Working Smart: 4-Easy Ways to Get Fit, Faster!

by : Laura Turner

Let’s face it, getting and staying in shape can be a costly investment. And, if you’re not careful, its greatest cost is the one commodity you could use the most of: time (keeping monetary costs in check is another volume, entirely). Yet, even many seasoned exercisers often have difficulty changing their bodies with regular workouts. And worse, many think the more hours spent training heavily, the better the result. Not true! Often this break-neck pace leads only to fatigue, burnout, and injury.

What most people also may not realize, there are several, easy ways to redistribute your time and create ‘smarter’ workouts. These common sense, turbo-chargers cost little or no money, will help change your body in a positive way, and all without giving up a lot of time.

Here, I’ve given you four simple strategies that can help you turbo charge your workout (and your body), too:

  1. Warm Up and Cool Down Sufficiently. In short: take 10. Strive to take 10 minutes before heavy exercise to get blood flowing with light aerobic activity (walking, or a series of slow arm and leg circles) to get the large muscle groups moving and prevent injury. At the end of your workout, try to opt for 10 minutes of light stretching, aiming at the major muscle groups: arms, back, chest, and legs. This will help re-absorb lactic acid (metabolic waste that builds up during exercise and can lead to soreness).

  2. Drink More Water. Just eight-8oz. glasses of water per day will carry away waste and toxins from your body. It will also help keep you cool during exercise and replace the fluids lost during your workout (you will usually lose 1 liter per 1-hour workout).

  3. Get Adequate Rest. The body requires a sufficient amount of sleep for rest and tissue repair (usually around 7-8 hours per night for the healthy person). Sleep also provides the body time to lower levels of bacteria in the body. It actually stimulates the immune system! If you can’t get your eight hours, try to take a quick 10-20 minute power nap sometime during the day.

  4. Go Easy on the Starchy Carbs. Try to “balance" starchy carbs (cereals, breads, white potatoes, rice) with protein and veggie alternatives.

My own personal case study: Even though I’d been exercising for years, I couldn’t shake the extra 10 pounds I’d gained in college. I exercised for about an hour every day rotating my routine between cardio and resistance training. Did I need to exercise more? I wondered. Maybe, but I couldn’t fit another hour into the day. So, I took a good look at my diet. What I found was, every day I was loading up with starchy carbs! Lots of cereal and toast. Lots of potatoes and white rice. Resolve: Just by balancing my meals with egg whites, sweet potatoes, green leafy veggies, and lean meats, I lost what remained.

If you could use a Jump-start in you workout or haven’t seen changes in awhile, these four ideas are well worth your consideration. Plus, just by changing one small thing, you could make quite a difference in your shape. It will add a new element of vigor to your workout! So, reap the big rewards of these small changes, they will pay dividends on your investment.