations, we need to be far more tactical in our weight loss pursuits. Quite often, these exercises for weight loss at home aren’t even fitness-related.

Firstly, let’s look at a standard day in the life of a busy professional or parent to really understand the battlefield in which we need to operate.

We all have 24 hours in a day to work with. Knowing how we spend that 24 hours is crucial when learning where time will be best spent for our weight loss journey. Setting unrealistic expectations can be a quick way to end up back at square one.

  • Sleep: 8 hours (parents, if you’re lucky)
  • Work: 8 hours (sometimes more)
  • Children: 2 to 4 hours (includes pickups, drop-offs, and play)
  • Meal Preparation: 1 hour (at a minimum)
  • Household Activities: 1 to 2 hours (because someone’s got to do it, right?)
  • Total: 20 to 22 hours

Taking into account that switching between tasks takes time and cognitive space, we can start to understand why people just want to sit and scroll through social media at the end of a day. We also haven’t factored in the work commute if you have to report to the office.

Just realized you now have minimal time to yourself? This might start to explain why you struggle to gain momentum in your weight loss journey. Let’s work out how to take back the initiative:

  • Automate – Are there any tasks you can automate? If you’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, maybe it’s time to hire a cleaner or have ready-made meals delivered to your door. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but removing the decision of “what’s for dinner?” can be a great way to reduce stress and free up brain space and time.
  • Optimize – If you’re time-poor with kids, it’s time to optimize your activities. Turn screen time into playtime outdoors, and get them to join in on your activities. If your children are old enough, it might be time to start offering pocket money for chores and meal preparation. This strategy helped me stay fit as a single parent. By getting out and active with my son, I doubled my return on investment by staying fit and enhancing my relationship.
  • Eliminate – We’re only human. Sometimes, we simply have too much on our plate due to our high expectations. Take a look through your daily tasks and work out what can be removed.

Now, go through this exercise yourself. What potential spare time do you have to work with? If the answer is none, you might want to keep reading.

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Exercise Selection: It’s Not All About the Burn

No equipment? No problem.

So, we’re finally tracking the elements that matter. It’s time to start leveraging exercise to accelerate our weight loss journey. Alongside focusing on individual exercises that help with weight loss at home or caloric expenditure, we’re going to focus on another method to help keep you consistent and accountable for the long term: interest.

Interest has been linked as one of the key motivating factors to maintain consistency towards a goal. By choosing a form of exercise that your body and mind can enjoy, your chances of weight loss success are far greater.

Here’re the 5 best exercises for weight loss at home:

1. Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

Maybe the body isn’t what it used to be, and intense forms of training simply just aren’t safe anymore. Also considering the body’s response to stress, it might be in our very best interest to choose low-intensity activities that we can repeat daily.

Mobility and movement flows have risen in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise focuses on restoring range of motion (ROM), improving stability, and returning people to activity. Some exercise options include:

  • Quadruped Rocks
  • Frog Stretch
  • Hip Prying
  • Scapula Push-ups
  • Hindu push-ups

Below is a 10minute warm-up flow that shows you how to put all of this together:

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2. Yoga

Yoga is another perfect example of LIIT methodology that can be advanced as your ability improves. Focusing on mobility, stability, and range of movement using only your body weight, it’s a perfect entry-level activity for those that may have lost their way on their weight loss journey.

3. Calisthenics

Strength training at home can be difficult when you lack equipment or experience. An obvious path to building strength at home is calisthenics. Starting with just the following basic bodyweight movements:

You can begin your journey with no equipment and build to quite an advanced level. Here are five movements you can look to master over time are:

Depending on your ability, choose movements that allow you to progress safely over time. There is also gymnastics-based training you can move towards if your body is ready for a more demanding form of training.

4. Aerobic Exercise

Another underrepresented form of exercise, aerobic exercise is often overlooked for its sexier counterparts like strength and HIIT. With the prevalence of obesity nearly tripling between 1975 and 2016 and the major cause in adults being cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to focus on activities that improve cardiovascular or heart health.

Another benefit is that it can be as simple as getting your steps in, going for a swim, or going for an easy ride or run. Phil Maffetone pioneered the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Method that almost anyone can adopt regardless of fitness level and experience.[1]

Here’s a 30-minute session of aerobic exercises you can try:

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5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training is a great way to elevate the heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. It can also be super time-effective, giving you a great bang for your buck. Try sequencing some of the movements and exercises above together with minimal rest to keep your heart rate elevated. Be sure to select movements that suit your current level of fitness and ability.

Here’s a HIIT workout that takes little time and is suited for any level:

Chipper 60

Complete all reps of every exercise for time. Exercises can be done in any order and repetitions to complete the workout.

If you can’t do jump squats, regress to normal squats, and don’t be afraid to change the leg raises to a 60-second plank if you need to. Finish up with some light stretching or foam rolling.

What Also Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Stimulants

Sleep, stress, and stimulants, also known as the hamster wheel of death. Tracking these elements gives us the power to finally stop relying on our ever-depleted stores of discipline and motivation to get the job done. It will also highlight the self-destructive habits that sabotage your weight loss journey.

Simply put, stress affects stimulants, sleep affects stress, and the vicious cycle continues.

Sleep

Are you getting enough sleep? It’s well documented that sleep is an important factor in weight loss and recovery.

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“Restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.”[2]

Start this journey by tracking how much sleep you’re getting. Certain wearables can also track the amount of movement and time you spend awake or in lighter sleep cycles. Getting enough time in REM or deep sleep is critical for weight loss.

Stress

We don’t need to be fancy. A simple daily measurement out of ten indicates how much stress we think we are under. Using this number, we can observe the effects that sleep, stimulants, and exercise have on our stress levels, allowing us to deploy the right strategy for our weight loss goals.

Stimulants

Stimulants can be classified as anything we put in our mouths. Tracking calories, alcohol, and caffeine is a great way to observe, predict, and avoid trends or at-risk periods of overeating and destructive behaviors. Tracking this is aligned with how well we sleep, and our stress response gives us enough information to start forming better weight loss habits.

Work to identify the trigger, observe the response, and then look to adjust.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re fighting fit or returning to activity, the best exercises for weight loss at home are the ones that you can do day in day out that you enjoy. Think of exercise for weight loss as we do for compound interest. Consistently and regularly making deposits may not show immediately, but with time, they give you the momentum you need to reach your goals.

Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] PhilMaffetone: Maximum Aerobic Function
[2] SleepFoundation.org: Why is sleep so important to weight loss?

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