If your diet's a disaster and you keep falling off the workout wagon, here are some helpful hints to get your training back on track.
If your training program is in need of resuscitation, help's on the way. Whether you're bored or burned out, we've got dozens of strategies to kick your butt back into gear. Change obviously does a body good. But to see results, you don't have to abandon your entire eating or training plan. Instead, make small adjustments and work them into your everyday routine.
No need to spend your cash on a personal trainer to revamp your fitness program. We've tapped into top fitness pros from around the country who share their secrets for busting plateaus and boosting your drive. The message is simple: "You have to shock your body to continue seeing results," says David Sandler, MS, professor of exercise science at Florida International University in Miami. And that boredom thing? You'll break it in no time with these tips for tuning up your training.
2 FOLLOW THE FOUR-WEEK RULE.
"Your body acclimates to exercise in three to six weeks, which is why people often hit plateaus," says Michael J. Sokol, owner of One-on-One Fitness Personal Training Service in Chicago. So every four weeks, alter your program. For instance, use dumbbells and run on the treadmill for the first month. Then hit the weight machines and jump rope for the second month. During the third month, use elastic resistance and take up swimming. After three months, you can return to your initial program or continue changing things.
8 CUT THE CARDIO.
Sokol believes many fitness enthusiasts overdo cardio. "Do too much cardio, and you'll eat into muscle," he says. Sokol recommends doing only three sessions of cardio a week, for 20 to 30 minutes, on non-consecutive days. But you have to work hard, almost to the point of exhaustion. Take three minutes to warm up, work intensely for 16 to 26 minutes, and cool down for one minute. Sokol suggests exercising first thing in the morning before breakfast.
13 FEEL THE BURN.
If you don't feel fatigued after strength training, you're not working hard enough. Use enough weight so that you can do only 12 to 15 reps per set. Then use two seconds to lift [counting one one thousand, two one thousand] and two seconds to lower, Sokol says.