Most people I work with buy personal/online training because they want to lose weight. Their thought is, if they could just find the workout routine that worked, they’d be all set. Unfortunately, without changes to their diet, exercise usually results in only a modest amount of weight loss at best.
Aside from making dietary changes, their workouts are usually missing a major factor that can’t be overlooked when we’re trying to change our body with exercise.
That major factor? Intensity.
I’m a HUGE fan of taking less time exercising in order to produce better results. Gone are the days of jogging on the treadmill in the “fat burning zone” for an hour. Gone are the days of lifting for 90 minutes to get some definition and strength. Gone are the days where a gym membership is ever required to get amazing, lasting physique changes.
All you really need to do to make some major changes to your body is 15-20 minute workouts 4-5 times per week.
Don’t believe me? That’s cool. I wouldn’t have believed myself 5 years ago either. I was all about the 3 hour long workouts (run/lift/yoga) 5-6 days a week and taking spin classes on my “off days.” Hah! How times have changed!
So if you don’t believe me right now, that’s ok, but I want you to bookmark this webpage so you can come back it when you get sick of the hours you’re spending in the gym instead of meeting your friends out for brunch on Saturday morning- because you can really do both if you play your cards right.
If you’re ready to dive in, there are a few things to keep in mind as you cut back on the time you’re spending exercising.
1. You need to up the intensity.
You can’t just simply go through the motions when you’re trying this new-to-you method of exercising. You have to get INTENSE. That means you have to get ready to feel your muscles burn, get ready to sweat and get ready to get uncomfortable. Intensity is totally subjective and can mean different things for different people, so you have to find your edge. The place where you can’t imagine having to squeeze out one more rep, but you do it anyway. The place where you’re working so hard you need to take a 10 seconds rest and then picking back up as soon as you can. The place where you’d rather throw in the towel than do another squat but you know you only have 5 minutes left in your workout so you push through.
THIS is what intensity is and you gotta bring it! Remember that while there’s nothing moderate or easy about these shorter workouts, you can rest as needed and get back to it when you’re ready. The harder you push (safely) the more results you’ll produce.
Intensity is what will change your body (and rather quickly at that) and will improve your fitness level like you can’t even imagine. No more phoning it in and going through the motions. If you want results, you’ve gotta get the intensity up!
2. Rest & Recovery
So now that I’ve got you all fired up talking about intensity, we also need to talk about the value of rest and recovery. If you’re someone who has been over exercising in order to lose weight or make changes to your body, it’s crucial for you to take a break from overdoing it and allow your body to heal. If you’re logging hours a week on the treadmill or elliptical and you don’t give yourself a rest day or two, how is your body supposed to rebuild and produce the results you want? You’re never giving it a chance to catch up. Remember, more isn’t always better when it comes to exercise. Our body repairs itself on lower intensity/rest days and while we sleep. If our body is constantly being torn down through exercise, it will focus only on trying to recover and repair instead of focusing on shedding excess weight, growing muscle, providing you more energy. All the things we want our body to do, it’s not capable of doing if we don’t let it rest.
3. Fuel Yourself Properly
Remember when I said without changes to your diet, exercise usually results in only a modest weight loss at best? Well I’m not lying. Nutrition is KEY (probably 85%) when it comes to changing your body in any way. If you’re planning on upping the exercise intensity, you need to pay particular attention to your pre- and post-workout nutrition.
Before exercise, choose a source of carbohydrates like fruit (a banana is my fave pre-workout snack), whole grain breads, oatmeal or fruit & yogurt. These foods will keep your blood sugar stable and steady to supply you with lots of energy. Avoid foods that are high in fat because these tend to take a long time to leave our stomachs which would make you feel weighed down and sluggish during your workout. A little caffeine boost can help you push a little harder during your workout, too!
Protein and carbs are the main focus for post-workout fuel because muscle fibers are broken down during exercise and these two macronutrients will help build them back up. Try a protein shake with fruit, some Greek yogurt with fruit or eggs and toast. Veggies are always a plus, too. This is also a good time to #treatyoself if sugary treats are your thing because your body will use that sugar right up to get to repairing your muscles ;o)
Also, be sure to hydrate with some H2O before, during and after working out, too.
So what do you say? Are you ready to up the intensity and cut down on your time spend in the gym? If so, I’ve got the perfect thing for you (obv).