Hey everyone! I am Sarah and I blog over at Walking on My Own Two Feet. I am very thankful to Meg for giving me the opportunity to write a guest post for her blog. Believe it or not, this is my first one so it is extra special for me! Be sure to visit my page, become a follower, follow me on twitter or simply keep in touch with me!Keep sweatin’!
If you are anything like me, you love working out but the love can fade when you think to yourself, “Been there, done that” sometimes, right? You run those same three miles, the same weight-machine circuit and yet you aren’t developing stronger muscles. What gives?? Well, I think of exercising like I do new relationships. You are in that honeymoon, “can’t live without each other” phase but after a while you get stale and need a new way to make the relationship exciting again.
What’s a girl to do? Reinvent yourself, change your way of doing things, and make yourself “HOTT” again! Here are some solutions to help boost your metabolism, burn more fat, bust through plateaus, and add that extra spark to a better you.
1. Add hills to your workouts! For every 2% grade increase, you’ll burn about 25% more calories…and that’s only walking! Plus, you will increase your fitness levels. Find a hill that you can climb in 3-5 minutes at about 80% of your maximum heart rate. Start with 2-3 repeats and gradually work your way up to 5.
2. Add intervals to your cardio workouts! For one to two workouts a week, alternate 30-60 seconds of high intensity exercise with 3x as much “active” rest. As you become more fit, increase the length of high intensity intervals and decrease the length of slower intervals.
3. Use heavy weights! I cannot stress this simple fact enough to women. Fearful of bulking up? Well, let’s face it- light weights don’t do jack. Plateaus come because your muscles are used to an exercise or a particular weight. If you can easily do 12 reps, go heavier. You need to get to the point where you absolutely cannot do another rep. And don’t worry- women do not have enough testosterone for their arms or legs to bulk up like basketballs!
4. Keep a training log! Write down everything you can-the course, your time, your pace, who you worked out with, etc. Also, write details of your strength workouts. Use your log to check your training patterns and techniques to see what you need to be focusing on and what you can cut back on.
5. Join a club or team! Become a member of a swim team, bicycle/walk/jog group, a soccer league or other organization in your area. Workout with a group of girlfriends. This encourages competition and you are more likely to hold yourself accountable and enjoy the exercise when you are with other people. They help you push to a higher level!
6. Try yoga or Pilates! These disciplines force your body to work in new ways. It can also help with stabilizing your body more effectively, stretching, and balance.
7. Slow down! Take a full 10 seconds to lift a weight and four seconds to lower it. “Superslow” training forces you to rely on muscle strength and mot momentum. This can boost your strength 50% more than the traditional 2 seconds up, 2 seconds down.
8. For every muscle group, try a new exercise! When you work out muscles from different angles, you can reach different fibers and stimulate even more growth. Example? Instead of doing that same old boring flat-bench dumbbell chest press, try doing it on an incline or decline bench. Use a barbell instead of dumbbells. Try the chest fly or cable crossover. The possibilities are virtually endless!
9. Train for an event! Signing up for a 5k, 10k, 15k, half marathon, or full marathon will give you a new sense of purpose and a concrete goal that will push you to achieve more. Consider a charity event, such as the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk.
10. Keep your training goals in plain sight-literally! Tape your fitness goals to your bathroom mirror or refrigerator. Take them with you to the gym and stick them on the treadmill, stair climber, or on the mirror next to the Smith machine. Use them as your computer screen saver at work. Create a vision board. Whatever it takes. Glancing at them on a daily basis will help keep you inspired to achieve more!
Hope these tips help! Now go out there, get movin’ and start losin’…on your own two feet!