Smart Fitness: 5 Tips to Get You from ‘Fit’ to ‘Fitter’
Are you ready to improve your fitness level? Then it’s time to learn about smart fitness.
What would you say if I told you that in order to improve your fitness level, you may need to slow down a little? It’s common to think that you must push yourself to get good results. Yet you never need to go to the point of exhaustion. The truth is, you need to progress your workouts in a measured, timely manner. Progression does not have to be in the form of a giant leap—I really think small steps work best.
Wherever you are with your personal fitness level, whether you’re a brand new exerciser or a seasoned pro, if you listen to your body and continue to push yourself one day at a time, you’ll achieve great results.
Let’s start by considering a common misconception for people who are new to exercise. When you start out with a new healthy active lifestyle activity, it’s very easy to push yourself too hard, too soon. There is often a chain reaction.
1. Suddenly exercise sparks a stream of feel-good endorphins. You may feel pleased with your improved fitness and increasingly toned body shape.
2. To increase these results, you push yourself too much. This leads to you working too hard, and in seeming contradiction, the results slow down, or you become exhausted and wind up back on the couch.
If you want real results, you have to plan ahead and build a realistic and attainable, smart fitness plan. Fitness has come a long way since the days of the ‘no pain, no gain’ philosophy. Now we have a smarter approach: we need to step just outside our comfort zone one day at a time.
I like to tell people to think of their body as if it were a high-performance sports car. You have to be understand a little of how the car works to get results. No one can jump in, pop the car into the highest gear and zoom away. That approach will leave them stalled on the driveway. Instead, you need to carefully take the car up through it’s gears. You can reach the top gear, but you have to go through the lower gears first.
If you learn to listen to your body,
you’ll improve your performance and get more out of your healthy activities.
When I meet people who say they hate exercise, they often go on to tell me that they push themselves to exhaustion during every workout. No wonder it’s no fun, and I’m not surprised they’ve decided they hate all exercise. Training using a smart fitness approach instead may give them the mental boost they need to stick with a fitness program long-term. My goal is to help everyone associate fitness with a positive feeling instead of dread.
Let me share my smart fitness tips to help you get more out of your activities.
1. Listen to your body
Trust that your body knows best. Understanding that pain is your body’s way of letting you know something is not right is very important for getting great results. You can’t workout if you’re injured, so being conscious of how your body feels may help you avoid unnecessary injury. It is common to feel a little muscular discomfort during physical activity, but pain must never be ignored.
2. Build a solid foundation
Getting started with a fitness plan or increased activity level should be approached in a gentle way. Recognize that starting out slowly in order to build a base level of fitness may require patience, but the end results will be improved fitness. Working on your core muscles, flexibility, improving your balance, and building an aerobic base all involve not pushing yourself to maximum exertion. Trust that building a solid foundation will allow you to be better prepared for those harder workouts to come.
3. Steady progression
In order to improve, you must progress your workouts. This may seem like common sense but so many people wonder why they’re not getting results, even though they are doing the same exercise routine every day. Your body will adapt to the demands you place on it. If you want better results, you must increase the demands you place on your body.
There are many ways to progress your workouts. You can increase the intensity level, duration, resistance, or frequency. Be sure not to push yourself too far, too fast. Tip 1 and Tip 4 will help you to navigate how much is too much. You can apply this steady progression to weights and cardio exercise.
4. Mastering technique
You must master basic exercise technique before adding weight to your routine. Your own body weight is perfect, especially if you are new to exercise. Once you feel comfortable, you can slowly increase the additional weight you use.
How will you know when it’s time to increase your weight? Your body will tell you! As soon as an exercise feels easy and you are not pushing yourself, you should be ready to advance the difficulty level. Doing an exercise using correct form is essential if you want to get good results, while ensuring you are not putting your muscles or joints at risk.
5. Understand the cycle
Athletes train in cycles in order to improve their fitness level and performance. A quality training cycle involves a foundation phase, followed by a strength and power phase—with adequate time allowed for rest and recovery. Every time you repeat the cycle, you may see big improvements.