You know why celebrities can lose all that weight and look so toned and fabulous after just months of being at the gym? Two words: personal trainers. Not all of us can have the luxury of an expert who can customize our workout and then bully us into following it every day. But these tips, culled from exercise and fitness gurus, can help you be your own personal trainer.
Set a very specific fitness goal
Studies show that when you set smaller but more attainable goals, you have a greater chance of sticking to a workout. For example, don’t say ‘I want to lose 50 pounds!’ or ‘I want to have a perfect body!’ You’ll be discouraged if that doesn’t happen in 4 weeks (and it won’t). Instead, pick something very concrete and achievable in small steps. You can name a body-fat percentage, or a feature (liked strong arms). If you’re after toning, you can focus on a body part: toned upper body, strong an lean lower body, better abs.
If you want to tone your body or to burn fat, you need to add weights to your workout. Aim for two or three times a week, but be sure to work out all your muscle groups each time. (Read our tips on how to make exercise a habit.)
And, based on your fitness goals, spend a little bit more time on the body part that you really want to tone. For example, if you want a toned upper body, do chest and upper back exercises before targeting your smaller arm muscles. For a lean lower body, do exercises for the glutes, which are the biggest muscle in the area and burn more calories. Do these moves at the start of your workout, since your muscles become more fatigued as the workout session progresses.
Don’t make it too easy
The weight should be formidable enough that you can hardly manage to do the last set while staying in form. Every four sessions, choose a weight that is even heavier so that you are totally spent after six repetitions. This kind of weight activates the muscles responsible for short bursts of strength. However, before you attempt this, learn how to do the exercise correctly, and be sure to warm up—these will prevent injury and strain.
Don’ t rest too long between sets, either. Your body produces growth hormones each time you work out, and to stay strong your body’s levels of this growth hormone has to stay constant as you exercise. After one minute of rest, start your next set.
Photo from jasercise.com