4 Trainer Tips to Tone Up this Fall
Insider Fitness Tips to Boost Your Home Workout Routine
As summer winds down and we start to rethink our fitness strategies and budgets, ahead of pumpkin-flavored everything and fall gift-buying, you might be surprised to learn that you can get (or keep) that bangin’ summer body, without shelling out tons of cash for a personal trainer.
With a bit of discipline and focus, these four trainer-provided hacks will have you at the top of your game in no time at all.
Get Specific with a Heart Rate Monitor
We’ve all seen that person at the gym who can’t start class until their heart rate monitor is synced up, and for good reason: getting specific numbers is how you get specific results.
By tracking your daily steps (which may need to be closer to 15,000 steps a day, according to one heart health study), as well as tracking how many calories you actually burn in that hot TRX class, you’ll have an accurate representation of your daily activity. Heads up: you will probably be shocked to see the difference between the treadmill estimate and your actual calories burned.
The good news is that, once you know how many calories you really use while exercising, you may rethink that second serving of dessert. Like learning the value of money, after you understand the value of your own calorie usage, you may become more careful with what you spend those calories on. Use a heart rate monitor with a chest strap, as they have the highest level of accuracy.
Use (Free) Apps to Track Your Meals & Workouts
With smart phones and gadgets ingrained in our daily existence, put those free apps – like Lifesum, Lose It!, or Poundaweek – to good use, by downloading one of them to track your daily habits. Don’t panic just yet – you can use a calorie counter and still eat some of the treat foods you love, if you are willing to be scientific about it.
If only for a few months, think about your body like a really personal science experiment: track how much and what you eat, how much water you drink on the daily, and the types of home workout routines you do, as well as the calories burned during them. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s far less time than most people spend on Instagram or Facebook.
As you start inputting the data, note areas for improvement. For example, if you’re always 300 calories over your daily limit, swap out the chai latte for some green tea. If you hit a plateau, but you’re within your daily calorie range, take a look at your macronutrients, to make sure you’re getting the right balance of carbs, fats, and protein.
Stop Wasting Your Money: Watch What You Eat
Think about how much money you may be wasting, by ignoring what goes in your mouth. It doesn’t make sense to buy organic groceries, to get expensive workout gear and supplements, and to pay for the gym membership, only to binge at happy hour. Be smart with your food and with your bank account.
You can do hundreds of planks and run miles every day, but none of it will make any difference, if you don’t also take care of your body outside of your workout sessions. Fitness gadgets and athleisure wear may have evolved, yet the fact remains: to be successful in weight loss, you must burn more calories than you consume.
Try focusing on whole, natural foods, which actually provide the essential vitamins and nutrients you need to thrive, while being easy for the body to break down into fuel. Another healthy idea? Put the money you usually spend eating out for a month toward a session with a nutritionist, who can help set you up with a personalized eating plan.
Change Duration and Location
If you just need a way to get past a plateau, instead of necessarily changing your exercises, or even the number of reps you do, try changing the duration for each exercise. Doing a slow, controlled lunge for a count of eight, over the course of a few minutes, for example, will feel very different than banging out ten reps (and your body will respond to the change in pace).
Your workout location may also be able to give your body a boost, as studies indicate that vitamin D impacts bone and muscle strength, yet most Americans have insufficient levels. Try swapping your indoor routine to the great outdoors, by getting creative at the park or taking your dog for a hike.
If you need some insight on trails or other exercise options, there are plenty of options to get you going. Pinterest has workout plan graphics and charts, YouTube has dozens of channels dedicated to at-home workouts, and Hiking Project provides useful maps, data, reviews, and photos on local hikes.
By incorporating these simple habits into your daily life, you’ll be able to stay fit this fall, while building your own reserve of strong practices and self awareness.