Whether you have not yet started working out, are fresh out of the gates or a longtime veteran, here are a few tips to consider to get the most out of the time and effort you are putting into your fitness.
Although it can benefit and challenge heart rate to move quickly from one exercise to the next, move diligently and thoroughly in each exercise itself. Whether it is an isometric exercise (one in which you are holding a contraction still and not moving through a full range of motion) or a concentric or eccentric contraction, focus on the muscle or muscle group that you wish to load. With your brain in this focus, you can load and challenge the appropriate muscle and you can neutralize the other players who try to help you to compensate, for a more direct approach, and therefore better results.
Do not ignore the eccentric contraction. This is typically the lengthening or lowering phase of an exercise. For example, when you are lowering in a squat, think about working one step ahead of gravity rather than letting it pull you. Engage your glutes, quads, hamstrings and core to fight the pull of gravity and to lower with control. Think about equal weight in both of your heels.
Program design is important. The order of exercises and the way that they're grouped or layered can make all the difference in the world when it comes to results. Cookie cutter plans from apps or magazines can yield great results with consistency, but don't be afraid to customize them to suit you better so that you are working on your individual strengths and weaknesses and feeling a good burn in the areas that you need to for your goals. Every single body has unique strengths and weaknesses, and you need to address them in your workouts to fine-tune and sustain your results.
Use your whole body. Even when you're training smaller muscles like delts and triceps (shoulders and back of the arms) you should hold a strong position with your core, glutes, quads and hamstrings engaged. Your stance is very important! You need your major players to be strong and not only when they're being called upon concentrically in exercises like rows and squats. You get results significantly faster when your stance is on point, muscles contributing toward stabilization and control with the work of your mental focus.
Nutrition. If you want to get more out of your workouts, you simply have to learn how to eat well... FOR LIFE. That means you need to learn what to do when you're faced with birthdays, restaurants, awkward travel schedules, holidays, patio days... all of the many life things that are not going to slow down just because you have some changes you want to make. You have to adapt. You have to learn how to eyeball, learn to pay attention to how you feel, learn to balance your meals adequately to keep moving in the right direction. You most certainly canNOT out-train a bad diet. Get your training and your nutrition on the same page with one another for a harmonious and quick progression toward the results you want.
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