I often hear people complain that getting and staying fit becomes harder as we get older. That should not be true if you are training correctly. Are you guilty of doing the same exercise routine at the same intensity every time you hit the gym? If so, you are sabotaging yourself and your efforts. Exercise is a stress on the body that causes physiological changes on a cellular level. These systemic wide adaptations are what allow you to become bigger, faster and stronger. If there is no variety in your routine you will hit a training plateau. You will have trouble reaching your fitness goals because there is no new training stimulus. Also, it’s boring for even the most enthusiastic person to do the same workout everyday. If you are not enjoying exercise you are less likely to stick with a program. What gets me excited to train is when I run a little faster, lift a bit heavier or master a move that had been difficult for me. To maximize your results, try some of my suggestions below.
Are you the gym member who reads while running on a treadmill or plods along on an elliptical watching television? People like to be distracted while exercising so they don’t have to be in their bodies doing the work. How can you physically gauge how hard you are working while reading Fifty Shades of Grey? I suggest you put the book down get a heartrate monitor and try some interval training. For cardiovascular exercise to be effective, you have to elevate your heart rate into a specific zone for a prescribed period of time. Alternating faster with slower movement burns more calories and is excellent conditioning for your heart. Setting and reaching small goals, even a two minute interval, gets your head in the game and keeps you mentally engaged. Avoid using the same equipment day after day. Bike instead of run, climb stairs, swim or perform drills. Cross training is the best way to avoid injury and monotony.
If you are not already participating in resistance weight training you should start. Lifting weights in diverse movement patterns recruits and trains different muscle mass. It tones the body, builds bone density and improves balance and coordination. Building more muscle will also help to control your weight. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat. The bigger your biceps, the more calories you burn sitting on the sofa reading the book I had you put down earlier. Mix up the types of exercises you choose. Push, pull, move forwards and back. Train and reach in all directions to develop joint synchronization and prevent imbalances. Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to increase your weights. If you can comfortably perform 15 repetitions of something it’s too easy for you. Try adding aerobic intervals between weight lifting sets. Modify the order of the exercises you perform. Decrease the amount of rest you take between sets. All of these changes will be enough to promote muscle growth and better physical fitness.