How many times have you planned to exercise, but talked yourself out of it?
It’s easy to justify skipping daily exercise when you are busy, tired or sore. But unless you work out consistently, you won’t get great results.
Here are some fitness hacks to simplify your workouts and make exercise plans stick:
1. Sip water
Drink water throughout the day to ensure you’re hydrated. Then, when it’s time to hit the gym, track or road, your performance won’t be sluggish.
2. Step it up
If you live within close proximity of your workplace, ditch your ride or public transportation and speed walk all the way to work. Not only will you save a few bucks on gas, but you’ll also eliminate parking expenses from your budget.
Depending on how much effort you exert, you may be able to accelerate your heart rate to the point where hitting the gym isn’t necessary for the day.
3. Combine your moves
Aerobic, strength and cardio training can all take place simultaneously to curb the time spent in the gym.
Another option is to try to turn everyday situations into bouts of exercise. Just standing around at a restaurant waiting to meet someone for lunch? Put those leg muscles to work with calf raises.
4. Push it to the limit
Short and sweet — but intense — workouts always trump long and sluggish sessions. No amount of time is too brief to break a sweat, whether it is during a TV commercial break or a 15-minute hiatus at work.
5. Be prepared to work out at any time
Don’t wait until the last minute to pack your workout bag. It is too easy to be distracted by things such as deciding on which workout attire you want to wear. Keep your bag packed and fully stocked with all the things you need.
6. Quality over quantity
It’s not how many reps you complete, but how engaged you are during the circuit. So shift your focus from a count to effectively performing the exercise. To do this, set a timer and repeat the move slowly and correctly until the timer beeps.
7. Increase the intensity
You may be tempted to switch up your exercise routine to keep it interesting. However, doing so may leave you confused and spending more time simply trying to remember the exercise than actually focusing on it
A better alternative is to stick with your already-existing routine, but increase the intensity in small increments so you can feel the burn.
8. Plan ahead
It doesn’t make sense to carve out a chunk of your day to visit the gym if you have no idea what you’re going to do when you arrive. Before you make the trip, devise a plan of action.
Doing so facilitates focus while you’re at the gym and prevents you from hopping to one machine after another.
9. Schedule your workouts
Dedicate space to exercise in your calendar each day to ensure you don’t skip out. Treat the session like an appointment that can’t be broken.
10. Jam out
If you’re engaged in a series of exercises that are particularly intense, fill your ears with tunes, a podcast or an audio version of your favorite book to distract yourself from the pain.
11. Start small and work your way up
Don’t get caught in what I like to call the “infomercial trap.” This is when you give in to the seasoned, ripped fitness addicts bouncing across the screen and telling you to hop up off the couch and give it all you’ve got.
That is bad advice. A better approach is to start small and work your way up, especially if it’s been a while since you worked out.
12. Hide the timer
Did you set the treadmill for 20 minutes? If you’re winded shortly after you start, then glance at the timer and realize only five minutes have lapsed, chances are mental fatigue will set in.
Instead, place a towel over the timer. That should eliminate the problem.
13. Don’t be afraid to dance
Plug in your iPod or mp3 to a portable speaker and get to moving. Dance like no one’s watching — since they probably are not — and watch the beads of sweat saturate your body.
What are some of your favorite fitness hacks? Let me know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.