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5 Ways to Make Your Same Ol’ Workout a Little Less Lame

Posted Oct 24 2011 11:43am

Happy Monday everyone!  I you’re all doing great and enjoying the freaking cold brisk fall weather. (I know, I am SUCH a wimp!) I’ll probably do another post later on this evening with some good recipes and new photos, etc., but I wanted to share some thoughts I have as a personal trainer on tips to improve your workout. PLEASE let me know your thoughts and comments, as, full disclosure, this is a writing sample I’m submitting to fitness websites and magazines.  Pardon the lame usage of stock photos, but I already worked out this morning and didn’t have time to go back to the gym to take photos of me doing all the moves. Also known as, if I don’t study anatomy, I’ll fail tomorrow’s quiz.

Enjoy!

Me, so excited to share fitness tips with you!

5 Ways to Make Your Same Ol’ Workout a Little Less Lame

Have you been going through the same workout for a while, and starting to feel like you’ve got it in the bag? Are you mindlessly flipping through magazines on the elliptical, and silently looking at the sweating guy next to you and wondering how he got so fit on the same machine that you use to catch up on your light reading? Well, here are five ways to rock your workout, make you sweat, and feel sore in muscles you didn’t even know you had.

 

1) Lift weights. Lift them right. As a personal trainer, it often makes me feel sad (and sometimes scared!) to see people lifting weights with such excellent intentions but such miserable form. At my gym, I often see how much more a person could get out of a workout simply by lifting weights with correct alignment. For example, in a bicep curl, the elbows should be tucked into the ribs, shoulders back, and full range of motion should be explored. (Meaning, arms should go from fully straight to fully bent.) If you can’t do this with the weight you’re lifting, lower the weight! If you’re lifting too heavy with bad form, the only thing that will get stronger is your ego. (A great tip to work with bicep curls is to put a yoga strap, shoulder-width loop, on right above your elbows. This will prevent your elbows from flaring out.)

bicepcurl

2) Learn it right, and then combine. Right now, the fitness world is abuzz with combination moves, like the fabulous shoulder fly with back-lunge/curtsey combo. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fabulous way to get bang for your proverbial buck, but not if your letting your front knee fly out to the side while you hunch your shoulders to heft the weight. Before you combine, spend some time with each component, (a personal trainer or looking at videos from reputable trainers is a great way to learn!) and then combine to get a really great workout.

ss_StaticLungeLatShoulderD

3) Lift the right weight for you and your goals. So often, I see women at the gym with 2-3 lb weights, mindlessly doing tricep kick-backs while chatting on the phone.  Pick the weight that’s right for you and your goals. If your goal is to tone, pick a weight that will allow you to perform the exercise properly (see point 1!) for 12-15 reps, but that at the end of that set, you are almost too fatigued to do any more.  If your goal is to build muscle, pick weights that will allow you to do 6-8 reps.

4) Add cardio to your weights, and vice versa. One of the most valuable tips I can offer to increase calorie burn and muscle fatigue to lead to stronger muscles is by combining cardio intervals with weight training, and vice versa.  For weights, throw in 2 minutes of jumping jacks, squat jumps, or a sprint on the treadmill in between sets .  If you’re working with cardio equipment, try speed walking while holding light weights, or doing light weight punches while on the elliptical.  You’ll see quick improvements to both strength and cardiovascular endurance.

squat_jumps

5) Short on time? Do intervals. Have extra time? Do more intervals. Cardio intervals are one of the best ways to loose weight, gain endurance and conserve time.  Instead of tweeting while on the spin-bike for an hour, burn more calories in half the time by doing hard intervals of sprinting for one minute, and riding at a moderate pace for two (after a proper warm-up, of course!) If you’re looking for an extra challenge, try a 20 minute HIIT (High-intensity interval training) workout:

HIIT workout
Minutes 1-5: Warm-up, 3-4.5 mph pace, 7.5 – 10 incline
Minutes 5-25: 7.5 – 9.5 mph for 20 secs, 3.5 – 4.5 for 40 secs, no incline – alternate
Minutes 25-28 – 4.5 mph, 5-7 incline
Minutes 28-30 – 3.5 mph, 5-7 incline
This workout will make you sweat in places you didn’t know you had, and burn more calories than you would doing an easy pace on the elliptical for twice as long.

I hope these tips add a bit of oomph to your workout and some sweat to your brow.

Be kind, truthful and wise.

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