Looking for fitness and workout inspiration for 2018? Here are 10 hot tips that will help you on the road to building a better body. I originally wrote this blog post in January 2017, but I’ve revisited it, made some revisions and polished the advice to give you an extra edge.
Make 2018 the year that you hone your body to peak physical perfection.
1. Want To Lose Weight? Then Exercise Won’t Help Much
Many companies operating in the fitness industry don’t want you to know this, but studies on health, weight loss and exercise show that exercise won’t help you all that much.
As you know, on a basic level, we lose weight when we use up more calories than we eat.
On average, removing 2 slices of bread and spread a day is the same as jogging for between 5 and 7 hours each week (depending on your body composition).
It’s also the same as 5 hours of bootcamp, 7 hours of strength training or 10 hours of yoga.
That’s a huge waste of your time if you can get the same results just by fixing your diet.
Don’t fight your body, work with it. If your main goal is weight loss, you cannot get around a poor diet by doing exercise, but altering your diet without exercising will give you results. Diet accounts for at least 80% of the fat loss battle.
It just doesn’t make sense to put all that exercise effort in if you haven’t covered the food intake basics first, which are covered in this blog post.
If you’ve already dialed in your diet, or want to tone your physique or slap on some muscle instead of just losing weight, then read on!
2. Go Big
Whether you want to get muscular or get lean, you have to hit the big muscle groups with compound exercises. Think squats, bench presses, lunges, pull ups, press ups, deadlifts, bent over rowing, military presses.
These will all force your body to change.
Need to lose weight? Then increase the reps.
Now is not the time for working on endless sets of isolating dumbbell curls and bench flyes.
Another advantage of compound exercises?
The more weight you lift, the more fuel you will burn. If you spend some of your training time getting stronger then you’ll take the rest of your fitness regimen to a higher level.
3. Pause, But Don’t Stop
Squeeze more work into the same amount of time and you’ll get better results.
A good way of doing this is making sure you monitor your rest between sets, sprints or circuits. Sometimes it’s easy to rest too long. Focus on shortening your rest time to between 20 and 60 seconds, and stick to it.
Get yourself a stop watch. It’ll be one of the best workout decisions that you ever make.
Don’t use your phone instead – it’s a tempting distraction and you need to focus on your workout. Oh, and it’s far better to accidentally drop a dumbbell on a stopwatch than it is to wreck your phone.
4. Work Harder
Long, slow distance work is your enemy.
Not only is it inefficient, the endless repetition puts high levels of stress on your joints and can wreck your body. Intense cardio is way more effective and saves you time.
Aiming for ten 1-minute bursts of effort, with 30-second recovery periods in between is far more beneficial than going for a 60 minute jogging session.
5. Dig In And Grind It Out
The last rep of a set or those final 10 seconds of a cardio burst are where the magic happens. These are the make-or-break moments that really get your body working and stimulate your muscle fibres.
Always remember this when you’re about to give up. Dig deeper and squeeze out that last extra ounce of effort. It could make all the difference between smashing your targets and failing miserably.
That last 2% of effort could make 20% of the difference.
However, the most important thing that you can do is continue to exercise. If you push yourself too much every time, you may stop enjoying your sessions or even start to dread them. If you don’t turn up, you lose big, so cut yourself a bit of slack and don’t train to failure every single time.
6. Keep Guessing
Being an expert is overrated.
The more efficient you get at an exercise, the less energy you’ll expend doing it, so make sure you mix it up a bit.
Don’t just stick to one form of cardio, rotate between jumping rope, hitting the rowing machine, sprinting and suicides.
Don’t get too familiar with one rep range or rely on your favourite go-to exercise, mix it up and keep your body guessing.
That said, you need to be able to chart your progress, so make sure you don’t mix things up too often. Stick with an exercise program for at least 4 to 6 weeks before making the switch.
Explosive sprinting is one of the simplest forms of high-intensity exercise. Perhaps start with five 50 metre sprints with a 30-second recovery in between, and up it when you’re ready.
More importantly, make sure that you warm up thoroughly or you’re going to get hurt. Explosive effort puts your body through stress, so don’t overdo it.
Keep it simple and build it up gradually. Injury is your worst enemy, there are few things that will destroy your fitness gains with such ferocity.
8. Be Inclined
Sprinting up hills can quickly improve your form. It forces your body to focus on doing the job.
And hills are way nastier than hitting the flat track.
Find yourself a decent hill that is at least 30 metres long and start with five or six hill sprints. Walk your way back down each time to recover.
9. Dream Big
Missing out on sleep can destroy your progress. Sleep deprivation lowers your ability to make decisions and control impulses.
A lack of sleep won’t only drain your motivation for exercise and hamper your body’s ability to repair itself, it will also have you reaching for the snack foods as your willpower begins to sour.
Get the sleep you need, make no excuses.
10. You Really Oughta Water
Water helps normalise your body’s functions. It regulates appetite and improves your liver’s ability to metabolise fat.
Keep a glass of the good stuff within reach at all times. Don’t force yourself to drink, just take a gulp whenever you feel like it, your body will tell you when.
Plain old water is all you need, ignore the hype around coconut water.
So, That’s The 10!
That’s just a few things you can do to make sure you don’t stagnate or abandon your fitness goals in 2018. Here’s the original list of 21 ways to get strong and lean that I published in 2017.
And the most important thing to remember is that turning up is the hardest part. If you’re not psyched up to train, just do it anyway. Once you’re there and ready to go you’re less likely to abandon it.
Focus on just turning up to your training session and the rest will follow. Look upon it as doing your future self a favour.
If you’re looking for a personal fitness and diet analyser that’s tailored to your goals, likes and lifestyle, take a look at our free online tool, Fitnex.
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