Doing the same routine over and over in the gym is not going to get you to your goals any faster. Your routines need to change as your strength improves and your fitness increases – what worked before is not always going to work.
“Results can be seen when you push yourself past your comfort point. This increases your heart rate, your oxygen intake, your strength and your fitness levels. Doing what you know every time you go into the gym is going to leave you frustrated, and soon, not wanting to step into the gym again,” says Niamh McGuirk, National Group Fitness Manager at Planet Fitness.
Many gym goers feel that they don’t know enough about different methods of training to ensure that their workouts are helping to achieve results, and therefore they stick with what they know.
McGuirk provides 3 training techniques that can included in your workout, to help you push yourself past your limit and achieve the results you are after.
1 HIIT training
If you are looking to burn more calories, lose more fat, increase your strength, and improve your cardiovascular fitness levels, while toning you need to give HIIT a try. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is not easy, and will push you beyond your limits, but the rewards are definitely worth it.
HIIT is a specialised form of interval training that involves short intervals of maximum intensity exercises followed by a shorter interval of recover. HIIT involves maximum effort, not just a higher heart rate.
To make sure that you are ready for a HIIT routine you need to be able to exercise for 20 minutes at 70 – 85% of your estimated maximum heart rate without there being any problems. Gradually build up your training, and never forget to include a warm-up and a cool-down in your routine.
Exercise example: A quick 20 minute HIIT routine includes push-ups, squats, tricep dips, side lunges and butt kicks. Each exercise must be done at high intensity for one minute, with a 15 second recovery period in between each exercise. You can adjust the times to suit your workout and your limits.
2 Functional training
Functional training introduces everyday movements into your workout. Movements such as walking, jogging, running, sprinting, lifting, pushing, pulling, bending, standing, climbing and lunging are focused on during the routine. Functional training involves doing these movements with increased resistance, and should be used in conjunction with traditional strength training. Functional training focusses a great deal on the core, and by the implementing this combination, your body will benefit twice as much.
Exercise example: Stand with a light to moderate weight in each hand, keeping your arms to your sides. Lift your right knee until it reaches hip height while lifting both your arms out to the side until they are shoulder height. Hold for 5 seconds, keeping your core tight and pulled toward your spine. Lower to your start position and repeat 12-15 times for each leg. As your strength improves increase the weight.
3 Strength training
Strength training is not only about getting stronger – its advantages include prevention of osteoporosis, improvement of your range of motion, and if done correctly strength training can help you lose weight.
The stigma around strength training is that it is only for bodybuilders, but the truth is, it is advantageous for women, the elderly and people suffering from obesity. When it is included into your routine, daily activities such as carrying groceries or carrying your child can become a whole lot easier. After strength training your body will need more oxygen to bring it back to its normal state, and because of this your metabolism will be boosted for up to 38 hours after you finish your workout.
Exercise example: Dumbbell Row – if you are a beginner take a 5-10kg dumbbell and find a bench. Start with your extended left hand on the bench, while your right hand holds the dumbbell. Place your right foot on the ground, and your left knee on the bench. Retract your shoulders, tighten your core and pull up the weight on the side of your body until your elbow passes your side. Lower down the arm with control and repeat four set of 10 on each side.
“You don’t need to choose only one of these techniques to spice up your workout, all 3 can be used to help improve your performance, and increase your results,” says McGuirk.