It's that time of year where we are all dusting off our trainers and getting hot and sweaty!
So whether you are one of my personal training clients, come to one of my classes, follow my online exercise plan, or have never heard of Nightingale Fitness (whaaaaaat?!?!) then I wanted to share my top tips with you, so you can get the best out of your exercise.
Hope they help!
1. Before you start a fitness regime or exercise programme, please think carefully about your goals and motivation. Plus, how you are going to measure your progress.
2. Choose to do exercise that you enjoy or get value from.
3. Try not to focus on one single type of training only. Lots of runners ONLY run. Because they like it. It is great exercise but similarly their bodies will not necessarily be challenged over time. So they could optimise their running ability by incorporating strength exercises (not even from lifting weights, but from using their own bodyweight).
4. Have a plan. Schedule your exercise into your diary and treat it like an appointment.
5. Get everything you need ready before you start your workout – mat, towel, timer/app, water, Fitbit, music and any equipment you might need.
6. Be familiar with the workout/exercises and instructions before you start.
7. Don’t forget or skip your warm up.
8. Work as hard as you can within your own limits of health/fitness/injury.
9. Consider doing the exercises that will challenge you (if there are options) or finding out progressions for the moves (i.e. to make them harder so you push yourself more). Most cardio exercises will push you more if you go faster and many strength exercises will push you more if you slow them down.
10. Make it easier and more enjoyable by using an app to do your counting for you and by playing music that you enjoy and are motivated by! Maybe even have a boogie during your rest :)
11. Pay attention to the teaching points of the exercise (whether written, visual or spoken) – you will get so much more benefit from the exercise if you use correct form. It not only avoids strain or injury, but will ensure you are working ALL of the intended muscle groups.
12. Think about what your body is doing and how it is feeling. Can you feel the muscle groups working that are meant to be? Do you feel awkward or uncomfortable? Do you wobble or feel unstable? All these things can be improved with some simple tricks.
13. Remember to breathe! And breathe out on the “effort” part of the exercise (e.g. if you doing a sit up, breathe out as you lift your body off the floor, or if you are doing a press up, breathe out as your lift/push your body up from the floor).
14. f you can’t complete the exercise for the total number of reps or the amount of time stipulated, please don’t just stop entirely – you can slow it down, opt for a modified version or just jog on the spot and still get benefit from moving your body.
15. Use a mirror or reflective surface to check that your form is correct.
16. Work HARD for the period of time you have dedicated to your workout – if you are only going to set 15 minute aside, then make it count.
17. At the end of your planned workout, ask yourself “could I do more?” Maybe now you are hot and sweaty and the endorphins are flowing, you might be able to manage a few extra minutes or practice a move that you struggle with.
18. Cool down and stretch afterwards. Before I trained as a PT, I never used to make the time for stretching. Now I stretch after each session with my clients. The improvements to my flexibility, mobility and strength have been huge.
19. Optimise your results by eating well, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep and taking rest days.
20. ABOVE ALL, PLEASE TRY TO ENJOY EXERCISE! Enjoy getting out of breath and sweaty, enjoy the feeling of pushing your body, enjoy the aching afterwards in the knowledge that you are making progress, enjoy feeling proud of yourself and enjoy all the benefits that exercising brings.
Happy New Year fitties! Good luck with your resolutions and please contact me if you need any help achieving your goals this year. Time to get sweatyyyyy!