Sunday, June 6, 2010

Don't Waste Your Time

Ahhh…summer is finally here! It seems like there is so much to do, and the time flies by so quickly. Vacations, outdoor activities and visitors all keep us moving more than in the cold weather, so it can be a great asset when it comes to weight loss. Most of us will continue to hit the gym, exercise, and try to race through workouts to get back to our summer lives. It’s important to be safe and efficient when working out, so here are some tips to help you not waste your time in the gym.

First, have a plan. What is it you are looking to accomplish in your workout? Total body workout or specific areas? For weight loss goals, look to achieve a balance between cardio and weight exercises. Map out your workout, write it down so you don’t spend time thinking about what to do next. If you plan to be outdoors, ensure your planned exercises can be achieved. For example, if you plan to do sit-ups, make sure there is a soft surface other than the trail to do them.

Next, and probably most important, is to make sure you have perfect form during your exercises. One key component (that actually helps you to lose weight) is to be what I call “standing tall.” Pull your belly button to your spine, and tilt your hips forward slightly. This straightens your spine, forces you to stand or sit taller and burns more calories. This forces your core muscles to be engaged all the time. This is an “exercise” you can do anywhere, and even become a habit.

Another key component to an effective workout is the pace of exercise. For losing weight, keep moving around from exercise to exercise, with little rest in between. Alternate muscle groups to allow for active rest. If you do a chest exercise, follow it with a back exercise. The chest will be resting, but you are still moving. Also important is the pace at which you perform each exercise. A slow and controlled pace allows the targeted muscles to engage and work properly. It helps with breathing as well, with the exhale on the exertion part of the movement. A good place to start is a count of two each direction of the movement.

Finally, pick exercises that allow for multiple muscle groups to be engaged at once. Instead of a bicep curl on a machine, grab some free weights and do a squat as you curl. Not only are you using your biceps, but also your core muscles and legs. This efficient approach will help you with other factors such as balance and coordination.

By making the most out of your workout, you are able to accomplish more in a short period of time. This works any time of year, but is certainly helpful for those looking to enjoy the summer!