It can be easy to get lost and feel overwhelmed with everything you are supposed to do to improve your fitness and diet.
But if you are ready to finally commit to making a change in your fitness and lifestyle, here are 4 things that will immediately improve your fitness:
There's a reason there has been a huge influx of high intensity interval training pop up. Whether it's F45, HIIT classes or high intensity spinning classes, doing exercise at an increased intensity has been shown to yield higher levels of weight loss success and more calories burned over a shorter period of time. In essence, it’s a far more efficient workout in terms of allowing you to work out for less time with maximal results. Here’s the trick though: you really do have to ramp up the intensity. It should feel uncomfortable, sometimes be painful, and certainly leave you out of breath. The hardest part of high intensity workouts may not be the actual doing of it, but getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and knowing that it is going to hurt and be hard, and then making sure you take yourself to that place every time!
It’s true that consistency and frequency of working out play a big role in your success. Only doing fitness once or twice a week, and skipping a week here and there is not going to get you much in terms of results, and certainly not very quickly. Research has shown that you need to commit to a minimum of three times per week to see results for 45-60 minutes at a time. If you’re having a hard time making the time, treat your fitness like an appointment that you can’t miss. Write it in your day planner or agenda as you would a meeting with a boss or colleague and don’t let other things get in the way of you making it happen. If you still have a hard time, find someone else who can help you stay accountable like a friend or your partner.
It’s not that you should do something different every time you exercise, (in fact you shouldn't), it's that you should mix it up every once in a while and try something new. If you do the same exercise, the same way repeatedly over and over, your body gets used to it and becomes far more efficient. This means you have reduced fitness gains and stop making progress towards your goals like weight loss or a running PB. Changing an aspect of your fitness every couple of weeks, such as trying something new, working a different muscle group or running a different terrain, are positive ways to promote increased fitness gains. Be careful not to mix it up too often though: new research has shown that changes too often do not allow your body to make progress and improve from where you started.
While you do need easy days within your workout routine, it’s the challenge and increasing difficulty levels that lead to change. Just like you need to mix it up and add in variety, you also need to push yourself and add in elements of difficulty. When you are in the gym lifting weights, you don’t lift the same amount of weight for every exercise every week. Instead, as the weights get easier to lift – because you are building more muscle – you increase the amount of weight you lift, or increase the number of reps that you do. The same thing applies to other areas of fitness, such as running and Pilates. For example, if running 5km becomes easy, increase the distance or try running 5 kilometers on a hilly terrain. If you feel like your beginner Pilates class is too simple, try the level two modifications in the class or look into attending an intermediate class. Whatever your fitness method of choice, make sure you challenge yourself regularly and incrementally increase the levels of difficulty.