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Tom’s Fitness & Paris Martial Arts

Exercise Smart, Part 2

Posted: May 10, 2006

Last week, I told you about a talk I had recently with a client. Like many people, they’d put some of their weight back on, and were pretty frustrated.

Before going into what they’re eating, I always like to find out what they’ve been doing in the gym. Remember, it’s easy to workout and not get what you want—you’ve got to exercise smart!

Building muscle is the key to boosting your metabolism. More muscle means your body needs more energy to survive, so you become a fat-burner all the time! And ladies, you don’t need to worry about looking goofy, your body will simply get toned up and look great! So, we looked at seven keys to exercising smart:

Be Consistent—nothing happens without consistency.
Always Push Yourself a little—so your body has to change.
Go Slower—to make it safer, and harder, too.
Use a Full Range of Motion—to get more flexible
Use Some Free Weights—to use your stabilizer muscles and core more.
Change It Up every few weeks—so your body has to keep adapting.
Get Enough Rest—so your muscles can fully recover.

We also need to exercise smart in our cardio workouts. Did you know that you can walk everyday for years and get fatter? If you do the same thing you’ve always done, your body has no reason to change—so it won’t. Then, as you get older, your metabolism slows down, burning fewer calories. You can actually keep exercising, but gain weight!

What you have to do is push it a little. You’ve got to make your body change, or it won’t. It might even get worse. So, the best way to push it is by doing interval training. This lets you push it a little, and then back off to recover.

If you’re walking, do some intervals where you walk faster for a couple minutes before backing off to recover. Then hit it again. Or crank up the grade on that treadmill. Walk uphill awhile, and then come back down for a little bit. Then, hit it again. Or, mix up some hills with walking faster.

If you’re running, jog a little while, and then walk. Then do it again. Maybe this is your first time jogging. That’s O.K. It doesn’t matter how fast you go, or how far—just that you push it a little bit at your own level. Always try to push it a little faster, or for a little longer. Don’t just do the same thing all the time!

If you’re on an elliptical, bike, stair-stepper, etc… try some intervals there, too. Go faster for awhile, or crank up the difficulty to a higher level. Then back it down to recover before hitting it again.

Remember, Interval Training burns more calories in the same amount of time. It also has a much longer afterburn—so you’ll burn more calories even after exercising. This should help you jump start your metabolism again. Next week, we’ll look at the other side of the equation—how to get back to eating right!