Looking to get better results from your fitness plan? Whether you've set a New Year’s resolution to simply get started with your fitness journey or you’ve been at it a while and simply want to improve upon your progress, it pays to know a few of the key strategies you should be utilizing to reach your end point.
It’s important to remember that simply getting to the gym (or out to exercise) is always going to bring some results but it may not be the maximum results you could be seeing. If you want to make the most of your time, the following five strategies should be utilized.
The first strategy you must have in place to see best results is continual overload. This basically means that each time you go into the gym, you try and do more than you did the day prior.
Too many people get stuck doing the same workout day in and day out. While it may work at first, eventually your body adapts. If you want to keep seeing results, something needs to change.
This could be the rest breaks you’re using, the weight lifted, the reps performed, or the rest periods taken. Just change something around.
Planned Deload Weeks
Next, start implementing planned deload weeks. No matter what your current fitness level happens to be, these are important.
A deload week is basically a week where you use less volume and lighter weights. Usually your current values are slashed in half.
What does this accomplish?
While you may feel like it’s staking a step backward, it’s really not. In taking a light break like this, you not only help refresh yourself from a psychological standpoint, but you also help reduce the risk of any nagging injuries erupting.
Remember that while you can usually feel a sore muscle and know when it’s time to back off, you don’t often notice degradation to joints, ligaments, and tendons until it’s too late and you’re struck down with a serious injury.
A lighter week here and there can help these joints heal so that they don’t become bothersome.
Outdoor Cardio Training
Outdoor cardio training is another thing to consider as you make your fitness plan for the year ahead.
Don’t let yourself get stuck into thinking you have to do your cardio on the bike, treadmill, or elliptical at the gym. While these are all fine choices, they really aren’t that ideal in terms of personal enjoyment.
Instead, go for a hike on a trail nearby and check out the view. Or, try bike riding with a friend. You may also explore a group sport such as soccer or basketball. Do something that brings you enjoyment and you’ll be that much more likely to stick with it.
Group Fitness Classes
Group fitness classes are another great fitness strategy to try out this year. When you are exercising as part of a group, you might just find yourself far more motivated because you see everyone else work hard and this inspires you to do the same.
Group fitness classes come in all shapes and sizes from step aerobics to yoga to weight training. Choose whatever interests you and try and take part for a session or two per week.
They’re also a lot more cost effective than one-on-one personal training, so this can be a huge benefit to many people as well.
Finally, don’t overlook the importance of utilizing the strategy of proper periodization as well. This means focusing on different elements of your fitness at different points in the year.
You may have, in the past, tried to improve upon everything that you were doing. You focused on increasing your cardio, improving your strength, working on your flexibility, and burning fat while building muscle all at the same time.
When you focus on so many goals at once, the chances are good you’ll underperform in all of them.
Instead, focus on one or two goals at a time and really give it your all for a few months. Then back off and move to another set of goals. This is what will really get you better at everything.
So keep these strategies in mind in the coming year. Fitness should be fun, exciting, and challenging, all at once. If any of these elements are missing in your routine, you are definitely leaving results on the table because of it.