Thanks to media influence and general awareness around our health and wellbeing, getting fit has become a much more common routine for everyone around the world. We’re eating more healthily, we’re more conscious about what we do to our bodies, and we’re spending more time being active rather than living a sedentary lifestyle. Even if we work at an office job, the health enthusiasts among us find no excuses to skip their workout and will do everything from sprinting up and down the stairs in their casual work clothing to getting off public transport a few stops early just to burn a couple of extra calories and keep the heart active.
Regardless of what you do to work out more, there’s no easier method than to simply intensify your workouts at the gym or at home. Intensity is king when it comes to exercise. It will help you burn more calories, build stronger muscles, and work your heart until it’s trained and fit. Increasing intensity doesn’t mean adding a couple of extra weights to your lifts or extra distance to your runs. In fact, intensity can be summed up by how seriously you take your exercises and the fitness equipment that you use.
So what are some simple ways to boost your workout routine? Read on to find out five different tips and tricks on how to give your body an extra kick when you exercise.
- Specialised Equipment
Something often underutilised in the world of fitness is extra weight. Weight bands can be attached to any part of your body. Wear Weight is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fitness weights, and they can range from vests to ankle straps and belts. Whatever you want to add weight onto, you can do it with some of these accessories.
When you add extra weight to your workout, you’re essentially forcing your muscles to work a bit harder than they usually do. For example, wearing a vest weight will increase the amount of force your body is exerting on your legs, forcing you to work your legs harder when you run. Since there is more weight on your upper body, your lower body is required to generate more force in order to move you at the same pace or rate that you would normally run at. This leads to improvements in your overall strength, but mainly targets the legs for increased acceleration and speed.
Everyone’s done a cheeky pushup or rep of their exercises before, cheating themselves out of a painful rep by using something to assist them or aid them. Perhaps you didn’t exert your muscles because they felt painful, maybe you skipped a rep or perhaps you didn’t utilise the proper body form that you should be using. Whatever the reason for your laziness, it can all be fixed if you focus before you start your routine.
Clear your mind of all the doubts and stress you have by taking a relaxing few minutes to stretch. Ignore the television, ignore the outside world and put on some workout music to get your body pumping and your mind in the zone. If you aren’t focusing on your results, then you’re too distracted and you aren’t going to get the desired burn and workout that you are hoping for. Visualise your workout as you do it and stay on topic. Don’t let your mind drift and ruin your form as you are working out, and try new things such as meditating before and after a workout, taking slightly longer breaks between sets, or just listening to a different type of music.
- Increase Sets or Reduce Breaks
If you feel like you’re taking too long between sets, or that you don’t really need the extra time to rest then consider cutting your break time so that you can keep the heart pumping and the blood flowing. The less time you relax, the more time you can fit into your workout and the more intense it will be. If you feel like you aren’t working your muscles enough before you switch to a new exercise, then keep going. Add an extra 5 or 10 reps of whatever you are doing and make sure you feel that burn before you rest and move on.
It’s important that you don’t overdo it and add too many reps. A single rep or two will be sufficient and will add a significant amount of work on your body as long as you stick with it.
- Pump Yourself Up
Don’t scream in the gym and hype yourself up and don’t jump around like a lunatic. If you motivate yourself and pump yourself up, you’re more likely to use that adrenaline to fuel your workout and add extra intensity. It might lead you to add a couple more reps onto each exercise, or it could convince you to take fewer breaks. But it goes without saying that the more motivated you are, the more likely you are going to intensity your regular workout without even knowing it.
This can go hand in hand with focusing, but if you get cocky and tell your friends that you’re going to do extra reps or a whole new set and increase the intensity, you’re more likely to follow through and meet those goals so you can end up with a more satisfying workout.
- Motivational Videos
Remind yourself why you got into fitness in the first place. Was it a video of your favourite athlete? Is it to keep a promise you made to a loved one or friend to get fit? Or maybe you watched a video and realised that you’re not healthy and that you need to continue working out and getting fit in order to maintain a healthy body?
Whatever your motivation is, watching a couple of videos before or after your workout can add an extra boost of adrenaline, motivation and intensity to your workout. There are plenty of motivation videos on YouTube, and if you’re feeling really excited to get into your workout routine, consider leaving a DVD or video on in the background while you workout so that you can listen to it and get pumped up as you work your muscles.