Have you been out shopping for a bathing suit yet this spring? Clothing boutiques are bursting this year with bikinis of vibrant colors, artsy patterns, and bold designs. For lots of us, this eye-opening consumer experience signals a major increase in exercise time. Bicep curls and abdominal crunches are all the rage as the reality sets in that the body needs big time attention before you actually have to wear that beautiful new bathing suit. That’s why embracing exercise efficiency will help you make the most of your efforts.
Remember that to lose weight and increase muscle tone, your metabolism needs to fire on all cylinders. It’s not just about strength work, and it isn’t just about cardio – it’s both. That’s why workout efficiency is so important. When you combine moves, cut down on rest time, and transition skillfully from one exercise to the next, your body stays happily confused. This makes it work harder, your heart rate stays elevated, because your muscles are moving in various directions, and results become far more probable.
So the question is, how do you make your exercise time more efficient? First, get yourself better educated on the subject of exercise. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you know what’s best for your body just because you’ve been living inside of it for however many years. Become a student of exercise and learn more about the fundamentals. You’d be surprised at how a few simple moves can be combined to create high intensity sessions that work the entire body. One great way to do this is to attend an interval class, like a boot camp, or work with a personal trainer for a few sessions. Ask for workout samples that you can use on your own.
Second, pay close attention to your form when you are exercising – and – when you are not. Momentum and gravity are two forces of nature that may help you get through the workout but that diminish the effects of your time spent. Fight back with precision in your movements. Contract your core muscles as you move your legs and/or arms and you can increase your output by as much as double. When you aren’t working out, you should also focus on form, rather, on posture. Posture boosts your stationary metabolism, so sit or stand up straight, breathe deeply and reap the rewards.
Lastly, thread fitness into your life in other ways than simply at a gym. In the mornings, exercise at home while you watch the news. Make family time fit time by kicking a soccer ball around, playing chase, and dancing, instead of sitting in front of the television. Workout with a friend you don’t see very often and make fitness part of your social time. Start a wellness challenge in your office and convince your company to bring fitness into the workplace. And if they don’t go for that, make it your personal mission to add activity to your workday, with trips up stairs, hallway lunges, and desktop push-ups.
You may never love exercise as an activity. Embrace it as a means to a pleasant end, the confidence you’ll feel when you don that brand new bikini, and you will find enjoyment in your life in so many new ways.
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