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Best Practices

Seven Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Workouts

By January 20, 2014No Comments

weights at the gymIt’s that time again—new year, new goals. But do you find that you set the same “new goal” every year?

Why do you start strong on your way to your fitness goals but stop seeing results by May? Even though you are working out, it could be the way you’re working out that limits the progress you see.

Try the tips below to get the most out of your fitness routine in 2014:

1. Choose workouts that use natural motions like walking, running, jumping, balancing, crawling, climbing, swimming, lifting, carrying, throwing, and catching. These movements usually work the whole body and also help you work on coordination. These are all movements you might use in your everyday life.

Practicing them in your daily workout means less chance of injury when you have to lift a heavy couch, crawl under the table to retrieve a lost toy, or even play catch with your kids.

2. Use short periods of intense exercise, rather than long periods of moderate exercise. Intense, plyometric exercises burn more calories than longer sustained workouts.

These workouts are also time efficient! You’ll see better results with 30 minutes of nonstop exercise than an hour of moderate exercise – plus you’ll add an extra 30 minutes to your day!

3. Minimize breaks and down time. We’ve all seen people at the gym who seem like they are there to socialize instead of to work out. It’s not enough just to go to the gym. You could stand around and talk in your backyard. When you workout, whether at the gym or at home, do so with a plan and a time frame.

You only have so many minutes in the day to workout – get the most out of each and every minute.

4. Incorporate strength training. Many people think that cardio is the most important and most effective exercise. While cardio is important, you need a blend of cardio and strength training to get the best results. Straining gets your heart rate up, burns calories, and develops lean muscle mass. Building muscle means they are able to work all day, burning more calories even when you aren’t working out.

5. Drink water. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout your day, especially when you’re working out. Avoid sports drinks that are full of sugar and empty calories. If you miss the boost that those drinks give you during your workout, try eating a healthy snack or small breakfast about 45 minutes before you work out.

6. Incorporate a variety of exercises. If you’ve been jogging several times a week for years, running a few miles might be really easy for you, but then you pick up your toddler and pull a back muscle. You might lift weights at the gym every day, but can’t keep up with your dog when you take him out for a walk.

Our bodies become accustomed to the movements we do all the time, so doing the same exercises every day becomes less effective over time. By mixing it up you force your body to work harder and therefore burn more calories. Not only that, it will keep things interesting so you don’t get bored with your workout.

7. Workout with a partner. Not many people can motivate themselves to work their hardest each and every time. Working out with a friend will hold you accountable—you’ll have to show up at the gym when you say you’ll be there—and also makes you work harder, sometimes without realizing it. Who doesn’t love a healthy sense of competition?

What tips do you have? Share in the comments below!