Are your workout habits making your exercise ineffective? You might be surprised! Many people spend more time at the gym than they should, or they use their time poorly. If you want to ensure that your workouts are as efficient as possible, here are a few workout habits to ditch today:
Resting Too Much
How much time do you spend resting between sets? Ideally, your heart rate should stay above 100 BPM, or 125 BPM if you really want to burn fat/calories. To keep your heart rate up, you shouldn’t rest more than 30 seconds. If you’ve really pushed yourself (such as by doing Squat Jumps, Burpees, or other high intensity movements), you can give yourself up to 60 seconds of rest. The less you rest, the faster you get through your workout, and the more calories you burn!
You spend so much time sitting every day (on the couch, in the car, at work, etc.), so why would you sit down at the gym? There are a number of exercises that call for you to sit, but why not try for the standing version of those movements? Don’t sit at all, and you’ll keep your heart rate up and your body burning energy all through the workout.
Using the Elliptical
There’s nothing wrong with the machine, but for those who want a truly efficient workout, it’s not the best choice. The elliptical machine isn’t ideal for natural body motion, and it’s usually used at a slow, steady pace. It’s hard to push your body with a HIIT workout on the elliptical machine. Instead, switch to a basic cross-training circuit (mixing burpees, squat jumps, jumping rope, and other bodyweight cardio/endurance movements), hit the treadmill, or run/jog/walk/cycle in the great outdoors. The elliptical machine is NOT your best friend for weight loss and fat burning.
How hard do you push yourself on the treadmill or stationary bike? Are you putting in 30 to 45 minutes jogging or slow cycling? Low intensity, steady state exercise does help to burn fat, but High Intensity Interval Training is the key to more efficient calorie- and fat-burning. Plus, HIIT training will keep your body burning calories for hours after your workout is done, whereas the effects of low intensity cardio will wear off a few minutes after you stop. DEFINITELY pick up the pace, and you’ll shorten your workouts and get more done.
You’re at the gym to work, not to talk with your buddies, surf the internet, or waste time on your phone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a social person; you need to focus on your workout. Remember: 30 to 60 seconds of rest per set! Focus on what you’re doing, get in, and get out. It’s the best way to have a truly efficient workout, and will help you to avoid cooling down before you’ve finished working out.
Too Much/Not Enough Cardio
Don’t make the mistake of skipping out on cardio, but don’t overdo it either! You can do a short HIIT workout after your daily weightlifting/strength training, or do one day weights/one day cardio. Either way, you don’t want to skip out on cardio, as it’s vital for healthy cardiovascular function. On the flip side, focusing too much on cardio will be just as bad. Cardio (particularly low intensity, steady state exercise) will burn fat, but without regular resistance training, it will also break down and burn muscle tissue. If you ONLY do cardio, you’ll lose muscle tone along with body fat. Combine resistance training with cardio for the best results!