The gym can be a very confusing and daunting place. Everyone is doing different kinds of workouts and using all sorts of machines. So what kind of workout is best to maximize weight loss and your time at the gym?
First of all, a workout you enjoy will be the best workout you can have. You won’t make much progress if you dread your workouts and you aren’t giving them your all. Mainly will be looking at whether or not a 45 minute session of cardio is the best thing to do at the gym.
That being said, we will also discuss ways to adjust your workout so you lose more fat, build more muscle, and spend less time in the gym.
Less Cardio, More HIIT
One common mistake people make in the gym is spending too much time doing cardio. Don’t get me wrong, cardio is a great way to burn fat. But after a period of time your body starts eating muscle instead of fat as a means for energy.
Once you start burning too much muscle you will start to lose shape. Without muscles you won’t have that toned body you’ve been aiming for. Many people may actually find their body fat percentages decreasing incredibly slowly because of this reason.
Another side effect of extended periods of cardio is that your body adapts and starts storing a fat reserve for your cardio sessions. This makes your cardio essentially pointless since you really aren’t burning fat.
High intensity interval training, or HIIT, can provide you the benefits of cardio and muscle building at the same time. In HIIT you are performing compound movements with short rest time, which allows you to work your muscles while elevating your heart rate. Two of the best HIIT exercises are burpees and kettle bell swings. Pick one and another exercise of your choice and you’re ready to go!
HIIT is a must if you’re trying to lose weight. It is taxing on the body, however, so it should only be done a couple times a week. This can take the place of a few cardio sessions but you should still be doing cardio a couple times a week as well.
Try Different Cardio
Doing the same old cardio won’t have much of an effect over time. Your body adapts to the type of cardio you have been doing and the cardio doesn’t remain challenging. When deciding what cardio to do, try to pick something that involves the upper and lower body.
Swimming is amazing cardio. It involves the entire body giving you more bang for your buck. Another great thing about swimming is that it’s low impact meaning if you have joint issues you can get some good cardio in without much extra wear and tear.
Boxing is another great way to get your heart pumping. Although it is crucial to learn proper technique, a few minutes of boxing can go a long way. The mistake a lot of beginners make is to use to much arm strength when punching, when most of the power comes from the core and hips. Besides building a good sweat, boxing makes you feel good, plain and simple. So give it a try!
Jumping rope is an amazing way to get some cardio in while working on your legs and upper body at the same time. A couple of rounds of jump rope will have you feeling like you just ran a mile.
Besides these few cardio alternatives, the cardio machines at the gym are still great fat blasters. The key is to be into the cardio and really working. Walking on the treadmill while watching a video for 30 minutes probably won’t give you many results. Instead, try to push yourself for intervals. This will give you much better results in a shorter period of time.
The next time you are on the elliptical, make sure you’re using your arms. Adding in an upper body movement forces your heart to pump harder giving you burn. Try the rowing machine if it’s safe for you. This machine is great for working your back while killing your legs. These little cardio changes can go a long way, so give them a try.
Hit the Weights
Ladies, this section is for you. Hit the weights! It is a total myth that women will get bulky if they lift weights. When looking at it scientifically, it’s impossible for women to get bulky from lifting weights because they don’t produce enough testosterone to build all that mass.
In fact, hitting the weights will help women immensely when it comes to losing weight. Weight lifting recruits a ton of different muscle fibers and burns a lot of calories. The key here, for men and women, is to stick with compound movements. These exercises, like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, rows, shoulder presses, incorporate many different muscle groups giving you the best results.
If you don’t include those exercises in your routine, well you should. Combine these compound movements with some HIIT and cardio and you’ll lose weight in no time.
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