With so many fitness fads constantly coming and going, it’s difficult to know which exercise methods actually work. Which ones help you lose weight, gain strength, or get fit? For people struggling to get healthy, trying to keep up with trends is frustratingly painful. To help you avoid wasted efforts, here’s a short list of little-known exercise facts to improve your workout.
Ab Exercises Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up To Be
Situps and crunches have been the preferred method of getting rock-hard abs for decades. While it’s true that performing targeted ab workouts increases the strength of those muscles, that alone won’t give you the coveted six-pack. Achieving the stomach of your dreams is more about overall body fat percentage than muscle strength. So keep on doing your ab work, but be sure you’re also including cardio and other fat-burning exercises into your workout regimen.
High-Intensity Exercise Elevates Metabolism Long After Your Workout
Among the numerous benefits of high-intensity training is the fact that it elevates your metabolism for hours after your sweat session ends. Just 45 minutes of high-intensity exercise leaves your metabolism going strong for up to 14 hours post-workout. What does this mean for you? It means that even as you’re sitting on your couch, vegging out in front of the TV after exercising, your body’s burning calories. Now that’s an effective workout.
It Takes Rest To Build Muscle
Despite popular opinion, you can’t bulk up by pumping iron alone. Your body uses periods of rest to restore and build the muscles that were worked during your training session. When you’re trying to reach a goal, it’s tempting to exercise hard every day. But doing so can actually hinder progress, so be sure to give yourself occasional breaks and switch between the body parts being worked.
Stretching Works Best After Your Workout
Most people tend to stretch their muscles before working out, in order to “loosen up.” However, stretching cold muscles is not only ineffective, but could also lead to injury. Stretching after you exercise is the best way to improve your flexibility and get limber. So instead of stretching as a warm-up, perform a dynamic warm-up during which you actually move your limbs and get your heart rate up, then stretch once your muscles are already warm. You’ll see better results and find it easier to get a deeper stretch.
There’s no need to follow a fitness fad in order to get in shape; a little common sense goes a long way. Take action with these tips, then consider working with a personal trainer. To learn more about achieving your fitness goals in a lasting way, give personal trainer Ralph Roberts a shout.