I’ve always been an active individual, but it’s only been in the past few months that I’ve turned getting fit into a serious goal. As much as I love a good sweat, I try to be as efficient as possible in my workouts so I don’t have to spend hours and hours in the gym. There are some handy ways I’ve picked up over time to maximize my efforts and vastly improve results.
Slow and Steady wins the race
My fitness these days is Pilates based, though I enjoy all types of exercise. Because of the Pilates, however, I spent a lot of time focusing on posture and maintaining proper alignment instead of doing the most reps. I find it more effective to do a move slowly yet correctly as opposed to popping out reps and potentially relying on momentum- not my own strength- to get me through. Going too quickly also opens yourself up for potential injury.
My former track coach always said, ‘Running is 80% mental, 20% physical’. This is proof that the mind is extremely powerful, especially when it comes to working out. If your brain believes you can do something, your body will find a way to master it. Visualization is a powerful tool that has been proven to enhance the form and function of the body. By really concentrating on the muscles of your legs becoming stronger as you do a leg workout, you increase the muscles’ strength and ability. It may sound like a bunch of hoop-la or hippy type of stuff, but here is some hard science if you need more proof.
Grip your weights
No, really, grip those weights and pack a little more punch in your arm workouts.
Tap into Isometrics
After reps of your exercises, tap into the tiny muscle groups of your body by trying isometrics. “One of the main benefits of isometric training is that the body is able to activate nearly all the available motor units- usually something very difficult to do” Breakingmuscle.com. Basically, when you’re doing squats, arm presses, or any workout really, try doing tiny pulses of that move for 10 or so reps. Statistics show that your strength is greatly increased due to isometric moves.
Work Them Thighs
Including the inner thigh, my personal trouble area. This move is probably my favorite. I learned it in this Popsugar Pilates video. Do your normal plie squats and once you’re low, turn your feet to 10 and 2, then stick your butt out and arms forward as if you’re doing a squat. The muscles you felt working in your inner thigh will start to wrap around, tapping into the muscles under your butt, your butt, thigh, and inner thigh for a total workout. Prepare to feel the burn!
Do ya chest press
Chest press is my new favorite obsession. We women tend to ignore chest activities, probably because our chests already look pretty nice with breasts on top. However, it’s important to work these muscles too. Chest presses keep the muscles under the arm pit, next to the breasts and underneath them toned, tight, and looking chic in a tank top. Here is a little demo of how I do chest presses.