We all want to get the most of our workouts, especially with our busy schedules, demanding lives and training goals. There are definitely ways to maximize your training sessions and workouts, without necessarily increasing the amount of time you’re actually out there. Here are my top tips to increasing your workouts at the gym.
If you’re anything like me, the treadmill is a dreaded part of your training but a necessary evil, especially in the colder, darker months of winter. But there are ways to make the Treadmill an even better workout.
-Increase the grade: Running on the treadmill is easier than running outside. You essentially just have to match the speed of the treadmill, whereas outside you have to fight against gravity, changing elevation gains, and objects. The best way to get most of your run on the treadmill is to increase the grade. Start with 4-5% for the bulk of your run. If you feel you are getting fatigued, decrease the grade for a while to catch your breath and then increase it again.
-Interval Training: The best part of a treadmill is the diversity of speeds on it. Revving up the speed for some sprint intervals is a killer way to work up a sweat, increase your fat burning and overall improve your endurance. Start with intervals of 30 seconds to one minute and turn up the speed to level 6-7. Start with walking it out at level 4, for one minute, than run at level 5, and then sprint for 30 seconds to a minute. Try this for 15-20 minutes.
So you don’t die of boredom with a 30 minute run on the treadmill, you can spice it up with constantly changing the pace and incline every minute. Popsugar has an excellent pyramid workout: http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Treadmill-Workout-30-Minute-Pyramid-Intervals-14513772
-Hill Climb: When you don’t necessarily feel quite like running, you can set the grade of a treadmill to 10-15% for a glute burning power hike. Training like this on such a steep grade will improve your speed and strength on flats as well as increase your ability to run up hills.
2. Pylometric Training:
This is my favourite style of training because it dynamic, incorporates the whole body, and is a great way to quickly work up a sweat. Most plyometric workouts are only 15-20 minutes and will get your heart rate thumping, your pores sweating and your muscles burning. The goal is to maximize muscle force and effort in a short amount of time to increase power. It is all about boosting the efficiency of your sweat session. There are so many different exercises you can do without even picking up a piece of equipment. Think burpees, jump squats, push ups, switch lunges, crunches, bicycles… ect. There are also lots of classes out there at gyms and fitness studios that are an hour length and will definitely leave you feeling worked. For anyone in the Greater Vancouver region I HIGHLY recommend Oxygen Yoga!
Here is an example of a 10 minute plyometric workout.
3. Have a game plan:
Instead of just showing up the gym without a plan, think of something before you get there. That way you won’t waste time deciding on a game plan once you’re at the gym, especially if you are in a time crunch. Plan your workout while you’re on your break at work, or the night before. Find a routine online or come up with your own workout. Feel free to email me for awesome 15-20 minute workout routines! (Hailey@runlikeagirl.ca)
4. Bring a friend:
Working out with a friend can be the best way to stay motivated and enjoy your workout that much more. There are lots of exercises that you can do with a partner that challenge you both at the same time. Try doing squats and passing a medicine ball back and forth, or do sit ups holding down each others feet and passing a medicine ball back and forth, or have one partner lay on her back with her hands under her glutes with her legs up and the other partner pushes the legs towards the floor in different directions.
5. Full body exercises:
Another option is to choose exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time, it is a great way to target multiple muscle groups in the same amount of time. For example, a push-up is an excellent exercise because it targets both your core, your shoulders and your arms. I am also a huge fan of burpees that like a push-up target your core, and arms, but also your legs, and gets your heart racing. Try doing a squat to an over head press, or a crunch with light weighted cross body punches.
6. Instability moves:
An unstable surface, such as a balance board or Bosu ball, will increase the intensity of any workout because you are having to engage your core and your stabilizer muscles, which we don’t use all the time. Try standing on a Bosu ball (the half one) while holding weights. You are already working your core muscles, but now add squats and as you straighten your legs, do a shoulder press. You can also do a push-up with either your feet or hands on the ball. With your core and leg stabilizers engaged, you’ll be breaking a sweat in no time.
Try these tips and you’ll be maximizing your work-out times and getting more out of the time you put in!